A warmer, fairer private rented sector

How a higher efficiency standard could be implemented to make the sector warm and fairer

Flats in England. Photo by Wei Huan on Shutterstock

A higher efficiency standard in the private rented sector will improve the lives of millions of households living in cold, damp, inefficient homes. Improving all homes in the private rented sector to EPC C will reduce average bills by £300 a year and result in at least £0.2bn of annual bill savings in the NHS. Capturing this opportunity requires comprehensive reform to tenants’ rights, financial support and effective enforcement.

A fairer and higher quality private rented sector (PRS) is direly needed in England and Wales. Tenants face sky high rents, paying for homes that often fall well below the Decent Homes Standard, blighted by damp and mould. More than half of homes are below Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) of C. This means renters pay more for their fuel bills than social and owner occupier homes. Since 2010, fuel poverty has reduced by 35% among owner-occupiers, by 54% among social housing tenants, but by 4% for private renters.

Integrated with improvements to renters’ rights and broader homes investment, the government should introduce a package of support to implement and support delivery to raise the energy efficiency of the PRS. Decision making can be swift and surefooted because the previous government has already consulted on and conducted an impact assessment for implementation of a Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) of EPC C.

Fair and effective change can only be delivered with an holistic and pragmatic approach to policy design. This briefing sets out the primary considerations for how the government could regulate for an ambitious, fair, and effective programme of upgrades in the PRS:

  • Complete the programme of reform needed to strengthen renters’ rights.
  • Financial support for landlords and tenants.
  • Build a meaningful framework to deliver and enforce the standard.

Read the briefing here.


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