Extra help and more info needed on heat pump switch

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‘Regional variability in house prices’ should be taken into account in the Government’s drive for a switch to ‘greener’ household heating.

So says a report Lagging behind: energy efficiency in low-viability properties, based on a study sponsored National Residential Landlords Association.

In some local authority areas of the north and midlands, the estimated costs of improving home energy by switching to heat-pump technology would be around 25 per cent of the value of the properties themselves. By contrast, in affluent areas the cost of retrofitting heat pumps would represents less than 2 per cent of property values, according to report author Localis.

It calls for councils to collaborate with landlords to create bespoke heating solutions fit for local need.

‘With a higher proportion of older stock than other housing tenures, the private rented sector has some of the biggest challenges in meeting the Government’s energy efficiency and decarbonisation ambitions’, said NRLA chief executive Ben Beadle.

‘We therefore welcome news that landlords can access grants to transition to low carbon heating.

‘We support the recommendation in this report that extra help should be given to owners of low value properties to make it viable for them to invest in energy efficiency measures and urge the Government to act accordingly’.

NRLA is also calling for greater clarity about the role of landlords in the Government’s Heat and Buildings Strategy, which includes grants of up to £5,000 to enable households to replace gas boilers with more eco-friendly systems. It is expected landlords will be able to apply for these grants from April next year.

But, said NRLA, the Government has failed to provide adequate information. 

‘Eighty per cent of private rented households have gas central heating and replacing such systems will be both costly and vital to achieving net zero’, said Beadle.

‘Providing grants to assist householders and landlords to install heat pumps is a welcome step, but much more is needed to make the Government’s targets achievable. Once again private landlords have been left waiting for the Government to publish details of the standards they will be required to comply with, the deadlines they must meet, and how such work should be funded’.