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Your weekly roundup of landlord and tenant related news.

Experts warn of shortcomings with the Government’s green initiative

The Government this week have revealed a new green initiative, offering homeowners £5,000 grants towards the payment of new heat pump installations. The government has also confirmed that it plans to ban new gas boilers by 2035.

However, critics have been quick to argue that the current infrastructure surrounding the instalment of these heat pumps is inadequate as well as calling for bolder measures to counteract the climate crisis.

David Adams, spokesperson for the Green Stamp Duty Incentive Energy Efficiency Infrastructure Group argued that the current issues facing the market such as: “The lack of accredited installers, patchy nationwide provision of green measures and the skills gap” will mean that the scheme may fail at the first hurdle.

In addition, Ross Counsell, chartered surveyor and director at GoodMove has also criticised the Government saying:

the current energy crisis has starkly demonstrated just how lagging the UK is on future-proofing homes from fossil-fuel dependency. Unfortunately, the lack of government investment in insulation and heat-pump technology means the UK has some of the oldest and leakiest housing stock in Western Europe

The ‘postcode lottery’ of green home support is something that Landlord Law Blog has been focusing on recently with posts detailing each local authority green improvement support. There is no uniform support scheme that authorities have or offer, so homeowners interested in seeing whether they can make energy efficiency improvements to their property should check with their local council or our blog posts.

NRLA describe the new boiler policy and grant system as piecemeal and fraught with problems

The NRLA have this week responded to the new boiler scheme by the Government, calling for greater clarity so landlords can plan for the long term future of their business. So far Government has indicated that greater detail will be provided before the end of the year.

Ben Beadle, chief executive of the National Residential Landlords Association said:

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.

Currently, the installation and use of a heat pump costs between £6,000-£16,000. If a majority of private rental accommodation is needing significant renovations to be put in place for these installations, it begs the question as to how the Government expects landlords, especially those with a small income, to pay for this.

As Ben Beadle said:

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.

Rent Control will put off would-be landlords

Doug Shepard, director of the home website has argued that the threat of rent control may disincentives potential landlords from entering the sector.

Rent controls as a proposal has gained traction recently, largely due to the fact that the SNP agreed that rent controls will be introduced into Scotland within 5 years. In addition to this, Generation Rent and Shelter have both lobbied the Government for a similar introduction in England and Wales.

Shepard said:

Rents have stabilised but this is despite falling supply, suggesting that other factors such as high prices and looming rent controls may be disincentivising landlords.

However, some areas of the UK have seen significant increases of rent, such as south east with 7.2% and the east of England with 8.1%.  Compared to areas such as Wales which has only seen a marginal increase of 1%. However, with the added expenditure such as the new green regulations that landlords now face, it is a concern whether landlords have felt this raise in rent in real income.

Landlords rallying against HMO council tax rules

Landlords are rallying together in support against the council tax rules known as disaggregation, which is where council tax is being charged per unit of accommodation in HMO properties rather than the whole building. This is called ‘disaggregation’ and can cause council tax to increase dramatically in properties.

While this payment is made to the tenants of the property rather than the landlord, HMO  properties often have lower income tenants within it, as costs are less, meaning that this policy can often target economically vulnerable people.

Portsmouth and district private landlords association have been the lastest group to rally against the approach, arguing that there is no consistency over which HMO property get targeted by the valuation office agency. The association are currently considering legal action against the agency to contest whether the policy of disaggregation is lawful, and have also set up a petition which can be found >> here.


Newsround will be back next week.

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