750,000 private renter households in the North let down by Government’s energy u-turn

Shocking new analysis, announced in a report today, shows the extent to which private renters in the North will be hit by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s net zero u-turn, announced in September.

 The government’s decision to scrap plans to force private landlords to improve the energy efficiency of their properties could leave over 750,000, or around two-thirds, of households living in privately rented homes in the North with higher energy bills and poorer living conditions.

The announcement means landlords no longer need to make improvements to get their rental properties to the minimum Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) C rating by 2028.

The previous proposal was to raise the standard to EPC C, meaning landlords would incur costs, paying on average £4,700 per property. The government estimated in 2020, before the energy crisis, that this would save tenants an average of £220 on their energy bills every year¹.

The findings have been published in the Northern Housing Consortium’s (NHC) Northern Housing Monitor report, an annual ‘state-of-the-region’ report for housing in the North.

Nearly two-thirds of privately rented homes fail to meet the EPC C standard and it was estimated they cost around £680 more to heat last winter compared to homes that meet the EPC C benchmark. Those living in the North West (330,000 homes) and Yorkshire and Humber (312,000 homes) regions were the most severely affected.

For the private rented sector, the report highlights that 62,000 homes in the North will need to be upgraded annually.

The Prime Minister’s announcement potentially means that many northern households will suffer as a result of living in poorly insulated and inefficient to heat homes which undermines their occupants’ current health and children’s life chances.

The NHC report also shows that rising fuel poverty is an extensive problem and is not spread equally across the country. There are 1.04 million fuel-poor households across all of the North’s housing stock – this is over 30% of the nation’s fuel-poor households.

Tracy Harrison, Chief Executive of the Northern Housing Consortium, said:

“The government’s decision to scrap plans to raise minimum energy efficiency standards will have a detrimental effect on hundreds of thousands of households across the North.

“The Prime Minister’s u-turn overlooks the existing costs of an inefficient energy system with 750,000 privately rented households in the North living in properties that are performing below band C.

“Once again, tenants living in private rented homes will face higher energy bills and live in poorer conditions, without their landlords being held to account for making improvements to their properties.

“The private rented sector accounts for more than 1 in 6 of the North’s homes, which also puts the UK’s target of reaching net zero by 2050 at risk and simply generates greater pressures in later years.”

The monitor is NHC’s account of the state of the housing market in the North of England, highlighting emerging trends and identifying the developments which are having the most significant impacts on people, homes and neighbourhoods in the North. A copy of the full Monitor is available on the NHC website at www.northern-consortium.org.uk