Homes with low EPCs could be banned from the sales market

People could in future be unable to sell their homes unless the properties meet minimum energy performance standards.

They would be banned from the market, in the same way that lettings properties will be shortly.

The latest proposal is in a report by Tory think tank Bright Blue.

The document says that a minimum EPC rating should become mandatory “in order for the sale of the home to be permitted”.

It suggests that the upfront costs for households would be removed by the availability of new home improvement loans.

It adds: “The minimum standard of energy performance could be increased over time to ensure government policy objectives were achieved.”

Certain properties, such as listed buildings, would be exempt.

The report, by Sam Hall and Ben Caldecott, also says that whenever renovations are carried out on an energy-inefficient property, energy improvements should be made at the same time.

The report calls decisions to sell or do up homes “trigger points” for energy improvements. However, it does not rule out imposing minimum energy performance standards on all homes, regardless of whether they are being renovated or put up for sale – saying only that this is “not currently politically feasible”.

The authors say: “Blanket regulation imposing minimum energy performance standards across the entire housing stock is not currently politically feasible, as it would be an unacceptable level of intrusion into private property.”

The report does not recommend a minimum EPC rating but says: “The government would have to think carefully about the exact minimum energy performance that would apply at the point of sale and when building work is undertaken.

“The exact rating would have to be demanding enough to achieve the reductions in energy use to meet carbon emissions targets and guarantee energy security, but not too burdensome that it would be financially punitive for those on more modest incomes.”

In the private rented sector, however, a minimum EPC rating of E has been set.

Rental properties falling below this standard will be banned from the market in phases, starting in around 18 months’ time.

From April 1, 2018, the regulations come into force for new lets and renewals, and for all existing tenancies on April 1, 2020.

The regulations actually come into force on October 1, for the purpose of allowing landlords to claim exemptions.

These include having made energy improvements, but the property is still below an E rating; or where they have been professionally advised against installing wall insulation; or where energy improvements would devalue the property by more than 5%.

If the Bright Blue proposals were to be taken up, it could mean that a landlord with a poorly performing property would be stuck with it – unable either to let it or sell it.


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  1. Will

    Sounds like this group should be renamed “Dimbo Blue” This idea could lock property into a void where it could not be advertised to sell a property needing renovation;  if  I am understanding this correctly?

    1. Woodentop

      You certainly are. Another good idea that is likely to fail at the first hurdle and it doesn’t stop at requiring renovation. The report highlighted that professionally advised against improvements. How’s that going to work as it will not fit all cases. I did an EPC on a property that came back with a G rating of 1. Very, very expensive, sold with a queue of people wanting it. Looked like the cover off a chocolate box in the country with stunning views, not listed and no defects, a to die for barn conversion, ultra modern furnishings. It was just the overall size and vaulted roof that hammered it down. Energy efficient, certainly not but buyers wanting this style of property are not buying it for that reason.

  2. is it just me

    My word they really have excelled themselves with this one

    Thought through with careful consideration and obvious designed to assist with the chronic housing problems we have in this country!

  3. Mark Walker

    Can we get confirmation of the timetable for when the ban of letting of properties with low EPC ratings will be put back again?

  4. Paulfromromsey87

    I am reading this on September 1st, not April 1st?

  5. StatementOfFact

    Ridiculous. Can’t wait for the development project with no windows and no working boiler to be unsellable due to a failed EPC.

  6. Marketshare

    In circumstances such as this the phrase ‘think tank’ makes me chuckle. When will various ‘bodies’ stop messing with our industry? They seem to take a blinkered approach to try and sollve an apparent ‘problem’ but in doing so they cause a few dozen more.  The stamp duty changes are a perfect example. I now have first time buyers wanting to purchase on a joint-equity basis with their employer and because the employer owns other properties the extra 3% kicks in.  Let’s remember that this was legislation to try and limit investors from buying stock suitable for first time buyers.  Getting back to the point with regard to EPC’s the vast majority of such houses we deal with are probate sales.  Who exactly is going to improve these before they can be sold? Can people please stop trying to solve problems that don’t really exist. Home owners are penalised by higher running costs for properties that are not particularly energy efficient, surely that alone is enough of an incentive to improve things without ill-thought through legislation.

  7. Eamonn

    Bright Blue.  Heads Gone

    1. PeeBee

      Eamonn – I take exception to you putting me and this lot in the same pigeonhole.

      If my head’s gone also – it’s gone to somewhere completely different to the location of theirs…

  8. mrharvey

    Next they’ll say that genetically modified food should be banned because the starving kids in Africa deserve the organic stuff.

  9. Eric Walker

    Ridiculous. The poorest people who need to sell but can’t afford to upgrade, executor sales, flood / damaged properties and the speculator market would all be affected. This is almost funny.


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