Michael Gove calls for delay in rented housing energy efficiency plans

Michael Gove

Housing secretary Michael Gove wants the government to ‘relax the pace’ of EPC reforms expected from private landlords.

In a Sunday Telegraph interview yesterday, following the Uxbridge by-election, Gove indicated that the timetable for changing minimum energy efficiency standards for private rented housing would be altered.

In January 2021 the government closed its consultation on minimum energy efficiency standards for private rented housing. It proposed that by April 2025 all new tenancies would need to be for properties with an energy performance rating of C or better and applied to all private rented housing by April 2028.

It also proposed a national cap on the amount landlords would need to contribute to improvements of £10,000.

But in a write up of an interview with the Housing Secretary, the Sunday Telegraph writes: “In his own policy area, Gove wants to relax the current rules that will ban landlords from renting out their homes unless they pay to increase the Energy Performance Certificate rating of their properties by 2028, which could include spending thousands on fitting a heat pump, insulation or solar panels.

“My own strong view is that we’re asking too much too quickly. We do want to move towards greater energy efficiency, but just at this point, when landlords face so much, I think that we should relax the pace that’s been set for people in the private rented sector, particularly because many of them are currently facing a big capital outlay in order to improve that efficiency.”

Ben Beadle

Responding to comments by Gove, suggesting a delay to energy efficiency proposals for the private renter sector, Ben Beadle, chief executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, expressed concern.

He commented: “It is over two years since the government completed its consultation on energy efficiency standards in rented homes. As a result of the delay in responding to this, there was never any hope of meeting the originally proposed deadlines, as we told the Minister earlier this month.

“The NRLA wants to see properties as energy efficient as possible, but the sector needs certainty about how and when this will happen. Ministers need to develop a proper plan that includes a fair financial package to support improvements in the private rented sector. We will continue to work with all parties to develop pragmatic and workable proposals.”



Email the story to a friend


  1. MrManyUnits

    I agree that the timescale of these net zero EPC, Electric cars and more (even closing Heathrow Airport) are laughable and are never going to happen, but I believe this is about buying votes after Labour not gaining Boris’s old seat because they worked out more are against the expansion of ULEZ than for. Just makes you wonder how thick these Politicians are or could one of them be on the marching powder on Saturday night.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Couldn’t agree more!  The following is an imaginary conversation (don’t want to get done for slander here).

      Gove: “Boys, the labour party didn’t kick our arses in Uxbridge!”

      Sunak: “That’s because the voters there are really selfish and are more worried about themselves, rather than their children or grand-children.”

      Gove: “Those are our kind of voters. The ones who always vote for us because we say ‘low taxes’ and then destroy public services to give them an extra penny off.”

      Sunak: “Thank goodness they’re not intelligent enough to notice that they are paying more tax now under a Tory government than ever before.”

      Gove: “Thank good ness they’re not educated enough to realise that we’ve asset stripped the entire country. We’ve managed to sell off all the family silver at a knock down price and lined our own pockets.”

      Sunak: “Don’t forget lining the pockets of all our friends and families.”

      Gove: “So… More of the same?”

      Sunak: “Yeah, why not!  There will always be enough of a percentage of the population that will hear ‘tax cut’ and vote for us, regardless of what we do – including destroying the economy, killing tens of thousands of people, and even being obviously corrupt, getting found out and then lying about it.

      Gove: “So true. Let’s focus on this ULEZ thing shall we? Let’s wind back on the climate pledges. What did Cameron call it, ‘the Green ****’.

      Sunak: Sounds like a plan to me.

      Braverman: Anything that I can use against the boat people?

      And so the end of the world is nigh and our politicians have worked out that the best option, rather than leading our country (which no longer has the global influence it once did – thanks Brexit!) in leading the world in fighting the oncome Climate Change storm, is to re-arrange deckchairs or play the fiddle while the world burns.

      Thanks guys!

  2. northernlandlord

    Let’s hope that the Government listen to Gove. If you have a £600,000 house renting for £2,000/month spending £10,000 to upgrade is a small outlay compared to the house value and is recovered from rent in a few months. Much of the lower end of the rental market that rents to low income and benefit tenants involves cheaper perfectly decent older terraced housing. This is just the sort of housing stock that because of its age will be relatively the most expensive to upgrade. If a landlord owns a £130,000 house that rents for £650 month that realistically makes a return of £550 a month then has to lay out up to £10,000 which they most likely will have to borrow to achieve a C rating, the sums don’t add up. Apart from losing 19 months’ rent the value of the house won’t increase by the outlay made. To get the money back in a reasonable time scale of say seven years will involve putting about £150 month on the rent which the tenants won’t be able to afford and a rent tribunal probably would not allow.  These will be the properties that will vanish from the PRS as landlords do their sums weigh up all the hassles of this and the RRF and sell up.

    1. Will2

      Northernlandlord, a well expressed opinion.


    2. Woodentop

      Absolutely and we are talking millions of these old properties in PRS. The figures do not add up and for many DIY landlords its a non-starter ….. Off out of the market as no income for a long time.

  3. Will2

    Perhaps Gove has seen the shift in public votes, following the recent bye elections in suburban London and is now worried about his job?  His views change depending on the direction of the political wind. Whoops. I am now getting visions of Gove stuck on top of a building somewhere performing the function of a political weathervane.  Not a pretty sight.

  4. AcornsRNuts

    Too little, too late.  Small landlords are leaving the PRS.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Can I ask everyone to consider one thing?

    We can see that the planet is literally on fire.

    All of the scientific evidence points to it being our fault for burning fossil fuels (amongst other things). The only scientific evidence that doesn’t is the junk stuff generated on behalf of the oil and gas companies.

    The ONLY way out of this mess is for us to doo something positive about it. To lead the world.

    Anyone who is not on board with upgrading our housing stock to be more energy efficient is condemning our children and grandchildren to a living hell on earth.

    Hyperbole much? Actually I don’t think so.  Given the weather conditions this last 2 years I’m pretty sure it’s going to be worse than the scientists’ “reasonable worst case scenario” projections.

    I walked past a new-build development under construction yesterday where there were NO solar panels on the roofs. HOW is that possible?

    A normal member of the general public having an “I’m alright Jack” attitude is going to ensure that only those truly wealthy enough to survive do so as the rest of us fight for food and water.

    I am absolutely terrified of the future.  I feel so very sorry for our children – we have handed them a problem and so many of us are focused on things like minor party politics.

    If you think immigration is a problem now, imagine what the world will be like when some countries become uninhabitable due to global heating and the citizenry have no choice to move out en-masse.


    1. CountryLass

      I agree that energy efficiency is something everyone needs to look at, but this is not a case of leading a horse to water, this is dragging the horse to the river, wrapping its head is concrete-coated chains and shoving it off the bank. I know many Landlords who do want to make improvements, but they cannot afford to make the improvements they are being forced to.


      Older properties are almost impossible to get to a C, or even a D without tens of thousands being spent. This is money that would take years to recoup from the rent, and unless the rent is increased, which tenants cannot afford, then the landlord cannot afford to go that long without rent.


      Your point about the New-Builds makes more sense. Rather than force the older properties to get to modern standards, get the newer ones to the standard you want them to be first. The ONLY reason that they have not started forcing owner-occupiers to have the same restrictions on property is because they know there would be a revolt.

    2. A W

      I’m sorry but I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:
      The UK accounts for 1% of global emission, the top 3 polluters in the world account for 50% of GLOBAL emissions: 
      1 China  29.18%
      2 United States 14.02%
      3 India 7.09%
      Households are a big emitter of greenhouse gases, accounting for 26% of total emissions in the UK. Roughly 20% of housing in the UK is part of the PRS, meaning that PRS only accounts for around 4% of UK emissions.
      So we’re talking about 0.04% of global emissions here. 
      Whilst I appreciate your concern about the environment… there is no practical difference that the the UK can action, that will make a difference on global emissions.

  6. Another House

    All of the above makes sense. Everyone has a different angle or point of view. What seems to be forgotten is that a lot of landlords have mortgages, cost cant be off set and now rates are very high leaving v little money in the pot for investment. I am a landlord (as well as letting agent) myself not a charity. That £10k has to be found from somewhere. I have a property approx value £300k, £150 mortgage ( interest only, paid off some) coming up to remortgage. Will be around £900 pcm. Rental £1175. Not much gross profit and sod all net profit. Answer, sell house ( make family homeless)  or put rent up to cover.

    The EPC’s are solely being focused on landlords. Why cant ALL sellers have and EPC of C plus in order to sell. This way if there is real focus on the energy side of the UK housing. Landlords make up a smallish percentage of homeowners.

    Fully agree it irks me that number of new homes with no solar or wind.

    Would any political party propose this? I doubt it as its not a vote winner. Dear Mr & Mrs home owner ‘ vote for me, in order to sell your house you will need to spend £10/15k to get a C plus EPC’. I think most people will vote else where as recently see in in Uxbridge.

    There needs to be cross party agreement on things like climate change and housing.

    None of the parties have a cohesive plan for housing and the environment( We have just seen labour ditch their £28 Billion plan!!)



  7. Woodentop

    Why pick on landlords?


    Why not make it mandatory for all properties? We all know the response from the public would be on that one.


    It is financial suicide for PRS to go down the ‘C’ route and the biggest losers are the homeless tenants from the backlash.


    Interestingly if you put/already have a DWP tenant in the property, handouts abound. If the government want us (PRS) to continue to provide invaluable housing stock, then its about time they paid us to do so …….. like grants for energy efficiency they squander on SHS!

  8. PRS is fun

    In a parallel universe, a free market allows the customer to weed out bad EPCs by not renting them, but thankfully we don’t deal in freedom here.

    From a climate change perspective, it makes no sense to assert that we are in a crisis, yet we can choose to ignore it and not take the supposedly necessary action. I have never seen an attempt in the media to explain the rationale for anthropogenic climate change to joe public, which I gather is because it is based on models and proposed assumptions that we are just told to believe in a la ” the science”.


You must be logged in to report this comment!

Comments are closed.

Thank you for signing up to our newsletter, we have sent you an email asking you to confirm your subscription. Additionally if you would like to create a free EYE account which allows you to comment on news stories and manage your email subscriptions please enter a password below.