More significant incentives are needed to help landlords make green improvements

Both landlords and homeowners need better incentives to help them with the cost of making green improvements, according to a recent report.

Property portal Rightmove’s annual Greener Homes report reveals 60 per cent of its homes for sale and 50 per cent of those to rent have an EPC rating of D or below.

New measures would need to be carefully thought through, but the report suggests that the following areas could be considered:

*Stamp duty rebates if a new buyer makes green improvements in the first few years of purchase

*More significant incentives for energy efficient homes for both new mortgages and remortgages

*More grants or tax benefits for green technology such as electric car charging points and solar panels

*Enabling new innovations that speed up the creation and implementation of energy efficient technology

According to Rightmove, landlords are currently in a conundrum, as there has been no further announcement on the plans for all rental properties to reach an EPC rating of C in England and Wales.

And recent comments from Housing and Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove have indicated that it is likely to be delayed.

While a greater proportion of properties entering the rental market that were previously for sale now have an EPC rating of C or higher, the research indicates that many landlords are waiting to hear the details before embarking on major improvements, and some are thinking of selling up rather than improving.

Landlords with smaller portfolios are more likely to sell up than those with bigger portfolios.

It reveals more incentives for landlords to make green changes could help improve rental properties without passing costs on to the tenant.

Tim Bannister, Rightmove’s director of property science, says: “It’s clear that the current incentives aren’t yet big enough to make people sit up and take notice, and even the incentives that do exist aren’t easy to find out about.

“The benefit of making green improvements can be seen in the overall premium that a seller can command.

“Of course, improvements that make a home more energy efficient could also mean the condition improves, such as installing new windows, and so owners will be weighing up the cost of improvements versus the return they can get when they come to sell.

“But the end result of making improvements is not just a refurbished home worth more money, it’s also a greener home.

“In order to shift the demand to greener homes, incentivisation and education is key.

“The ‘price of cosy,’ or a better insulated home, is hard to quantify until people see how it can change how they live for the better, and they need to be able to afford it.

“Adoption at scale will take time and there are clearly areas that need more attention than others.”

He adds: “Our analysis does show that our housing stock is going greener, but more needs to be done to speed it up.”