If you look at bills for different properties, you are certainly NOT looking at ‘like-for-like’ and allowing the Tenant to make the judgement as to which property to rent. It is obvious (isn’t it?!) that the annual figures given in the EPC will NOT be those that a new Tenant will pay. BUT, given everything being equal, the EPC gives the energy efficiency of the PROPERTY not the LIFESTYLE/USE of the existing tenant/owner. THIS is what the prospective Tenant needs to know.
They will then impose their own lifestyle/energy use on the property, which would be the same for which ever property they rent. The EPC provides a PROPORTIONAL assessment which can be made to inform the judgement as to which property to rent. We look at mpg (litre/kilometre, whatever) of cars and their maintenance costs etc before we buy.
We disregard individual use of those cars (rapid braking, violent acceleration) which might mean one owner gets better/worse figures than the those advertised, and which we, as future drivers, may achieve. The government figures are guides. Why not with houses? There is some inertia in our conceptions that needs to be overcome.
I regard to costs of replacement boilers etc, I cannot argue against the fact that payback periods can be very long and the Tenant does not bear that burden. But we buy cars that lose some 15% or more of their value as soon as they are driven out of the showroom, and continue to depreciate annually.
We buy white goods (& generally everything else) that becomes worthless after a few years. We might complain about this (but who does, and writes Blogs bemoaning this situation?) but we accept it as part of the way society is organised and the economy works.
We spend £thousands on holidays that are here and gone, with no concerns about payback. Clearly, and seriously, replacing a boiler isn’t going to save the planet, but it all will help in the end, if it is part of a concerted effort, supported by governments and society as a whole. Somethig that is, sadly, not taken as seriously as it might.
Landlords provide a service in the market and there is a cost to doing this. As Tenants become more aware of energy costs, Landlords with efficient properties will benefit in that market place. Those who ignore the winds of change will find it difficult to rent their propery out (how many months with a property remaining empty, no rental income, pays for energy efficiency measures – especially with grants available?).
Rateable values for energy-efficient properties might, in future, be reduced. More government grants might be introduced. Other measures might be introduced to encourage energy-efficiency. Energy costs will inevitably increase as resources become more scarce and more difficult to extract and use without causing further damage to the environment, and investment costs in new sustainable sources (which WILL be needed), are passed onto the consumer by the Providers.
This is not just a ‘green’ agenda, it is serious stuff that effects all society and it is, perhaps, unfortunate that Landlords, for whom legislation and other changes have a direct effect in their pockets, are in the font line in this particular area of activity.
Already the construction of new houses (representing a small percentage of the housing stock) meet new and increasingly rigorous energy-use standards. Revisions to Building Regulation/Standards over the next two years are likely to raise these standards further.
It’s inevitable that the vast majority of properties in which we live, already in existence and with generally poor energy-efficiency, will need to be improved.
It’s tough, I know, but that’s the way things are going….
We might all be dead when the real cost of our life styles start kicking in for society (which it will, no arguament there), but that doesn’t mean that we should bury our heads in the sand and not contribute to easing the transition for future generations.
Covered a lot of stuff here, don’t wear sandles or beads and live in a commune, but read widely and weigh up different views and don’t jump to conclusions – open to debate!
Have your say on this subject using the comment section below.