November 3, 2021 – Geospatial technology firm Kamma has today released it’s response to the government announcement of a clampdown on landlords and agents that let energy inefficient properties. A total of 106,337 PRS properties are currently under minimum standards and are therefore being let illegally. Despite the scale of this challenge, funding was offered to just 59 councils, ignoring 281 local authorities that collectively account for 78%, or 83,208, non-compliant properties.
The government funding, a total of £4.3 million, has been designed to deliver “100,000 engagements” with landlords of potentially inefficient rental properties. Data from the EPC register, collected and analysed by Kamma, however, shows that these councils contain just 23,129 non-compliant properties. The majority of councils, including three of the top five most affected areas, have not benefited from additional cash.
This is a particular challenge when considering the respective emissions of these properties. Average emissions per non-compliant property are an incredible 8.2 tonnes of carbon per property per year, compared to a national average of just 3.6. Improving all these properties to the legal standard would save around 158,741 tonnes of carbon emissions every single year. Improving them to their full potential would save around 534,278 tonnes of carbon emissions every single year. The 22% of local authorities with funding, however, account for only 20% of this saving. By focussing funding on so small a number, the government is passing up an opportunity to reduce annual UK carbon emissions by up to 426,926 tonnes.
As Kamma CEO, Orla Shields continued: “With inefficient properties identified as a major driver of UK emissions it’s vital that local authorities work with the PRS to find cost effective ways to reduce the carbon footprint of all illegally let rental properties. This will be all the more important if the proposed increase in MEES does go ahead and increase to grade C. This would increase the number of non-compliant standards, based on today’s data, from 2.8% to 68%.”
It also raises the question of effective use of public funds. £5,000 grants for heat pumps are a huge step forward for the UK built environment, but at an average cost of around £10,000, and an average reduction in annual carbon emissions of around 2.6 tonnes per property, the cost to reduce emissions by a single tonne is £3,846. Ensuring that landlords meet existing laws is a much more cost effective approach, as Shields continued: “If the identified properties in just these 59 councils improved to just the minimum standard we’d reduce our carbon footprint by around 32,150 tonnes. At a total cost of £4.3 million this delivers a cost per tonne reduction of under £134, a far more effective use of funds than heat pump subsidies. The de-carbonisation of heating is a vitally important step towards Net Zero, but it’s not the only one we need to take. The government should take another look at the high impact, low cost opportunity to enforce its own laws.”
Kamma’s analysis is available to local authorities and letting agents who wish to support landlords in the drive to Net Zero.
Top 5 local authorities by number of non-compliant PRS properties:
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