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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