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An Open Letter to Lee Rowley MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Local Government and Building Safety

Dear Lee

I write to you in your capacity as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Local Government and Building Safety.

As a property law solicitor, I have grave concerns over the forthcoming increase in the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating requirement for all rented residential premises in England and Wales, which comes into force in 2025.

My law firm, Mason Thomas Law, is being increasingly instructed by private landlords who are actively selling off their properties due to the cost of meeting the new EPC energy standards.

The requirement is, to coin a phrase, the final nail in the coffin for buy-to-let landlords.

Landlords with properties below a C believe it will cost an average of £10,400 per property to deliver the energy efficacy required.

Private landlords are essential to ensure the supply of rental homes can keep up with rising demand, particularly as the number of council homes has fallen 11 per cent since 2010.

Already, a growing number of people are struggling to find homes to rent. According to the End of Year 2022 Property & Homemovers Report from TwentyCi, there are now more homes available to buy, but there are significantly fewer properties to let, which we suspect is a direct consequence of the increased EPC rating requirement.

Despite the importance of private landlords to the housing sector, they have been penalised by the government since 2017 with the introduction of mortgage interest tax relief changes.

Since then, they have also faced the introduction of stamp duty surcharge of 3%, rising interest rates and now a fine for not having a valid EPC being raised from £5,000 to £30,000 by 2025.

Under the current system it will be difficult to improve from an E to a C EPC rating in many homes and could result in thousands of much-needed properties disappearing from the rental sector.

This demand for private rented properties shows no sign of slowing as rising mortgage rates over the past year coupled with the cost of living crisis is making it more difficult for people to borrow.

I appeal to you as the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Local Government and Building Safety to undertake an urgent review of the EPC system in relation to private rented properties or risk the current shortage of rental properties becoming even more acute.

Yours faithfully

Cathy Thomas

Solicitor and Director, Mason Thomas Law

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