Own a draughty home? You should be banned from selling it, says think-tank

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August 31, 2016

Families should be blocked from selling their homes if they fail to meet minimum energy efficiency standards, under radical proposals from a Conservative think-tank.

Households should also be forced to install measures such as insulation or new boilers when they carry out other home improvement works, under the proposals from Bright Blue.

The tough new regulations to tackle draughty homes should be accompanied by new schemes to help households afford the required upgrades, such as ‘Help to Improve’ loans and ISAs akin to the Help to Buy home ownership schemes, the think-tank suggests in a report.

It argues that the Government “urgently needs to take steps to incentivise improvements to households’ energy consumption”, following the failure of the Green Deal loans scheme, which was supposed to encourage millions of households to improve their homes but was scrapped last year after just 14,000 households signed up.

Bright Blue is backed by senior Conservatives including Lord Barker, the former energy minister who spearheaded the Green Deal, Lord Howard, the former Tory leader, and defeated London mayoral candidate Zac Goldmith MP.

All three sit on an advisory board offering “intellectual and political advice” on the group’s green reports, although the think-tank said they did not necessary agree with the report’s recommendations.

Improving household energy efficiency is seen as an important part of efforts to hit the UK’s climate targets but policies to date have been mired in controversy over high costs and poor take-up.

Bright Blue proposes that ministers introduce a minimum Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating that could be “mandated in order for the sale of the home to be permitted”.

It also proposes that builders be mandated “to improve the home’s overall energy performance whenever renovations take place”. Such measures would “help to drive consumer demand for home energy improvements”, it says.

While it does not suggest what level should be required, it suggests there could be exemptions for certain properties such as listed buildings.

The Government has already imposed new requirements on landlords to upgrade buildings they rent out to at least a Band E energy efficiency rating from 2018, so effectively banning them from letting out more than 330,000 properties that fall short of that standard.

Bright Blue acknowledges that a blanket requirement for all housing stock to be upgraded is “not currently politically feasible”. However, it suggests it could be feasibly applied to houses when they are sold, despite the costs it would impose on owners, so long as accompanied by new schemes that would mean they did not face upfront charges.

The report was sponsored by groups including the European Climate Foundation, an insulation manufacturers’ association, RenewableUK and the TUC.

Article taken from The Telegraph, 31st August 2016

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