Property investors with an interest in landlord insurance will be more than a little worried by developments at one Ministry in Whitehall today. Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne has decided to try and get his name in the headlines for more positive reasons and decided to make his target the landlords of the UK.
Minister looks to enhance his reputation
After weeks of negative press the energy minister has come out fighting and announced that landlords who fail to bring their properties up to energy efficiency set standards will face massive fines. He hopes the announcement will cement his place amongst the favourites in the “Green lobby” and will restore his reputation with his Liberal Democrat colleagues.
Thousands of properties affected
The measures he announced in parliament today could mean that as many as three quarters of a million homes in the private letting sector will have to be upgraded before 2018 and if landlords don’t comply then they will have to take their punishment. Exactly what the punishment will be has not been decided yet but Mr Huhne was talking tough. He had to be really, because a leaked memo suggesting his Cabinet colleagues would prefer to ignore his offices demands that the nation cuts greenhouse gases by 60% before 2030.
Big business expected to fund loan scheme
The “green deal” as Mr Huhne described the measures will be dependent on homeowners taking out cheap loans from sources yet to be identified, but thought to be big business corporations. The cash sum is thought to be a maximum of £10,000 a property and would be spent on insulation projects such as double glazing, loft and wall insulation.
Bill will not be plain sailing for landlords
Many environmentalist organisations welcomed the move saying rented homes should have to meet a decent level of insulation but the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) said there would be a danger that some landlords would be forced to cover their properties with empty property insurance if they could not afford to pay for the required improvements.
It is clear that despite the rhetoric of the minister today, many details of the bill have yet to be ironed out, and many interested parties placated.