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​Councils ​'​should do more to encourage landlords to upgrade inefficient homes​'​

​Councils in London have been urged to forge more cooperative relationships with private landlords as part of wider efforts to ensure they are making relevant energy efficiency improvements to their homes. 

A report from Future of London titled Engaging Private Landlords in Energy Efficiency emphasised the importance of this action. 

Head of policy at the organisation Jo Wilson acknowledged there can be difficulties in acting to make properties more energy efficient - and this is particularly the case when it comes to older buildings. 

She explained that it is more common for privately rented homes to be older housing stock that will require retrofitting. 

Insulation work can be difficult to carry out, as old and outmoded boilers may be struggling against leaky fabric where properties have not been properly insulated and sealed against draught.

Future of London state that the support of private landlords is absolutely essential if standards are to be improved, as these are the individuals who will be investing time, energy and money into their rental properties. 

A total of four key challenges were identified as being face by boroughs in terms of their relationship with landlords. 

These were an unfavourable funding landscape, physical barriers to retrofitting older buildings, a general lack of communication channels with landlords and poor incentives for either landlords or tenants to act. 

Ms Wilson said it is difficult to protect households vulnerable to cold and high energy bills by improving standards at the same time as holding a reasonable level of private housing to meet overall demand. 

"Maintaining this balance without clear data on landlords or their properties is extremely challenging," she commented, noting this is particularly difficult in the capital. 

"Many of these inner London properties are also in conservation areas, making retrofit particularly difficult," Ms Wilson continued.

Posted by Helen Hughes