London mayor Sadiq Khan is being urged to plug into a scheme to make private rented homes more energy efficient.
A new report claims London has more leaky and hard to heat homes than most other cities.
With one in four homes a buy to let, the London Assembly Environment Committee says private landlords have little incentive in paying for energy efficient homes because they do not pay the heating bills.
Even new regulations kicking in from April 2018 making homes illegal to rent out if they fail to meet energy efficiency standards give landlords an excuse not to upgrade their homes, argues the report.
The regulations say work should be done ‘as long as it is reasonably practicable to bring up their energy efficiency’.
“However, the effectiveness of this policy faces serious barriers. Small private landlords may have limited awareness of what practical steps they can take to improve efficiency,” says the committee’s report Getting Warmer.
“Finance is also lacking. The ‘reasonably practicable’ criterion as it stands allows landlords not to carry out works if they cannot get grants or subsidies to cover the cost.”
To beat the problem, the report suggests the mayor should find a finance deal offering landlords cheap loans to carry out energy improvements.
The committee also recommends that the mayor’s proposed London letting agency should only handle lettings for private homes that meet minimum energy requirements.
“London has found energy improvements particularly challenging. It has always got less than its fair share of available funding under the national schemes, and so less work has been carried out and has contributed to London’s recent huge rises in fuel poverty,” said committee chair Leonie Cooper.
“Landlords should be supported to improve their properties – this will help those renters who struggle to pay rising energy prices, as well as benefitting the environment.”