New proposals could see landlords who refuse to upgrade their properties forced to help tenants pay their high heating bills.
The Government has launched a pubic consultation on new measures aimed at upgrading the energy grading of Ireland’s stock of rental housing.
The Environment Minister Richard Bruton said the Government aims to upgrade half-a-million homes to a BER energy rating of B2 or higher by 2030.
He said rented properties are often less energy efficient because landlords, who have to pay for improvements, do not reap the benefits of a warmer home and lower bills.
“We must address this issue,” he said.
“It is estimated that around 21% of private rented accommodation have a BER rating of F or G.
“Today we are outlining a number of options to address the problem. Improved properties will be welcome for tenants and landlords alike because they will result in improved living conditions, better health outcomes and enhanced asset value.
“The environmental impact will be significant, with lower energy bills and lower emissions.”
The proposals include plans for a ‘Cost Balancing Arrangement’ where landlords who refuse to make upgrades compensate tenants for higher heating bills.
There are also plans to encourage ‘Green Leases’ – where landlords and tenants agree to cooperate to improve efficiency.
Landlords may also be offered grants for upgrading a rented property at the same time as they upgrade their own home.
Finally long-term participation in the HAP scheme could lead see landlords offered a free energy upgrade.
There are also plans to introduce a minimum required energy rating for all commercial properties in the coming years – meaning commercial landlords who refuse to retrofit may have to take their properties off the market.
Commercial tenants may also be given the right to upgrade the properties they are renting.
The public consultation will remain open until January 17th.