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Paragon Bank has launched a range of buy-to-let mortgages with lower interest rates for energy efficient properties.

The 80% LTV mortgages charge a market-leading 3.99% interest, fixed for five years, exclusively for rental properties which earn an energy performance certificate (EPC) of A to C. The loans can be used for the purchase and remortgages of self-contained properties and houses in multiple occupation (HMO).

The lender hopes the new mortgages will encourage landlords to invest in the energy efficiency of their properties.

The number of properties in the private rental sector with an EPC of A to C has increased 272% over the past decade to 1.8 million. However, around six and ten homes in the sector still are at a grade D or lower.

Energy inefficient properties are expensive for tenants to heat and frequently dangerously cold. A government survey of the country’s housing stock has found that homes below an energy efficiency ratio (EER) of C cost an average of £500 more to heat each year than properties that achieve a C or better. Those high costs leave a disproportionate number of private tenants in fuel poverty—25% in England, compared to 10% across the wider population.

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The most energy inefficient rental properties are on average 2⁰C colder in winter than the most efficient homes, posing risk to tenant health.

Inefficient rentals are also responsible for high levels of carbon emissions. Nationally, energy use in homes account for around 14% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions and any pathway to net zero requires investment in insulation, double and triple glazing and low-carbon heating systems in homes.

Under proposed regulations, which the government began consulting on last autumn, all homes in the private rented sector will need a minimum EPC grade of C or better for new tenancies by 2025. All privately rental properties will need to achieve that grade by 2028.

Richard Rowntree, managing director of mortgages at Paragon Bank, said: “Landlords have made great strides in adding more energy efficient homes to the PRS – or upgrading properties to C or above standard—over the past decade. However, more needs to be done as the Government moves towards its net zero carbon target by 2050 and landlords have a key role to play in that.

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“Our new range of products at 80% LTV for homes with an energy rating of C or above will be an incentive for landlords to add energy efficient homes to the sector, benefitting tenants through lower energy bills and the environment through reduced consumption.”

Landlords, along with other homeowners, were extended some help in upgrading their properties with the government’s Green Homes Grant scheme. The initiative offered homeowners up to £5k to cover two-thirds of the cost of energy efficiency upgrades. However, the project was dogged by difficulties and was shuttered prematurely at the end of March, having issued just 28,000 vouchers for work and seen just 5,800 energy efficiency measures installed.

Source: Money Expert

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