Tuesday, 15 December 2020

Questions (143)

Francis Noel Duffy


143. Deputy Francis Noel Duffy asked the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications the time frame for phasing out of BER F-G in the private rental market; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42965/20]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

In the residential rental sector, the incentives to invest in energy efficiency upgrades are misaligned between landlords and tenants, which impacts negatively on energy performance of the sector. This is a complex problem seen in many countries.  Last year, an Expert Advisory Group was formed to explore potential policy approaches to address the split-incentive and increase the number of rented properties undergoing energy upgrades.  The Group is comprised of representatives from my Department, the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage, the SEAI and the Residential Tenancies Board. Based on an analysis of policy approaches in other jurisdictions and input from stakeholders, the Group selected a number of potential policy measures for a public consultation, including the introduction of a minimum BER for private rental properties.  Over 90 submissions were received in response to the consultation.

The results of the public consultation have been analysed by my Department and will inform the Expert Advisory Group's policy recommendations which will be submitted to me next year. Submissions stressed the importance of striking the right balance between ensuring a sufficient supply of rented accommodation and taking action to improve energy efficiency of the private rented stock.

Currently, landlords can apply for grant support to upgrade their rental properties under a number of SEAI grant schemes including the Better Energy Homes scheme. The SEAI also recently launched the One-Stop-Shop Development Call as part of the National Retrofit Scheme. The findings of the consultation helped to inform the decision to include encouraging the retrofitting of rental properties as an objective of the scheme.  The consultation also informed the decision to improve the level of support available for the retrofitting of rental properties under the SEAI Community Energy Grant scheme.  Grant support of 35% is now available versus 30% previously.