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Renters revolt

9 February, 2024

According to recent data, housing is the second highest contributor to UK carbon emissions and continues to pose a significant challenge to our net zero goals. However, a new survey from NatWest points to an interesting trend among renters.

The NatWest Greener Homes Attitude Tracker found that 75% of UK renters are calling for sustainable upgrades to their homes from landlords. While partially motivated by cost savings, this sentiment underscores a growing demand for greener living spaces and, with homeownership increasingly out of reach for many, renters are becoming increasingly vocal about their expectations.

It’s no secret that retrofitting will be a cornerstone of the UK’s efforts to reach its net zero by 2050 goal, and these upgrades not only reduce carbon emissions but also lead to lower utility bills, offering long-term benefits for both tenants and landlords. But there are many challenges in achieving widespread retrofits, with 67% of homeowners saying they were not planning to make improvements and citing upfront costs as a barrier. While there are mechanisms in the private sector that provide financial incentives for sustainable home improvements, such as green mortgages, government support is at risk, with the current government’s targets for greener heating in homes expected to be dropped, and yesterday’s U-turn by Labour on its £28 billion green pledge.

Landlords should take note of rising demand from renters for green investment in their homes, but we also need action and collaboration from all sides – renters, landlords, homeowners and policymakers – achieve our net zero goals. We hope policymakers also take note of the challenges homeowners face in implementing these improvements and step up their efforts to tackle the issue.

By Lucy Bell

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