The government’s cap on the amount private landlords should be expected to pay to upgrade their properties’ energy efficiency has been branded “nonsense”.

Lord Deben, chair of the Committee on Climate Change, told MPs on the House of Commons Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy committee on Tuesday (26 March) that he was “disappointed” at the £3,500 ceiling set by the government on the amount that landlords should be expected to contribute to bringing their rented properties up to energy performance certificate band E.

The government announced last November that the ceiling would be set at this figure, which was higher than the £2,500 it had consulted on.

But even the higher figure, which he described as “nonsense”, is lower than that considered by the government six years ago, the peer said: “I would like government to do something very serious about rented accommodation, particularly at the bottom of the scale.”

He said that tenants would suffer from living in colder properties as a result of landlords not upgrading their homes.

And the government must change its approach to energy efficiency “very fundamentally” in order to have any hope of meeting its fourth and fifth carbon budgets.

The former Conservative environment secretary of state also called for new rules to make it easier for developers to be sued if the homes they built fail to meet intended energy efficiency standards.

“We need a clear statement about what a house is like, which would make it much easier to take the builder to court.”

Philip Graham, chief executive of the National Infrastructure Commission, told MPs that 50,000 fewer energy efficiency installations are being carried out per week than should be the case.

“By any measure this is pretty far off track,” he said.

What to read next