BTL landlord forced to remove triple-glazed windows

A buy-to-let landlord in Portsmouth fears that he will be unable to rent out his property due to its energy efficiency rating falling from Band C to Band E after Portsmouth City Council ordered him to remove triple-glazed windows.

Mike West replaced single-glazed sliding sash windows with UPVC triple-glazed ones while renovating his Victorian house in Southsea, Portsmouth, in order to improve its energy efficiency rating.

The government has said it wants to upgrade as many private rented sector homes as possible to EPC Band C by 2030. Currently private rental homes without an exemption must meet a minimum of EPC Band E.

But the city’s council ordered the return of the original windows due to the house being in a conservation area.

The authority said further “erosion” of the area’s heritage was unacceptable.

However, West, fears that he could now find himself out of pocket and without rental income due to the local council’s conservation area policy, which he argues is in “total disconnect with government policy” and needs to be “modernised” in the age of climate awareness.

West said he may have to pay £10,000 to get the made-to-measure front windows changed at the four-floor rental property.

He commented: “We put in triple glazing. It’s very energy efficient and also very comfortable for the tenants.

“We saw sash windows but in a minority – 73% of windows were of the type of frame we put in.

“We’re not conservation cowboys… anybody walking casually up and down the street would not notice the difference.”

The Planning Inspectorate upheld the council’s decision at an appeal.

A spokesperson for Portsmouth City Council said: “Unfortunately, there are other UPVC windows on the street. We can’t do anything about these, because we didn’t know about the changes at the time, and legally too much time has passed for us to take action.”

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