The professional body for the property market has called on the Department of Finance to set more realistic energy targets for rented properties and homeowners.
Buildings account for 15% of emissions in Northern Ireland, and Propertymark , emphasised the importance of reducing the environmental impact and improving energy efficiency.
This response is in line with the Northern Ireland Executive’s Energy Strategy – Path to Net Zero Energy, which targets net zero ready standards for new buildings by 2026/27.
The PropertyMark recommendations stress the need for a differentiated approach, avoiding a one-size-fits-all policy, and providing sufficient funding and support to landlords and homeowners for retrofitting.
PropertyMark’s head of policy and campaigns, Timothy Douglas, highlighted the economic challenges in implementing these changes.
“The rising cost of living and interest rates have made it more difficult than ever for landlords and homeowners to pay for energy efficiency improvements,” he explained.
“This is particularly difficult in Northern Ireland where house prices and household incomes are lower compared to the rest of the UK.
“While Propertymark supports steps taken to improve the energy efficiency of homes, agents and their landlords as well as homeowners must be given the financial support and practical time scales required if the Department of Finance is serious about achieving their net zero targets.”
Propertymark suggests that retrofit or new energy efficiency targets should be realistic, providing adequate time for homeowners and landlords to invest in their properties.
They also advocate for long-term investment over short-term targets to avoid negative consequences like reduced property construction and landlords exiting the market due to high retrofit costs.
Additionally, they recommend ensuring standards in Northern Ireland align with the rest of the UK for greater standardisation across the nation.