Marketing energy efficiency to private landlords – the hard sell

Engaging Private Landlords in Energy Efficiency

We held the first of two seminars in our EDF Energy-sponsored research programme, Engaging Private Landlords in Energy Efficiency, on 2nd October, hosted by Pinsent Masons. Participants included London boroughs, related third sector organisations and a representative from the Residential Landlords Association (RLA). The aims of the morning were to discuss the barriers to providing a marketable offer to landlords, and potential ways forward to be explored.

Future of London head of policy Jo Wilson and project researcher Faye Wade kicked things off with a run-through of the project aims, and key findings of the desk-based research. They were followed by Rob Spender, PRS Manager, RE:NEW, and Becca Aspinwall, Senior Associate at Pinsent Masons, on the funding mechanisms applicable to PRS.

This was followed by a discussion of the following questions:

  • How can landlords be incentivised/persuaded to engage with this agenda? Where are the obstacles?
  • What can boroughs do to create a ‘marketable’ offer to landlords? e.g. area-based approaches to funding and delivery, local tools and models.
  • What are the most effective channels for communicating with different types of landlord? e.g. focus groups, meetings, online resources, non-specific channels.
  • What evidence could help persuade/incentivise landlords in energy efficiency? Who is best placed to provide this evidence? e.g. national/ pan-London/local government, private sector, professional bodies.

The room was in agreement that the funding and delivery landscape for retrofit is generally confusing and hard to sell; and even more so in the private sector, when a landlord’s motivation for investing in retrofit isn’t always easy to identify. However, there was also the sense that other, more manageable factors, such as the method and style of communicating, are key, and that while the variety of landlord types means there is no one fixed solution, efforts should be made to target those with whom a borough already has a connection.

The next seminar, on 23rd October, 8.30-11.00 at Pinsent Masons, will focus on pan-London and local initiatives to track the vast number of ‘unknown’ landlords, such as accreditation and licensing, and in what ways these can support the energy efficiency agenda. Rhona Brown, GLA lead officer for the London Rental Standard, is a confirmed speaker. Please contact events@futureoflondon.org.uk if you wish to attend.

If you have any comments on the discussion questions, or would like to get involved with the research in any other way, contact Jo Wilson.


View the presentations from this event:

  • A summary of the second research seminar is available here