IUT press release: Green and energy efficient housing must be affordable and inclusive for all
Statement of the International Union of Tenants on the ongoing EU-trilogue negotiations on the Energy Performance Buildings Directive, 12 October 2023.
We are further away than ever from equal treatment of owners, landlords and tenants in global and European housing markets.
Due to the massive affordability crisis in housing markets, exacerbated by the steady decline in construction activity in the affordable housing sector, tenants are being pushed to the edge of their financial resilience. The share of housing costs in disposable income is highest for tenants compared to owners.
We support the EU’s call for the energy efficiency of existing buildings to be improved.
Nevertheless, legislators must take the following into account:
· Climate protection does not only mean CO2 reduction – as landlords are now insinuating.
· Just and fair climate protection means above all increasing energy efficiency, i.e. reducing heating and electricity costs.
The IUT therefore urgently demands that the principle of housing cost neutrality be made the central point of the revised Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD)
In 21 European countries, the costs of building renovation can be passed on directly to the tenants.
We demand that this rent increase be compensated by energy cost savings in the same amount – that is housing cost neutrality. This principle must be made binding in the Buildings Directive.
The alternative is “renovictions” – otherwise there will be massive displacement and evictions of tenants through renovation.
The political debate about “forced renovations” through minimum energy performance standards (MEPS) does not go far enough.
The energy guzzlers, the worst performing buildings, must be renovated. They are a cost trap for their residents and the main reason for energy poverty and health problems.
The IUT emphasises that this is a task for society as a whole.
The state must promote the energy-efficient refurbishment of buildings. Landlords must also take up these subsidies, as public subsidies may not be passed on to rents. Where landlords refuse to do so, there must be caps on rent increases.
These social safeguards to protect tenants with small and medium incomes must be legally anchored in the Energy Performance Buildings Directive in a binding way.
European legislators: The cooperation of tenants is crucial for the green deal transition. You have it in your hands to protect more than 20 million tenants in Europe – take this responsibility together with the tenants!
President of the International Union of Tenants