New support for councils to enforce rules banning landlords renting homes with worst energy efficiency ratings announced

0
442

£4.3 million of extra funding for councils across the country designed to support them make an extra 100,000 engagements with the most difficult to reach landlords with the worst performing properties, the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has announced.

Since April last year, privately rented homes must meet a minimum energy performance rating of Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) Band E, making it illegal to rent out homes below that unless landlords have a limited exemption.

Landlords caught failing to fulfil their obligations can be fined of up to £5,000 per property and per breach.

The rule change is expected to see energy efficiency upgrades such as loft insulation, double glazing and cavity wall insulation being installed by landlords in around 290,000 properties – with an estimated average bill saving of £180 a year for each home.

This move forms part of the government’s actions to protect consumers, particularly those on lower incomes, as we manage the impact of global gas price rises.

Business and Energy Minister, Lord Callanan, commented on the announcement: “This funding will help councils to support landlords with these important energy efficiency changes, but also enforce these standards, helping tackle fuel poverty and ensuring everyone can live in a warm home with fair energy bills.

“Heating our homes and buildings makes up almost a third of all carbon emissions, meaning raising the energy efficiency of our properties is something we all have to contribute to help us build back greener and reach our world leading climate ambitions.”

The money will support measures including local radio ads, roadshows and workshops with landlords to raise awareness of the rules, free property surveys, as well as enhanced and targeted mail reminders and translation services to reach those not currently complying.

According to the UK Government, one council will even invest in a drone with thermal imaging capacity to help with on the ground inspections.

To further support private landlords, as well as the overall UK property market, the government has also announced a new £10 million innovation programme, dedicated to developing ‘world-class green finance services – equipping homeowners with new options to decarbonise their homes in a more cost-effective way.’

The new Green Home Finance programme, part of the £1 billion Net Zero Innovation Portfolio, will support high-street lenders, financial technology businesses, energy suppliers and others to ‘pioneer world-class innovation into new finance products’ which will make it easier and more affordable for homeowners to switch to low carbon heating.

This is likely to include piloting cutting-edge heat pumps, glazing and insulation, as well green finance services such as green mortgages and green equity releases.

The investment comes soon after ministers unveiled the government’s Heat and Buildings Strategy, which commits to all new heating appliances installed in homes and workplaces to be low-carbon technologies to help ensure the nation’s buildings are fuelled by clean energy by 2035, as well as bringing down the costs of clean alternatives so they are no more expensive than gas boilers by 2030.

The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015, which came into force on 1 April 2018, introduced a minimum energy efficiency standard of EPC E for the private rented sector.

From April 2018, private rented homes in scope of the Regulations were required to meet the minimum standard (EPC E) before they could be let on a new tenancy.

Since April 2020, the requirement applies to all properties in scope, even when there has been no change in tenancy.

The Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) competition closed on 2 July 2021, with 117 local authorities entering. 59 local authorities were successful and have been allocated funding.

The full list of the local authorities to receive the funding to support councils with raising awareness and enforcing the private rented sector rules on properties meeting EPC E is available on the UK Government website.