homeWednesday 22nd May 2019

Cold housing rules fail tenants

William Hatchett22/11/2018 - 12:08

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loophole means cold homes will continue
loophole means cold homes will continue

CIEH is disappointed that new rules on the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards will exempt thousands of landlords from having to make rented homes warmer, under a cost cap loophole.

Since April, under the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards, landlords who own the coldest privately rented homes have been required to improve these properties with energy efficiency measures.  Originally, there was an exemption for landlords who could not make improvements at no cost to themselves. In 2017, CIEH, with 15 other organisations, wrote to energy minister, Claire Perry, asking her to remove the ‘no cost’ exemption.

Following a consultation earlier this year, landlords will now be able to register for an exemption if upgrades will cost more than £3,500.

Under the rules, properties with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of F or G, the lowest 2 ratings, must be made warmer by landlords before they can be put on the rental market for new tenancies. According to government, this is expected to cost £1,200 on average and will affect 290,000 properties, around 6 per cent of the overall domestic market. The changes are expected to save households an average of £180 a year.

Tamara Sandoul, CIEH policy manager said that the vast majority of tenants living in the coldest homes won’t benefit. She said: ‘In practice, the £3,500 cost cap means that most landlords will get away with doing nothing. This figure falls short of sector expectations. We are calling on the government to set it higher.

‘The government’s own analysis shows that a 50 per cent of properties in Bands F and G won’t be brought up to a Band E within this new cost cap. That’s around 151,000 homes missing out. There are now serious doubts over the government’s stated ambition to bring all property up to a Band C by 2030.’

Sandoul also expressed concerned that third party finance for improvement such as Green Deal and local authority funding are to be counted as part of the landlord’s overall cost cap. These funding sources, she said, take into account the financial circumstances of the tenant, but the improvement will ultimately benefit the landlord.

She said: ‘We urge the government to look at this again and work to make further improvements in their approach to tackling cold homes and fuel poverty.’


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