Over 40,000 families living in cold and draughty rented properties across 59 local authorities in England and Wales can expect warmer homes thanks to a new campaign and £4.3m worth of funding to help councils clamp down on errant landlords.
Since April last year, privately rented homes must meet a minimum energy performance rating of 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 up to £5,000 per property and per breach.
Badly insulated properties often leave those renting their homes struggling to keep warm and with higher energy bills.
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 the country manages the impact of global gas price rises.
The extra funding from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to councils across the country is designed to support them make an extra 100,000 engagements with the most difficult to reach landlords with the worst performing properties.
The money will support innovative measures, including local radio adverts, 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.
One council will even invest in a drone with thermal imaging capacity to help with on the ground inspections.
Commenting, Business and Energy Minister, Lord Callanan said:
“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.”
Deputy Leader of Darlington Council, Councillor Jonathan Dulston added:
“We know that the vast majority of private landlords stick to the rules and provide good accommodation, but we are determined to crack down on rogue landlords who do not care about their tenants or the standard of their properties.
“These new powers will improve the energy efficiency standards of private rented homes both here in Darlington and across the country, which will in turn improve residents’ health, ensuring people do not live in homes that are cold and damp.”
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