Mansfield District Council is one of the first councils to drive improvements at private rental properties that don’t meet minimum energy efficiency standards after winning a £90,000 government grant.
It is one of 59 local authorities in England and Wales who have shared £4.3m in funding from the Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy to help them enforce the law.
The cash has allowed Mansfield to hire two enforcement officers, along with administration support, to target landlords with failing properties in a project that runs until the end of March 2022. It is to target 166 properties.
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.
The project will give landlords advice on loft insulation, cavity wall insulation and double glazing, but lack of action could result in a fine of up to £5,000 per property and per breach.
Councillor Marion Bradshaw, portfolio holder for safer communities, housing and wellbeing, says although it has identified 166 homes, it suspects the actual number is much higher.
“We prefer to work with landlords to improve standards rather than wave a big stick at them. However, enforcement action is an option if landlords choose not to engage with the project,” says Bradshaw.
Midlands Energy Hub, a BEIS-funded agency that works with local authorities to help deliver the government’s Net Zero Strategy, is supporting Mansfield Council’s project.
Michael Gallagher, head of the hub, says: “Through improving the quality of housing stock, the whole project looks to target over 95,000 of the worst-performing private rented homes with the ultimate aim of tackling fuel poverty and reducing carbon emissions produced by the domestic housing sector.”