A local council that introduced fines to catch out negligent private landlords renting sub-standard homes has been hauled up for doing the same thing.

Legislation adopted by South Derbyshire District Council in 2019 means its landlords can be fined up to £5,000 per property if they rent energy inefficient homes rated below E.

However, a sample survey of 700 council homes in South Derbyshire, carried out by Nottingham City Council, found two homes rated F. Derbyshire Live reports that if this was replicated throughout all 3,000 of the council’s homes, it could total 12 homes which landlords would not be allowed to rent.

The research also found a third of homes were rated below C and needed a wide range of upgrades.

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Three of the homes assessed had no insulation. +The finding is another example of a council being quick to penalise transgressions while not always practicing what it preaches; earlier this year, Croydon Council was rumbled for allowing appalling housing conditions endured by council tenants in South Norwood go unrepaired for four years.

Domestic properties

The Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 only relate to domestic private rented properties, which means councils like Derbyshire can continue renting council homes which are extremely energy inefficient and would land a private landlord with a fine, unless they had a valid exemption.

Paul Whittingham, the council’s head of housing, told councillors at a recent meeting that all the homes in question were already fitted with double glazing and top-grade boilers.

He said the houses might need fully replacing to give them the drastic energy efficiency improvements required. “They are at the end of their life, so for some this is a replacement programme,” added Whittingham.

The district council says the average cost per property to get them to an energy efficiency rating of C is £15,000.

3 COMMENTS

  1. How many council property leaseholders who sub-let to the Private Rental Sector will be subjected to possible fines whilst being unable to implement remedies because the council have the responsibility? E.g. top floor leaseholders do not own the loft space so cannot lay better insulation.

  2. It appears that this blinkered attitude of Local Authorities is a recurring pattern with a range of housing issues. But then, as one councillor once said when claiming they could enter my (private, not rented) home at anytime, ‘we are the council, we can do what we like’, things will never change until they are properly regulated. Has anyone ever had any success with the Local Government Ombudsman? It seems that the only way they can ever be challenged is to be prepared finacially and emotionally to go through the lengthy court system process and hope for a fair hearing without forking out tens of thousands of pounds at the Court of Appeal.

  3. And in that penultimate paragraph, the council’s head of housing is basically admitting that for many houses it’s just not worth the investment to upgrade them – in other words, just pull them down and rebuild to better standards. So us PRS landlords will be expected to make unjustifiable investments in properties that aren’t worth it.

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