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Few councils policing minimum EPC rules or issuing fines

epc mees

Minimum energy efficiency standards (MEES) are not being enforced by overstretched councils who cannot keep any income they make from fines imposed for breaches.

Private landlords’ properties must meet minimum energy efficiency standards and gain at least an E grade at the start of a new tenancy – or face a fine of up to £4,000.

But Simon Hartley, partner and London head of property litigation at law firm Weightmans, warns that councils are not enforcing these regulations.

“If retained, these funds would have been able to incentivise diverting funding to enforcement action,” he tells Inside Housing.

As LandlordZONE reported four years ago, the government has invested £6.3 million in pilot schemes to support 85 local authorities. This resulted in some appointing compliance officers to help landlords understand their responsibilities and advise them on funding, rather than investigating compliance and imposing fines, says the Local Government Association.

Changed little

Housing spokesperson Darren Rodwell (pictured) adds: “The pilots, however, changed very little and authorities have continued to do little, citing limited capacity and resources to enforce the rules. Local authorities remain too overstretched to take on this responsibility, leading to a lack of active MEES regulation across the country.”

The NRLA believes that with almost 170 laws already affecting the sector, the problem is not a lack of powers, but insufficient enforcement of them. “The government needs to provide councils with the long-term funding they need to find and root out the minority of landlords providing sub-standard housing,” policy director Chris Norris tells LandlordZONE.

“Ultimately however, this work needs to be funded via the fines imposed on those failing to do the right thing.”

The government insists it has spent more than £8 million on enforcement capacity after a further £2 million was allocated to an additional 25 local authorities in the 2022-23 financial year.


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