Landlords are very unlikely to face prosecution for leaving tenants in cold and draughty homes, according to new research into energy efficiency regulations designed to protect renters across England and Wales.

Fewer than 6% of councils have taken any enforcement action against landlords illegally letting out properties with the lowest energy efficiency ratings, data obtained by the i newspaper reveals. But councils in England and Wales are set to receive a toolkit to help them enforce the regulations next year.

In April 2018, the Government introduced the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES), barring landlords from starting new tenancies for properties with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) of F or G, the lowest gradings.

In April 2020, this was extended to cover all tenancies and should mean that 290,000 rented homes – almost half of which house tenants living in fuel poverty – should receive improvements.

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The Government estimates it will cost about £1,200-£2,000 to bring an F or G rated property up to standard, and landlords can claim an exemption if costs exceed £3,500.

Flouting rules

But there are fears that thousands are flouting the rules and going unpunished; of the 268 authorities which responded to a Freedom of Information request from i asking for details of MEES enforcement, just 17 had taken any action. Since 2018, 449 compliance notices and just 17 fines totalling £65,600 have been issued for breaches of MEES.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has been working with seven councils to test bottom-up, local authority-generated solutions to monitoring, compliance, and enforcement of the regulations.

A spokesman tells LandlordZONE that this helped develop a best practice enforcement toolkit of case studies, templates, and off-the-shelf tools to help streamline the process and make it less resource intensive.

He says: “We’re now conducting a second round of pilots to road-test and refine it with a new, wider pool of English and Welsh local authorities before we publish the final toolkit to all local authorities in England and Wales in 2021.”

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Epc are so unreliable and inaccurate they are virtually useless I have 10 properties and for fun`we have two epics on 5 and they varied on one property from e to b on same day they missed pvs or d/g didn’t understand wall insulation misjudged floor insulation .. ok one out it more correct when I pointed errors out

    Of the lotI’d say one was accurate the rest a guess how do I know – I used to train energy assessors – it’s a waste of time and even if they were accurate no one pays any attention just as well no one is enforcing ‘Compliance’ ha ha

  2. I totally agree that EPCs are definitely unreliable. The assessors make differing assumptions when conducting surveys. Especially, with DEA survey fees being as low as £30 – £35 per Domestic EPC there is no incentive for the DEAs to spend time producing accurate and reliable EPCs. I know of a number of properties where two assessors have come up with widely differing EPC ratings. And because there is no policing, DEAs can get away with producing inaccurate EPCs

  3. There are good and bad DEA’s!!!
    You need to look for an experienced one. I have been one for over 5 years and sometimes when I look at some EPCs when I am doing a new one, I am horrified at the inaccuracies of certain Certificates.
    Hope you won’t think that we are all bad!!

  4. The problem us that unless you have the relevant EPC status or have achieved exemption you CANNOT legally let a property.

    So whilst the EPC system might be a complete joke it is still something LL need to comply with if they intend to continue letting their properties.
    There will be much gaming of the system.

    Try and achieve B status.

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