City council has been given enforcement powers to fine landlords up to £200 for non-compliance with EPC regulations.
The department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has confirmed to LandlordZONE that Oxford has become the first city council to take up direct powers to enforce Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) for private rented properties.
The dreaming spires city was one of six local authorities to each be given £150,000 to improve energy efficiency within the private rented sector by the department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
It has been the law since April 2018 that properties must attain a minimum EPC ‘E’ rating before they can be rented out privately but overstretched county councils have been struggling to enforce the rules.
In a taste of what is to come nationally, Oxford City Council has taken on direct powers to improve the energy efficiency standards of commercial and private rented properties across Oxford.
Under the MEES law, it is an offence to let a property with an EPC of F or G.
Like many councils, Oxford City Council has been enforcing MEES compliance through inspections of private rented housing and its HMO licensing scheme.
Since the pilot started in April 2019, 156 cases have been investigated and 41 property inspections have been made by the City Council with seven enforcement notices being served.
At the moment only 12,079 of Oxford’s roughly 20,000 privately rented homes have EPCs – meaning the landlords of about 40% of the city’s privately rented homes are breaking the law.
The new powers enable the City Council to issue fines of £200 for landlords who do not have an EPC on a private rented home in Oxford. “These powers will allow us to ensure an efficient and more streamlined approach the enforcement for non-compliant properties, and help us to further tackle fuel poverty in our city,” says Councillor Linda Smith, Cabinet Member for Leisure and Housing