Only 12% of councils are enforcing Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rules requiring private landlords to raise standards at their F and G-rated properties.
Freedom of Information requests by Generation Rent revealed that just 13 out of 101 councils had issued enforcement notices following MEES enforcement work in 2020-21, a total of 359. Barnsley Council issued the most notices with 181, followed by Bristol (35) and Thanet (30).
LandlordZONE has previously reported that some landlords who can’t or won’t spend on retrofitting are capitalising on the lax way property listings are regulated by using gaps in EPC and other regulatory systems to make their properties appear legitimate online – simply by declaring that they hold a valid EPC instead of providing physical copies.
Growing financial pressures, particularly the unequal burden of retrofitting in parts of the UK, could also be adding to some landlords’ reluctance to spend money.
A recent report by think-tank Localis reported that in areas of the North and Midlands, the estimated costs of improving home energy can be about 25% of property values, while in affluent parts of London and the South East retrofitting with heat pumps represents less than 2% of overall property value.
Generation Rent analysed EPC data to assess the scale of the problem in each region in England. It says 201,000 private rented homes are classed as F on their EPCs and 62,000 are classed as G, out of a total of 4,265,000, which by law now need to be raised to at least a D rating.
The pressure group has called on councils to commit to using publicly accessible data on EPCs to identify tenants in cold homes and all their enforcement powers, including improvement notices, to protect them.
Director Alicia Kennedy (pictured) adds: “The government needs to act much faster to ensure that private landlords insulate their properties, including by reforming tenancies to give tenants more confidence to exercise their rights.”
Only 12% of councils enforcing EPC certificates for private rented sector properties is written by Nigel Lewis for www.landlordzone.co.uk