City Council to take on powers to improve energy efficiency

Nottingham City Council has been given funding to enforce energy efficiency standards in privately rented properties in the city.

This money will go towards enforcing the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) in homes, which will in-turn help to make sure homes are warmer, heated properly and have the right energy efficiency measures.

The Council has been awarded £95,000 from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) via Midland Energy Hub (MEH) to enforce MEES.

What are MEES?

Since 1 April 2020, the Government set Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) for all private rented housing.

It means that landlords can no longer let or continue to let properties covered by the MEES Regulations if they have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating below ‘E’, unless they have a valid exemption in place. This is part of the ongoing Government drive to improve EPC ratings to ‘D’ by 2025 and ‘C’ by 2030.

What are Energy Performance Certificates (EPC)?

An energy performance certificate (EPC) shows tenants how energy efficient the property is, with an EPC rating of ‘F’ or ‘G’ being the least energy efficient properties. An EPC is legally required where a property is being sold or let. An EPC must form part of the right to rent pack provided at the start of a new tenancy and landlords are legally required to ensure that an EPC is provided’

The Safer Housing Team at the Council already work to investigate and improve properties and reduce and remove excess cold hazards in rented homes, this can include taking action to get landlords to improve the heating and insulation of a property by installing central heating or double glazed windows. Now this funding will help create a new team who will be making sure that properties are meeting the national minimum energy efficient standards and that no rental property has an EPC below ‘E’.

70.9% of all properties in Nottingham have an EPC (March 2020). This is the highest proportion of all Core Cities. However, not all these may be up to MEES standard and could have a rating lower than E. The MEES team will be investigating these and carrying out enforcement on properties who do not have the legal EPC rating.

The team will also be checking that properties that are registered as exempt, are legitimate and landlords could receive a maximum Community Protection Notice (CPN) of £1,000 if they submitted false or misleading information to register an exemption.

The MEES team will be contacting landlords and agents about their legal obligation to comply with MEES and they will be offering support, advice and useful information on what landlords can do to make their homes more energy efficient and move them up to an E rating – if they currently have an EPC rating of ‘F’ or ‘G’.

There are third party funding schemes available for some eligible landlords to support them to carry out these improvement works and the Council’s MEES team can help by directing landlords to relevant organisations to check eligibility.

If landlords fail to engage or improve their properties, they could receive a financial penalty with a maximum fine of £5,000 and their name will be put on the register, advertising their non-compliance and the fact they have been fined.

Cllr Linda Woodings, Portfolio Holder for Planning, Housing and Heritage, said: “I am pleased we’ve been given this funding to further our work to improve the energy efficiency standards of private rented homes across Nottingham.

“This will help us to make a real difference to residents lives, some of whom live in very cold homes. This funding will support the enforcement of non-compliant properties, and help us to further tackle fuel poverty in our city.

“Effective enforcement of these regulations is already proven to help improve housing standards in other areas of the country and with better housing energy efficiency standards, we can ensure residents can live safe and healthy lives, in their warm homes.”

Michael Gallagher, Head of Midlands Energy Hub, said: “Midlands Energy Hub are delighted to be supporting Nottingham City Council with the PRS Enforcement Competition, funded by BEIS. This competition looks to assist 59 local authorities across England and Wales with implementing and enforcing the requirements of the Minimum Energy Efficiency (MEES) Regulations. Through improving the quality of housing stock, the whole project looks to target over 95,000 of the worst-performing private rented homes with the ultimate aim of tackling fuel poverty and reducing carbon emissions produced by the domestic housing sector.”

Business and Energy Minister, Lord Callanan, said: “This funding will help councils to support landlords with these important energy efficiency changes, but also enforce these standards, helping tackle fuel poverty and ensuring everyone can live in a warm home with fair energy bills.

“Heating our homes and buildings makes up almost a third of all carbon emissions, meaning raising the energy efficiency of our properties is something we all have to contribute to help us build back greener and reach our world leading climate ambitions.”

For further information on MEES please go to the Government website at Domestic private rented property: minimum energy efficiency standard – landlord guidance – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

You can contact the MEES team here on 0115 9152020 (and ask to speak with the MEES team) or at MEES@nottinghamcity.gov.uk

The Regulations apply to all domestic private rented properties let on one of the following tenancies;

  • an assured short hold tenancy
  • a regulated tenancy
  • a domestic agricultural tenancy

and where the property is legally required to have an EPC.

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