Clampdown on landlords with funding boost for Suffolk councils
Families living in privately rented cold and draughty properties in Suffolk can look forward warmer homes in future thanks to a new campaign to clamp down on landlords.
Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils are amongst the Suffolk councils to have secured a total of £248,282 in funding from the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to deliver the project by March 2022.
Since April last year privately rented homes must meet a minimum energy performance rating of Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) Band E, making it illegal to rent out homes below that unless landlords have a limited exemption. Landlords caught failing to fulfil their obligations can be fined of up to £5,000 per property and per breach.
Badly insulated properties often leave those renting their homes struggling to keep warm and with higher energy bills. The rule change is expected to see energy efficiency upgrades such as loft insulation, double glazing and cavity wall insulation being installed by landlords in around 290,000 properties - with an estimated average bill saving of £180 a year for each home. This move forms part of the government’s actions to protect consumers, particularly those on lower incomes, as we manage the impact of global gas price rises.
The £4.3 million of extra funding from the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to councils across the country is designed to support them make an extra 100,000 engagements with the most difficult to reach landlords with the worst performing properties. Councils were invited to bid as part of the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) competition with 117 local authorities entering and 59 of them successfully securing funding.
The money will support innovative measures including local radio ads, roadshows and workshops with landlords to raise awareness of the rules, free property surveys, as well as enhanced and targeted mail reminders and translation services to reach those not currently complying.
Councillor Andy Drummond, chair of the Suffolk Environment Cabinet Members group, said:
“I’m delighted we have been awarded this funding, it will develop our existing work of targeting landlords who do not care that their properties are cold and damp. This makes for unpleasant and unhealthy conditions for their tenants.
“The project’s messages will focus on the law, the climate emergency and the help available to improve poor performing properties. Our councils will continue to work closely together, combining education with enforcement, appropriately and consistently. Where enforcement is necessary and leads to fines, they will be pooled to continue the project work after March 2022.”