Since April last year, privately rented homes must meet a minimum energy performance rating of Energy Performance Certificate Band E, making it illegal to rent out homes below that standard unless landlords have submitted a valid exemption.
Following a successful joint bid for funding, Arun District Council and Chichester District Council were awarded £76,057 from the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) via Midlands Energy Hub (MEH) to tackle the least energy efficient privately rented properties in the districts.
A project team has been appointed to contact landlords of properties that don’t meet the requirements of the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) regulations to remind them of their responsibilities. Officers will have the power to issue fines of up to £5,000 per property to landlords who fail to fulfil their obligations despite being offered support.
David Edwards, chair of the environment committee at Arun District Council, said: “We’re pleased to have been awarded this joint funding which will help us to proactively engage with private landlords to improve poor energy performance in their housing stock.
“This will make a real difference to our residents, some of whom have endured living in very cold and draughty homes for quite some time.
“Working together, we can improve standards in the private rented sector and reduce carbon emissions produced when heating homes that are not energy efficient.”
Through improving the quality of housing stock across both districts, the project looks to target the worst-performing private rented homes with the aim of tackling fuel poverty and reducing carbon emissions produced by the domestic housing sector.
Councillor Alan Sutton, cabinet member for housing, communications, licensing and events at Chichester District Council, said: “As a council, we are working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in our district in a number of ways.
“Improving energy efficiency of homes in the district is a key priority and we are working with both homeowners and landlords to achieve this.
“Recent statistics show that levels of fuel poverty are highest in the private rented sector, and this sector has the largest proportion of the most energy inefficient F and G rated properties.
“This project looks to reduce energy bills for tenants and benefit landlords with lower on-going maintenance costs, higher tenant satisfaction and a more desirable property.”
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.”