Residential landlords in Liverpool are being warned they face hefty fines as it is revealed poor energy efficiency in rented homes is adding to the fuel poverty crisis for many tenants. Tony McDonough reports
Landlords in Liverpool who refuse to ensure their properties are energy efficient are adding to the woes of tenants who are already facing sky-high fuel bills.
People across the UK are dreading fuel bills arriving in the spring with the cost of wholesale gas rising fast. And Liverpool City Council says hundreds of landlords across the city are making things worse by not ensuring homes are properly insulated.
Under the new Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES), landlords letting out a property must ensure that it has a minimum energy performance certificate (EPC) rating of E. In September, the city council identified 467 privately rented properties with a G rating and issued a letter about the need to comply.
The authority is running a campaign funded by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy through the Midlands Energy Hub to find properties with a rating of F and G, and support landlords to improve their properties.
Around 300 properties did not respond initially to the letters and subsequently received a reminder letter, which offered access to information and support and possible funding.
The owners of more than 100 homes have now been in touch, leaving around 200 outstanding. Failure to comply could see them hit with fines of up to £5,000.
The council recently ran a webinar to raise awareness of the regulations, attended by 55 landlords. Landlords who were unable to attend are able to watch the session back via a dedicated webpage, along with links to other information.
The powers around MEES will also feature within the revised Private Sector Housing Enforcement Policy and be part of regular checks undertaken as part of the new five-year Landlord Licensing scheme which will be introduced from April 2022.
Another webinar is planned for 27 January 2022 with a further update on the progress of the project and other useful information for landlords – to register email firstname.lastname@example.org or click here.
Cllr Sarah Doyle, Cabinet member for strategic housing and regeneration, said: “Too many of our residents live in poor standard accommodation and are paying over the odds for gas and electricity because their homes are so poorly insulated.
“We believe that many landlords are not aware of the new legislation or are choosing to ignore it so we need to take action. It could make a big difference to the lives of individuals and families who are facing rising fuel and energy costs.
“There is government funding available to help pay for improvements such as the installation of a new boiler and central heating system or better insulation. The landlord will be able to benefit from funding for these vital home improvements but more importantly, the quality of living conditions for tenants will improve.”