28 October 2021| | 5 min read
Newcastle secures funding for Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards
Families living in cold draughty rented properties in Newcastle can look forward to warmer homes thanks to a new campaign to help councils clamp down on landlords and improve energy efficiency in the city.
Families living in cold and draughty rented properties across 59 local authorities, including in Newcastle, can expect warmer homes thanks to a new campaign to help councils clamp down on errant landlords.
Since April last year privately rented homes must meet a minimum energy performance rating of 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 – 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.
Newcastle City Council received almost £100,000 from the £4.3 million Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) funding which is designed to help councils to engage with the most difficult to reach landlords with the worst performing properties.
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.
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.”
Councillor Linda Hobson, Cabinet Member for Housing and Regulatory Services at Newcastle City Council said “This money will help us identify homes with the poorest energy ratings in areas with the greatest levels of deprivation. We know that tenants in these areas are least likely to ask the landlord for a copy of their EPC or report problems. Without this funding we would struggle to reach these communities.
“We are offering landlords an enforcement amnesty and help with compliance during the amnesty as we know many aren’t aware of the regulations rather actively avoiding EPC requirements. The BEIS funding will help us to engage with private landlords and encourage them to work alongside us so they can access support and information while increasing enforcement action for landlords who refuse to engage with team.”
Minister of State for Energy and Clean Growth, Greg Hands, said: “Ensuring our buildings and homes are powered by clean energy is an essential step we need to take in order to meet our target of reaching net zero emissions by 2050.
“The UK government is stepping up to the challenge with a new Green Home Finance programme to help drive forward the development of cutting-edge green finance products and services for homeowners that will not only transform the nation’s green property landscape, but also help create more green jobs, as we build back greener.”
To find out more about Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards and the enforcement amnesty in Newcastle visit newcastle.gov.uk/MEES
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