Shropshire Star

Shropshire Council clampdown on inefficient rental homes as it receives £11 million funding boost

Landlords in Shropshire face a fine of up to £5,000 as part of a clampdown to improve the energy efficiency of the worst-performing privately rented homes in the county.

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concept image of an appliance energy efficience rating label and a pile of uk money.

Shropshire Council says that from April 1, it becomes an offence for landlords of any domestic private rented property to grant a new tenancy or continue to let an existing one with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating below E, unless given valid exemption on the Government’s Private Rented Sector Exemptions Register.

As the council is responsible for enforcing compliance of the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) Regulations, the authority is now actively investigating any potential breaches and is contacting landlords who have properties that do not meet the minimum standards.

Landlords that fail to bring their properties up to scratch face enforcement action that could land them a financial penalty of up to £5,000.

Dean Carroll, Shropshire Council’s cabinet member for growth, regeneration and housing, said: “Improving energy efficiency in any property – rented or otherwise – is more important than ever, as we all face higher utility bills.

"Reducing heat loss through better insulation and installing more energy efficient and low carbon heating and lighting will not only help to significantly reduce energy bills, but will also reduce carbon emissions, which is vitally important if we are to mitigate the effects of climate change.

“We know most landlords are responsible and are willing to comply with their obligations to ensure tenants have warm homes that are not cold and damp, which will help to improve their health and wellbeing; but we will not hesitate to take action against those landlords who breach the rules.

“Those in breach of the regulations can face a fine of up to £5,000, and I would encourage landlords to ensure their properties comply under the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards legislation to avoid formal action and a potential fine.”

The clampdown comes as the Government announced a further £2.5 billion package to boost the efficiency of heating systems across low-income households this week that should cut household bills by up to £400.

The Government-backed Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund and Home Upgrade Grant commits £1.4 billion of funding, matched by an additional £1.1 billion from social housing landlords and charities. The Government says the package should improve domestic heating systems in 115,000 homes and support 20,000 jobs around the country.

The Home Upgrade Grant is supporting over 25,000 low-income homes across England by installing energy-efficiency measures and low-carbon heating. Shropshire Council is set to receive £11 million from this grant fund.

South Shropshire's principal social housing provider, Connexus, has also been awarded £1.6 million from the Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund, while Harper Adams University will receive over £700,000 from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme.

Welcoming the cash injection for energy efficient homes in the county, MP Philip Dunne said: "Not only do energy-inefficient buildings contribute hugely to the nation's greenhouse gas emissions by leaking energy to the atmosphere, but they also leak cash through expensive energy bills.

"The Government has a role to play in helping households get energy efficiency under control at a time of high cost of energy bills

"So I welcome the Government’s announcement this week that more than 100,000 homes in England will be helped to make improvements. Many of these are homes to low-income households who need the support the most."

The MP for Ludlow, Bridgnorth and south Shropshire added: "I am particularly pleased that Shropshire Council is set to receive over £11 million to help improve the energy efficiency of homes through the Home Upgrade Scheme and our main Housing Association in South Shropshire, Connexus, will receive £1.6m through the Social Housing decarbonisation fund.

"This funding will increase the efficiency of heating systems and vitally cut costs for hundreds of Shropshire families for the long term.”