Terraced housing

Drive to get landlords to improve energy efficiency of homes

A campaign is under way in Liverpool to get private landlords to meet new energy efficiency standards for houses by tackling issues such as damp and excess cold.

Privately rented properties must now have a minimum energy performance certificate rating (EPC) of E, or they could be liable for prosecution under the new Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES).

Liverpool has a lot of aging housing stock with poor heating, insulation and issues such as badly fitting doors and windows.

As well as being costly to run, many are occupied by vulnerable, low income families, and the condition of their home has an additional adverse effect on their health.

Now, Liverpool City Council has been awarded £70k by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) through the Midlands Energy Hub to target properties with ratings of F and G.

A total of 460 properties have been identified for action which will involve reminding owners and tenants about the minimum standards and what action must be taken.

Initial efforts will focus on engaging proactively with landlords and agents who will also be signposted towards funding such as the Green Homes Grant to help them pay for improvements.

If they don’t take steps to improve the rating, they could face enforcement action, including the risk of fines or prosecution.

The campaign – which runs until next March – is a collaboration between the council’s Private Sector Housing and Healthy Homes teams.

Councillor 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.

“The funding we have received from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy through the Midlands Energy Hub will enable us to identify and target those properties in the worst condition.

“It comes at a critical time and could make a 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 benefit for the landlord is that their property becomes more marketable and attractive to tenants.

“Reducing carbon emissions is a priority for the city and every property that is more energy efficient is helping us meet our goal of helping tackle the climate emergency.”

Michael Gallagher, Head of Midlands Energy Hub said: “Midlands Energy Hub are delighted to be supporting Liverpool City Council with the PRS Enforcement Competition, funded by BEIS.

“This competition looks to assist 59 local authorities across England and Wales with implementing and enforcing the requirements of the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) Regulations.

“Through improving the quality of housing stock, the whole project looks to target over 95,000 of the worst-performing private rented homes with the ultimate aim of tackling fuel poverty and reducing carbon emissions produced by the domestic housing sector.”

Further information is available at www.liverpool.gov.uk/mees and the project team can be emailed at MEES@liverpool.gov.uk

Liverpool Waterfront