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Another council pushing landlords over energy efficiency

A council in a largely-rural area of Suffolk is the latest to have won additional funding to push landlords into making their properties increasingly energy-efficient.

Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Council is one of a number in the county to have secured a total of £248,282 in funding from the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy.

The council says 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.”


Councillor Andy Drummond says: “[The money] will develop our existing work of targeting landlords who do not care that their properties are cold and damp. This makes for unpleasant and unhealthy conditions for their tenants.

“The project’s messages will focus on the law, the climate emergency and the help available to improve poor performing properties. Our councils will continue to work closely together, combining education with enforcement, appropriately and consistently. 

“Where enforcement is necessary and leads to fines, they will be pooled to continue the project work after March 2022.”


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 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.

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    Until the EPC assessments are consistent landlords have no way of knowing what's best to do to improve their properties.
    Now most properties are on their second EPC the inconsistencies are very apparent. The first EPCs over 10 years ago made a list of recommendations to improve the EPC score. In a great many cases even if all those improvements have been carried out the EPC will still be several points lower than promised.

    Too many assumptions have been made. The original EPCs tended to assume insulation existed if the heating bills and general condition of the property indicated it probably did. The more recent assessments tend to assume it doesn't exist unless there is documentary or photographic evidence of it's existence. As much of it was installed several years before EPCs were invented by companies that no longer exist how are we supposed to provide the required evidence? Cutting inspection holes may be an option in some buildings but in others would be problematic especially if there is a suspicion asbestos may be present. It could also damage the performance of the insulation or the roof.

    The list of recommendations is often incomplete and totally bizarre. Several of mine recommend solid floor installation at a cost of £4000 to £6000 to increase the EPC by 1 point. They eventually get to solar photovoltaics at a cost of about £5000 which would increase the EPC by about 10 points. None of them suggest more loft insulation (even if they've said it only has 75mm) or installing a warm roof (when they've assumed the existing flat roof is uninsulated).

    We need a full menu of all options with exactly how many points each option is worth. Some of the recommended improvements can only be done if we evict our tenants, others cause minimal inconvenience such as a new roof or solar panels.
    We also need it to be illegal for assessors to change previously made assumptions without absolute proof that those assumptions were wrong. It shouldn't be down to us to spend thousands of pounds and potentially damage our properties to prove exactly how many millimetres of roof insulation exists just because the assessors have changed their minds.

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    A lot of the governments policies seem to be based on witchcraft and wishfull thinking.


    .....And plain unthought out stupidly

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    The Govt knows that the EPC is a crude measure and it is based on cost. It was never meant to be used as it is now and some of the measures recommended increase the carbon emission. EIR is a better measure to work with to achieve net zero because it is based on the carbon emissions and we will eventually switch to using this I believe.

    So .....if you spend all your money trying to achieve EPC C by 2028 you may find by 2030 that you no longer hit the Govt's target because although your property is cheap to heat it is emitting carbon! Bye bye gas!

    It is a moving target, that is not clear or consistent and I will not be wasting my money trying to hit it.


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