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Shock figures show over 100,000 homes let illegally

PropTech firm Kamma says well over 100,000 private rental homes across the UK are being let illegally because they already fail to meet EPC requirements. 

Geospatial technology firm Kamma claims a total of 106,337 private rental properties are currently under minimum standards.

Kamma is also critical of a recent government initiative to give funding to 59 councils to help improve standards - ignoring, the firm says, 281 other councils that collectively account for 78 per cent, or 83,208, non-compliant properties.


Kamma says the councils that did get the funding contain just 23,129 non-compliant properties.

The PropTech firm’s chief executive Orla Shields says: “With inefficient properties identified as a major driver of UK emissions it’s vital that local authorities work with the private rental sector to find cost effective ways to reduce the carbon footprint of all illegally let rental properties. 

“This will be all the more important if the proposed increase in Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards does go ahead and increase to grade C.”

Shields also questions the effective use of public funds. 

She says the recent government announcement of £5,000 grants for heat pumps may be a huge step forward for the UK built environment “but at an average cost of around £10,000, and an average reduction in annual carbon emissions of around 2.6 tonnes per property, the cost to reduce emissions by a single tonne is £3,846. Ensuring that landlords meet existing laws is a much more cost effective approach.”

She continues: “If the identified properties in just these 59 councils improved to just the minimum standard we’d reduce our carbon footprint by around 32,150 tonnes. At a total cost of £4.3m this delivers a cost per tonne reduction of under £134, a far more effective use of funds than heat pump subsidies. The de-carbonisation of heating is a vitally important step towards Net Zero, but it’s not the only one we need to take. The government should take another look at the high impact, low cost opportunity to enforce its own laws.”

Top 5 local authorities by number of non-compliant PRS properties:

  1. Cornwall (funded in the new government scheme) 3,693 properties

  2. Birmingham (not funded) 2,119 properties

  3. Liverpool (funded) 1,803 properties

  4. Northumberland (not funded) 1,505 properties

  5. Shropshire (not funded) 1,423 properties

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    Why is it so difficult for LAs to cross reference the EPC register with other information they hold to work out who is non-compliant?

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    Surely the alternative is 100000 more homeless and I don't think cardboard boxes are better insulated than "illegally" let properties.

    Ask these renters what they would prefer.

    There are millions more poorly insulated owner occupied properties which get ignored as they represent millions more voters

    Government and Councils need to get their priorities right!

  • icon

    Until there is consistency in the EPC assessments it's all meaningless.

    I bought a renovation project a couple of years ago with an EPC of F25. I got my regular assessor to come round to advise on how best to improve the EPC and he started by carrying out his own assessment which came out to be G14. How is it even possible for the result to be so different?

    One of my HMOs was assessed in 2008 and deemed to be D57. The recommendations said if I installed cavity wall insulation, better heating controls and a new boiler it would be C70.
    I applied for subsidised cavity wall insulation in 2015. To get the subsidy they started by doing a new EPC which came out at E47. Again how is it possible for two assessors to disagree so much?The recommendations said to get to C71 I would need cavity wall insulation, insulation for the solid ground floor, a new boiler, solar water heating and solar photovoltaic panels. I have no idea how that property scores right now as it seems to be a complete waste of money paying for such inconsistent flawed assessments. To do the floor insulation would probably mean evicting or temporarily rehousing 6 tenants. I had it assessed for solar and was told the roof was too small, over shadowed and oriented the wrong way. It is still on the register as E47. However, since 2008 it has had cavity wall insulation, a new roof with up to date levels of insulation, a new boiler and new heating controls.
    Around the country there must be tens of thousands of properties that have had loads of improvements since the last EPC assessment was carried out but haven't had a new assessment done yet. Who is going to shell out another £50+ for a bit of paper saying they have done enough of the recommendations on their EPC when there is a risk a new assessment will knock a few more points off the score and recommend even more outlandish work is carried out?

    Matthew Payne

    If you look at the criteria assessors follow it's shocking. For example, if you have any brand of storage heater other than Dimplex, you get hammered on the score, almost as if you didnt have any heating at all. Nice little back street deal done by government and Dimplex, and I thought monopolies werent allowed...

  • Matthew Payne

    It will be a lot more than 100,000, but then there is no joined up policing of any statute making properties eligible to let, except for diligent and compliant lettings agents and those landlords that do take their responsibilities seriously, whether they agree with them or not.

    I reckon there are a couple of million properties at least that don't have an EICR yet. Most sparkys tell me they have done relatively few in the last couple of years, no mad rush that you would have expected as the deadlines came and went, a great many are simply ignoring the legislation. Until we have a digital register for each property with its own log book, loopholes or a known lack of regulation at the coal face will continue to be exploited. This is then what adds the fuel to the fire calling for more regulation, licensing, general landlord bashing. Every compliant landlord should make it their business to convert a non-compliant one.


    Or report a non compliant one?

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    'Diligent and compliant lettings agents'

    I put this into google translate and had no results. What is this language you speak of.

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    Unfortunately I see this as a wannabee politician making a name for herself. A lot od this climate cahnge stuff is unsubstaniated often as a "well known fact."
    It seems that these 20k * illegal immigrants who have invaded this country this year dont add to the carbon total.

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    Jo you are so right but it gets far worse. I operate over 100 hmo's Where I pay the bills and the EPC rating bears no relationship to the amount of energy used. I agree not only meaningless but pointless
    Jim Haliburton
    The HMO Daddy

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    I agree on EPCs. One of my properties was built in the 1860s so it's a single-skin brick wall. There's a small extension at the back which is double-skinned and this has cavity wall insulation which you can see from the plug holes in the walls. Yet when I've had the EPC done they insist I need to get cavity wall insulation. The assessor doesn't seem to understand the new part is insulated and they can see that, but there's no way I can put cavity wall insulation in a single-skin brick wall - it just falls on deaf ears. I've also had the same issue with solar panels - I had looked into that years ago but the house faces the wrong way and isn't suitable, but they still insist it's the only way to get it up to a 'C'.

    Without getting consistent advice and common-sense there's no way we'll ever get EPC certificates that really reflect the energy performance of a house.

  • George Dawes

    Tricia , that would require the jobsworths at the council to actually do some real work , never gonna happen !

  • Philip Drake

    Couldn’t gas and electricity energy bills be used:
    Energy Consumed per Square Metre per person =(Gas + Electric)KWH/Building Area/Occupants

    Clearly Oil and LPG would need the equivalent.

    Then apply a grant to the properties with the highest Energy Consumption irrespective of being owner occupied or tenanted.

    The energy consumer’s new electric/gas bill receives, say 20%, of the savings obtained. The other 80% of the savings obtained goes towards topping up the grant fund to be applied to the subsequent energy improvements in other properties.

    That way the biggest inroads into the COP26 issue is obtained soonest and it’s a rolling program until the money runs out. However the biggest cost savings occur at the outset.
    Add to this the beneficial effect on the health of the occupiers would also reduce the funding need of the NHS.


    cop26=a nonsense

    Philip Drake

    Irrespective of whether COP26 is effective, there is going to be money available to address energy waste.
    We cannot rely on EPCs for the reasons given above.

    I’m suggesting that utility bills may be a better source of the energy usage data.

  • Philip Drake

    The above energy consumption review could also tease out other high energy usage buildings or very very low usage buildings (nudge, nudge) which could point to other illegal usages.


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