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EPCs - Battling Baroness slams landlords, councils and government

The latest attack on landlords by Generation Rent director Baroness Alicia Kennedy concerns insulation and household warmth.

She claims a quarter of a million landlords are letting families live in homes “that are so expensive to heat they are illegal to let out,”

The Baroness claims tenants in these properties spend £321m more on energy bills this year than they would if their homes met what she calls “basic standards.”

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South West England is where she claims private renters are most likely to live in a home that fails Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards – nine percent of households, compared with six percent in England as a whole.

The former Labour peer also attacks councils over enforcement, claiming just one in eight local authorities enforce MEES.

The Baroness and her Generation Rent group want councils to identify local private rented homes that fail these standards, and take action to bring them up to standard while giving tenants protection from eviction and a chance to claim back rent.

Generation Rent says it has analysed EPC data to assess the scale of the problem in each region in England. A total of 201,000 homes recorded as private rented are classed as F on their EPCs and 62,000 are classed as G, out of a total of 4,265,000 with an EPC.

Recent research by property consultancy JLL found that following the increase in the energy price cap, the average energy bill for a Band G property is now £4,950 per year and £3,587 for a Band F home.

For a home at the legal minimum of Band E, the average bill is £2,687. Upgrading a Band F home to the legal minimum would therefore save the average tenant £900 per year and upgrading a Band G home is worth £2,263.

Private renters in London are least likely to be in what Baroness Kennedy calls “an illegal home” with 3.3 per cent failing standards, followed by the North East with 4.0 per cent.

Generation Rent made Freedom of Information requests to councils accounting for two thirds of England’s private renter population.

Of the 101 councils that provided information about their MEES enforcement work in 2020-21, just 13 issued enforcement notices, a total of 359. Barnsley Council issued the most notices, with 181, followed by Bristol with 35 and Thanet with 30.

Generation Rent is calling on councils to commit to using publicly accessible data on EPCs to identify tenants in cold homes and all their enforcement powers, including improvement notices, to protect them.

 

The Baroness herself says: “A quarter of a million households are in homes too cold to be legal and with energy bills through the roof, they are paying hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds more than they should as a result.

“People will miss meals, get ill, and fall into arrears as a result of their landlord’s negligence.

“Councils have the data and the powers they need to protect the most vulnerable tenants – but at the moment most are not using them.

“The government needs to act much faster to ensure that private landlords insulate their properties, including by reforming tenancies to give tenants more confidence to exercise their rights.”

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  • George Dawes

    Baroness = real woman of the people

    ..reminds me of Sir Keir Starmer QC

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    According to our analysis, Wikipedia, Forbes & Business Insider, Alicia Kennedy, Baroness Kennedy of Cradley net worth is approximately $1.5 Million (£1,202,175).
    Like Starmer, another champagne socialist.

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    Alicia is no doubt on a good salary too at her ‘charity’. Like Polly Bleate of Shelter on over £120k. Why don’t they take a pay cut or work for free and use that money to help ‘generation rent’?

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    Never mentions the elderly or mortgage payers struggling. When she’s talked away all the landlords and generation bent goes bust any other charity ( business) that will pay enough ( only six figures need apply) can have this windbag do the same for them.

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    Clearly a person not living in the real world, generically targeting landlords as one, whilst at the same time not looking for a route to help us resolve these issues in an economical manner that does not result in a high proportion of landlords having to sell their properties.

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    Another communist front. She gets paid to go to the house of lords. I would be keen to analyse their statistics. Anyway, l thought that the south west was all air bnb !

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    Just another rant by an out of touch Champagne socialist, the more they rage and push their mad agenda, the more landlords will sell up…. That will help !!

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    If an EPC has an F rating then the property should not even be rented to tenants and action should indeed be taken against relevant landlords and agents. But have her remarks been Fact Checked?

    I have been looking for properties to buy and where insulation is apparently needed, the cost has been in the range of £2k-£5k for an annual saving of maybe a few hundred pounds. By my calculations, it can take anywhere up to 30 years (assuming no change in costs) to break even. And some of the EPCs I have seen make "assumptions" about the insulation or "lack" thereof. The EPCs are utter BS.

    Daniela Provvedi

    Exactly Simon, properties with an F EPC should not be allowed to be rented out.
    Why doesn't the Council go straight to that property and close it down, or give the LL a month (for example) to bring it up to date?
    I think it's because this BS is not true!

     
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    How much did all these FOI requests cost the taxpayer?

    They should only be allowed on a limited basis for those directly affected and not by rabble rousers or the press just out for their own interests.

  • girish mehta

    She picks any media stories. Adapts to her propaganda. She will cheer anyone by or any media just to be on media lime light. The housing issues are due to failed government policies for decades. Land listed are upgrading run down uninhabitable properties and making fit for families to B live in. When the government and councils have sold and not invested in housing. Standards in social housing are worst than private housing . She keeps on picking and choosing media propaganda to justify her salary whilst making no meaning contributions to addressing housing issues,

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    How many people are living in cold damp council and housing assoc properties where there is no EPC or MEES report, or come to that even owner occupiers ?

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    EPCs are only very loosely connected to the cost of heating a property. Far more of it is related to the occupiers engagement with and understanding of whatever system they have. EPC scores vary wildly with assessors showing little consistency even on straightforward properties. Once mixed construction and mixed heating sources are present the EPC score is just a number with approximately no correlation to energy bills. How many of these properties with F and G EPCs are old stone houses with an open fireplace or woodburner in the lounge, an old night storage heater (which the EPC would class as the primary heat source) and timed electric heaters in the bedrooms? That mix gives a terrible EPC score but used properly could be cheaper than gas central heating to use (especially if someone has a supply of free or cheap wood). Why aren't gas and electric bills or meter readings used as part of the EPC assessment? How many of the 263000 rental properties with F and G EPCs already have insulation but because the assessor didn't know exactly what thickness just put 'assumed none'? How many of them are below average rent, which would help offset any extra energy costs?

    There was an awful lot of averaging and assumptions in her attack but no indication of the actual reality.
    A more interesting study would be into how properties with F and G EPCs rank in overall living costs. Combining rent, utility bills and transport costs. How much difference would there be in the cost of renting and living in an old house in a town centre close to work and shops compared to the same size new build on a new development on the edge of town with a district heating system?

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    I have an F rated property which has an exemption, the 2 guys in there are happy enough, their rent is low, it works for them and for me, but what happens come 2028 ? will I be paying out £10k + or will I be selling it ? either way they will be out, because if I spend the money they won't be able to pay the new rent

     
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    I have a house that was a C but now a D because a renewal Certificate was required after 10 years. However the Tenant made such a song & dance about access when it could be done. I was not present and she followed the Accessor around even poking her head into the loft (she was dodgy on the ladder to) anyway a major item was missed the interior of all external walls are lined with Insulated plaster board and skimmed,

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    It's a widespread problem. Insulation is mainly hidden (apart from loft insulation).
    Building control certificates may mention the job has been done to the standard in whichever year but doesn't mention exactly what type or thickness of insulation was used. Contractors invoices often don't specify the exact thickness of insulation. Even if you buy the insulation yourself and have receipts stating exactly what it is the assessor will say he can't be certain it was used at that address. Photos of it being installed are sometimes accepted if there is a view from the window in the photo or if it's a flat roof of neighbouring properties and there is a tape measure held against the insulation. Even then the assessor will often put 'assumed none' as he isn't 100% convinced it's sufficient proof to satisfy an audit.
    We don't even have the option of drilling a core sample without ruining the integrity of the insulation.
    So tens or hundreds of thousands of houses are insulated but don't have EPCs that reflect it.

     
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    This is the next problem, if we do the work we won't be believed, so what's the point in doing the work at all.

     
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    Andrew Townsend - That is the real issue with those that will be below a C rating, if it’s best to sell…. The tenant is out, if you renovated it then to get the ROI the rent will go up… a lot, the tenant is out..
    It’s like watching a slow motion car crash.

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    James Turner - liveable … really ? My properties are far more than that but they are still below a C, so I will have to spend a fortune to put them to a C when the local authorities and HA do not have to play by the same rules…. No thanks, I will sell up and live the good life., my then previous tenants will of course be heading down a different path. I don’t want to do this, and I know my long term tenants do not wish to leave, but I do not have charity status.

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    • 04 May 2022 13:57 PM

    Baroness khunt should start paying taxes and stop harassing landlords.

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    James. We at not complaining about about making homes liveable ours always was. The gripe I have we do all the work and finance the whole operation. Then pay the Council’s the penalty for everything we did, like £1550. License Application fee just to sit there Judge & Jury.

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    James Turner, tell us about your self ?

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    Yes the true James would be very interesting , but we're not going to find that out are we ?

     
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