Many councils lack ability to enforce landlord energy requirements

The Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES), implemented in April 2018, were designed to target private rented sector (PRS) landlords whose properties had an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating below Band E. Failure to comply with MEES could result in fines of up to £4,000. However, enforcement of these regulations has been lacking, with many local authorities unable to effectively enforce them due to resource constraints.

One reason for the absence of enforcement is that local authorities are unable to retain any income generated from fines imposed for breaches of the minimum standards. This lack of financial incentive has hindered enforcement efforts. The mayor of London and housing spokespersons have raised concerns about the insufficient resources allocated for MEES enforcement.

The government has provided funding to support local authorities in implementing MEES, but pilot schemes and additional funding have had limited impact on enforcement. Many local authorities remain overstretched and lack the capacity to effectively enforce MEES regulations.

Despite the government’s spending on enforcement capacity and initiatives to improve energy efficiency in homes, such as providing funding for insulation and other measures, the scrapping of energy efficiency targets by Rishi Sunak in September last year has been criticized by the sector as a setback in the journey towards achieving net zero carbon emissions.

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