ACE Research Director, Kelly Greer, reflects on what the publication of the Clean Growth Strategy means for MEES in the Private Rented Sector and introduces ‘the Warm Arm of the Law’. We are looking for evidence and support for this work, which examines proactive and strategic enforcement of minimum standards in the PRS.
Clean Growth Strategy
Soon after my last blog about Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES), the Government published the Clean Growth Strategy. Improving energy efficiency in the private rented sector makes a couple of appearances in the strategy.
The Government have committed to consult on how to make the MEES regulations more effective. However, we don’t yet know what this means…The introduction of a cost cap? Reducing the timescales associated with exemptions to enable landlords to take advantage of new sources of funding and finance? Providing guidance to landlords, local authorities and First Tier Tribunals around the validity of self-certified statements within the exemptions register?
There was also a commitment to look at a long-term trajectory for energy performance standards across the private rented sector, with the aim of as many private rented homes as possible being upgraded to EPC Band C by 2030, where practical, cost-effective and affordable. ACE welcomes this long-term trajectory as the message to landlords should be to take greater action now – beyond EPC band E – so that they benefit from not having to undertake additional works in the future.
The Government have noted that they will be considering options ‘with a view to consulting in 2018’. We will of course respond to these consultations once published.
Alongside the Clean Growth Strategy, a series of consultations and calls for evidence were published. Building a market for energy efficiency is seeking data, evidence and ideas on additional measures to encourage energy performance improvements and, while focussed primarily on the owner-occupied sector, some of the solutions identified may also be applicable to the private rented sector. ACE will be responding to this consultation and would welcome your views on the applicability of proposals to the private rented sector.
The Warm Arm of the Law: reducing fuel poverty in the private rented sector
ACE, working in partnership with CAG Consultants, has secured funding from Ebico Trust to look at how the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) and MEES can be proactively and strategically enforced to support the eradication of fuel poverty in England and Wales. This project builds on previous research focused on HHSRS (*) and has support from a range of stakeholder organisations.
ACE and CAG would welcome local government practitioner views, as well as those from the wider industry, and are seeking evidence of best practice in terms of:
- Raising awareness of minimum standards within local government departments.
- Working with landlords and residents about their requirements and rights.
- How to target enforcement action and ensuring resource levels within local government are maintained.
- Examples of successful enforcement cases.
Please contact Kelly Greer to share any information that could feed into the project (information will be kept confidential where requested).
(*) Impetus Consulting Ltd, 2008, Tackling fuel poverty using the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS); NEA, Impetus Consulting Ltd and Blooming Green, 2011, HHSRS: your power to warm homes in the private rented sector (policy report and toolkit)