According to a recent report, East Suffolk Council has one of the best records in the country for tackling energy efficiency in private homes to help tackle fuel poverty and carbon emissions.
In April 2018, the Government introduced the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) to improve private rented housing, barring landlords from starting new tenancies for properties with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) of F or G – the lowest grading. In April 2020, this rule was expanded to cover all tenancies – old and new.
East Suffolk Council has spent many years promoting free and discounted insulation, offered to homeowners and landlords by the energy companies. Any landlord who failed to act to improve the warmth of their properties will now face financial consequences as East Suffolk Council have made the enforcement of these standards a priority. It is committed to ensuring all tenants – social and private – are living in warm homes that are good for their health and their wallet.
Of the 268 authorities included in the report undertaken by The Independent, East Suffolk Council is in the top 6 with one of the best records for tackling enforcement actions, having issued 87 compliance notices and 7 financial penalties, with fine totalling £24,000 for MEES breaches to date.
Having declared a climate emergency in July 2019, proactively enforcing MEES also supports the Council’s green commitments as improvements in energy efficiency are directly linked to a reduction in carbon emissions.
Cllr Richard Kerry, East Suffolk’s cabinet member for Housing, said:
“Not only are cold homes miserable to live in but known to contribute to ill health and it also has financial and environmental costs when heat is wasted through poor insulation.
“Tenants don’t always have a choice of moving to another property and ultimately, our priority is to improve living conditions for all tenants, regardless of their circumstances, by enforcing the improvements and penalising landlords who have not carried out what has been required by the change in law.”
Cllr James Mallinder, East Suffolk’s cabinet member for the Environment, said:
“I am proud of the work East Suffolk Council carries out to enable landlords and housing associations to join us in our vision to be environmentally efficient in all our frontline services.
“Not only does better quality housing reduce costs for residents, it also reduces the resources needed to heat and care for our homes, and by making small changes now, we can make a big difference over time.
“The environment is not just about the grass and the trees outside our windows – it is about how we live our lives, and ensuring we live in energy efficient homes leads to a better and cleaner environment for everyone.”