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Council licensing scheme discriminates against rental units with poor EPCs

A local authority currently consulting on private rental licensing is using improved energy efficiency as one of the criteria for landlords being allowed to let.

The National Landlords Association has spotted that Walsall council’s consultation on its proposed licensing regime says that the EPC on a property will influence the licensing fee to be paid by a landlord who otherwise passes the usual criteria.

“Discounts are available for properties with an A, B or C rating. In contrast, properties rated E, F and G rated properties facing penalty charges of up to £300” according to the council documentation.

The authority also says that from April 1 next year “the council will refuse to licence any property with an EPC rating of F or G” - even though this actually goes beyond the new Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards that come into force at the same time.

The NLA says this goes too far and will be part of its objection to the licensing proposals as a whole.

“In particular we will highlight how these clauses will be detrimental to tenants who will face eviction, and landlords will be left with properties they can no longer rent out due to no fault of their own” says the NLA.

“For example, some energy efficiency work requires third party permissions such as from the freeholder, mortgage lender, planning permission from the council or even consent from the tenants themselves.

“If this consent cannot be secured then under the MEES regulations they would be exempt. However, under Walsall council’s plans if this consent cannot be secured then the property cannot be let without being in breach of the licencing scheme and the tenant would have to be evicted.”

Poll: Is it right to link energy efficiency with a licence to let?

PLACE YOUR VOTE BELOW

  • David Bennett

    Well done Walsall Council. The first of many. Encouragement to LLs to improve the overall comfort of their tenants.

  • SCN Lettings

    Stats from the Elmhurst EPC provider site state:
    "There are 11% of domestic properties that reach an energy efficiency rating (SAP rating) of A or B, 65% C or D and still 24% of England and Wales properties are languishing with ratings of E,F or G"
    So councils that exclude E F and G will effectively reduce rental stock by almost a quarter. At a time when landlords are exiting the sector due to section 24 Finance Act, stamp duty, and general landlord bashing by the government. So increased demand and less properties. What do we think that will do to affordable rents?

    Well done indeed Walsall Council.

  • icon

    This is ridiculous - and is just a way of discriminating against houses that are built before cavity walls -
    as older houses just don't reach the higher efficiency bands many being a D even with loft insulation, LED lighting etc.
    Also in damp places cavity wall insulation can be disastrous and the can retain damp and condensation - so clearly very little thought has gone into this

  • David Bennett

    We have had EPCs for 10 years and yet many agents still don't understand them. With MEES coming in April 18, if you haven't had a chat with your EPC provider, now would be a good time, as your clients will be relying on you to guide them. F and G Rated properties will need attention. Wall insulation (external, internal or cavity wall) is not the only energy saving option. If a landlord wants top rent, they need to ensure they are providing the best. What's the problem?

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