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New initiative will help make hundreds of rented homes across the Borough warmer and cheaper to run

West Devon Borough Council has outlined how a package of support for landlords with long-term lets will make properties warmer and cheaper for local tenants.

MEES Radiator

The Council has outlined its commitment to ensuring homes across the Borough support the health and wellbeing of residents with the launch of an initiative to help longer-term let landlords meet the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES). 

The support package on offer includes grants to help landlords improve the energy efficiency of their property so they meet a minimum EPC rating of E. Ways to improve the energy efficiency of homes can include draught proofing, roof and wall insulation or replacement heating systems.  

The Council in partnership with Tamar Energy Community will work with landlords to meet these standards and will be investigating properties that do not. Over the coming weeks they will be contacting households and landlords who live in or rent these properties.  

Landlords should also expect that minimum energy efficiency standards will become higher than the current minimum standard. There is an expectation from government that all domestic properties should be aiming to achieve at least a C rating by 2030 to reach climate targets.  

Other support to help landlords also includes the ethical lettings service, SeaMoor Lettings. SeaMoor Lettings is run by the Council and offers lower charges to landlords than standard lettings agents with the aim to offer lower, more affordable rental costs to local families. 

If the necessary improvements are not carried out or there is not a valid exemption, it may lead to landlords being issued with a penalty.  If landlords are concerned about the energy rating in their property, there are options available to help them achieve the best energy ratings possible. 

Cllr Tony Leech, West Devon Borough Council's Lead Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: "The Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards outline what landlords need to do to ensure their tenants have a quality home. We've now secured government funding to help us to help landlords to meet these standards and improve their properties for the benefit of their tenants. 

"Whether landlords need a loan or a grant to improve anything from insulation to more energy efficient heating, it's the tenants who will benefit from a more comfortable home that is cheaper to keep warm. We hope that this attractive package may also help to encourage landlords to offer much needed longer-term rentals following last summer where we have seen some landlords switch to short-term lets.

"We'll be working closely with Tamar Energy Community and getting in touch with landlords to let them know more about the standards and how we can help them to improve. 

"There are approximately 700 properties in our area that may not meet the minimum standards, and is it hoped that where possible, landlords will use this opportunity to bring their housing stock up to the higher standards, which the Government will be looking for in the near future. 

"Please let us know if you're a landlord with a long-term rental, or you are planning on becoming a landlord in the near future."

The Domestic Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) Regulations set a minimum energy efficiency level for domestic private rented properties. Since 1 April 2020, landlords can no longer let or continue to let properties covered by the MEES Regulations if they have an EPC rating below E, unless they have a valid exemption in place. 

If a landlord is currently letting a property or planning on letting with an EPC rating of F or G, and has not already taken action, they must improve the property's rating to E immediately, or register an exemption.

Kate Royston, Tamar Energy Community's Director and Energy Advisor said: "We welcome the partnership with West Devon Borough Council and South Hams District Council. The opportunity to work with landlords and their tenants in this way, and support the measures needed to deliver warmer, healthier, more energy efficient homes, will benefit landlords, tenants, and the planet!"

Go to the Council's website for more information: www.westdevon.gov.uk/RentalHousingStandards

Published 9 May 2022

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