Landlords Dodge Energy Efficiency Policies, Leaving Tenants in Cold and Costly Homes

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In the face of numerous household woes, Jacqueline was recently delivered a section 13 notice proposing an increase in her rent.

The recent decision by Rishi Sunak to discard policies compelling landlords to bolster the energy efficiency of their properties presents a series of modifications to his administration’s environmental commitments. Yet, for those renting some of the least energy efficient homes in England, this leaves them in an uncomfortable predicament.

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Upon settling into her new home, Jacqueline discovered mould infestations, lurking rat traps, and strategically placed cardboard designed to cover holes in the ceiling. After considerable dialogue, her landlord consented to undertake necessary repairs and replace the boiler. Instead, the rent experienced an unexpected hike.

Liz, another tenant, is fighting a constant battle against persistent mould, tarnishing her walls and belongings. She received a shocking call from her landlord, admitting he might be leasing the property unlawfully due to its subpar energy efficiency rating.

Living in a Leicestershire bungalow with a disheartening energy performance certificate (EPC) rating of F, Liz experiences the harsh realities of dwelling in a poorly insulated home, even though a law alteration three years prior established E as the lowest acceptable rating.

By providing a rating from A to G, an EPC quantifies a building’s energy efficiency concerning its consumption of heat and light. Every home that is sold or rented is legally required to have one. Over the eight years Liz and her partner have resided in their home, they have struggled against the creeping expansion of potentially harmful black mould on their walls, a distressing consequence of insufficient insulation.

Meanwhile, Liz comments wistfully that she can view her landlord’s grand, five-bedroom detached home from her window.

Recently, her landlord alerted her to potential legal issues concerning the EPC rating of the property. Following another assessment, the property retained its F rating, this time recording an even lower score.

Changes to the government’s green commitments, as outlined by Rishu Sunak, include the delay of a prohibition of new petrol and diesel cars sales and the abolition of car-pooling proposals. Amidst these changes was the promise to discard policies compelling landlords to improve energy efficiency in their homes due to landlord concern over potential costs.

These now abolished policies would have enforced the improvement of almost 2.4 million homes in England with a rating D or lower. Currently, dwellings with ratings lower than E cannot continue to be rented out without a registered exemption. However, it seems that no such exemptions exist for Liz’s property.

Last year, Jacqueline Long and her family began renting a house in south-east England, possessing an EPC rating of E. Following their move, the family discovered sizable holes providing passage to cats and allowing heat escape, which also let in rodents, leading to leaks and structural issues.

While the holes have since been filled, Jacqueline laments her home’s persistent cold and moully conditions. She notes that the heating must be constantly running during the winter months, inflating her energy bills to £300 a month.

Despite these ongoing issues, her landlord submitted a section 13 notice to raise the rent from £1300 to £1450. This has stirred mental health issues for Jacqueline, leading her to take anti-depressant medications in order to cope.

Landlord Nic Overd from Yeovil, Somerset, appreciates the government’s U-turn on the past proposed energy efficient policies. Although additional double-glazed windows and doors were fitted in her property, the house remains with a D rating. She argues that eviction from her property would force her tenants into homelessness due to the proposed changes requiring a minimum EPC rating of C for rented properties.

As a result of these changes, tenants Jacqueline, Liz, and others alike remain in sustained distress as they combat both the chilly English weather and rising rental rates in homes of deficient energy efficiency.