Earlier this week I wrote about the problems of fuel poverty, and how poor standards in housing are a contributing factor.
My questions to Government Ministers revealed that the number of homes with low energy efficiency ratings has increased in the private rented sector since 2010.
I submitted further questions to Ministers about incentives for landlords to make homes more energy efficient and there is an important deadline approaching.
This April regulations will come into force that prohibit the renting of properties with energy performance certificates below band E.
If these homes are upgraded it would be a huge boost for hundreds of thousands of tenants. The Government’s own figures estimate the annual energy bill savings for a household moving from band G to E would be £990. For a band F household moving to E the saving would be £510.
However, I’m concerned about the Government’s approach to this. The regulations could allow landlords a five year exemption if there are not adequate energy efficiency policies to fund improvements. Landlords could use the Government’s own failings as a loophole to get out of fulfilling their responsibilities to tenants.
A report by Parity Projects indicates that 70% of these homes could be brought up to an E grade for less than £1000, but these exemptions could leave us with both the Government and landlords each refusing to invest while blaming the other.
I wrote to the Secretary of State before Christmas to highlight these concerns on behalf of my constituents. If the Government is serious about tackling fuel poverty it should follow through on this initiative and not let landlords off the hook.