Source: Wales – City of Cardiff
Plans to deliver improvements to energy efficiency in the poorest performing rented homes in Wales will be considered by Cardiff Council’s Cabinet this week.
Rent Smart Wales, the national registration and licensing scheme for landlords and agents administered by Cardiff Council for the whole of Wales, is the lead authority in a collaboration with local authorities to secure improvements in homes across the country that do not meet the minimum efficiency standards.
New laws come into force in April 2020 requiring all private rented property to meet a minimum energy performance level of band E or above and local authorities will be able to take enforcement action where landlords fail to comply with the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) legislation.
Research shows that Wales has a significant fuel poverty problem, with 155,000 of all households considered to be fuel poor, while 20% of all private rented households and 39% of households without central heating are also fuel poor.
Using data gathered by Rent Smart Wales and publically available information on Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs), private rented properties rated F&G at the bottom end of the scale for energy performance, as well as properties without an EPC, have been identified across the country.
In order to prepare and support landlords ahead of the full implementation of the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards, work will be carried out to raise awareness of landlord’s obligations and of any financial help available to landlords and tenants to enable improvements.
Landlords where data shows their property is F and G rated will be targeted with advice and information.
In addition, Rent Smart Wales is spearheading the Warm Homes Fund All Wales bid that, if successful, would see the installation of 275 central heating systems in local authority areas across Wales. The main focus would be addressing rental properties rated E, F and G and landlords would need to contribute to the cost of the work as well as installing loft and cavity wall insulation if these are required.
Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities, Cllr Lynda Thorne, said: “Rent Smart Wales was set up to improve conditions in private rented properties and standards of management in the sector across the country so I am pleased to see the scheme driving forward this important work to improve energy efficiency in rented homes.
“Figures show that fuel poverty remains a very real issue for thousands of households across Wales, and anything that can be done to help improve this situation is very good news.
“The installation of central heating in 275 properties across Wales, subject to approval of the Warm Homes funding bid, will make a tremendous difference to the tenants living in those homes. Rent Smart Wales is ready to advise and support landlords with F&G rated properties to make the necessary improvements before the minimum standards come into play next year.
“After that time, landlords with properties that fall short of those minimum standards could face enforcement action so we are keen to ensure landlords are aware of the new legislation and take steps to improve the energy efficiency of these homes before that becomes necessary.”
Cardiff Council Cabinet will be updated on Rent Smart Wales’ role in securing their improvements when it meets on Thursday, December 19.