Under new government plans by 2018 any property that has an Energy Performance Rating of ‘F’ or ‘G’ will no longer be allowed to let out their property until improvements are carried out, and from 2016 all private landlords will not be able to refuse a tenant’s request for reasonable energy efficiency improvements to their properties. This is why the government set up the Green Deal scheme, which allows landlords to have energy saving upgrades to their properties for free, as it not only helps the government reach their sustainability targets but also helps lower tenants’ utility bills.
However, trading standards in Slough have now announced that they are already taking measures against landlords who fail to provide an Energy Performance Certificate in an effort to crackdown on rogue landlords that are letting outbuildings, otherwise known as ‘beds in sheds’. By law, all landlords must have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for each of their properties, and the Slough Borough Council’s trading standards team have announced that any landlord without one will be fined two hundred pounds.
Discussing the plan, commissioner for health and wellbeing, Councillor James Walsh, said: “EPCs are a legal requirement and I’m delighted to hear our trading standards officers are clamping down on this issue, particularly as we will be checking EPCs as part of our crackdown on people living illegally in outbuildings. Faced with a potential fine of £200, I imagine most landlords without an EPC will be getting one sorted pretty quickly.” Meanwhile, senior trading standards officer Dean Cooke said: “With rising fuel costs, it is imperative that new tenants have a clear idea of what they will be paying for utility bills while living there. It is basically another selling point of a property and therefore must be accurate and genuine.”
Not only will landlords who are caught without an EPC be subject to a fine, but their landlord insurance could also become void and they could even be taken to court if they are found to be letting an inappropriate building illegally. Landlords based in Slough who are asked to show their EPC will only have seven days to do so before they are issued a fine; however other landlords in the area have said that this amount is too lenient, and that there should be harsher repercussions for rogue landlords who take advantage of those struggling to find cheap private rented accommodation.