Cold Homes Crackdown: Nottingham landlords risk hefty fine

Nottingham landlords are facing fines for poor energy ratings

Nottingham city council is rolling out a new strategy to crack down on ‘cold homes’ in the private rented sector. It will be issuing financial penalties for properties with an energy efficiency rating of F or G.

Since 2018, all private rented properties in England and Wales have needed to meet a minimum rating of band E on their Energy Performance Certificates (EPC). While the vast majority of properties comply, there are some lagging behind, and the East Midlands, in which Nottingham is situated, is one of the worst areas for this.

Why has Nottingham introduced the scheme?

Like many other areas, Nottingham had been using enforcement notices and civil penalty notices to drive up energy efficiency standards in the sector. However, the council felt these measures didn’t have much of an impact, saying the ‘bad practice will continue in the private rented sector and the housing conditions will remain the same’.

Targeting E and F properties means targeting properties likely to be very expensive to heat, and this cost falls on the tenant. The council says: ‘Fuel poverty occurs when households cannot afford to keep adequately warm because the costs of heating their home are higher than average and paying for those costs leave them below the poverty line.’ They claim this issue affects around 15% of households in Nottingham.

  • By incentivising energy efficiency improvements, properties will require less fuel to heat, mitigating the climate crisis and the cost-of-living crisis
  • Nottingham hopes to be carbon-neutral by 2028, so reducing fuel consumption plays a part in this objective
  • It reflects the overall direction of travel for the sector, as all newly-let properties will need to have an EPC rating of C by 2025, and the entire private rented stock will need a C rating by 2028

How does the scheme work?

If you’re affected or think you might be, we recommend you contact Nottingham City Council directly for detailed information. In summary, the scheme will work something like this:

  • The council will identify any privately rented properties with an EPC rating of F and G
  • They will contact the owner(s) of the property and issue a Compliance Notice
  • A failure to comply with the Compliance Notice would result in a fine
  • The fines range between £800 and £5,000, depending on ‘culpability and harm factors’
  • Any fines will be put back into running the scheme.

Key EPC Facts

As a landlord, it’s important to know about EPCs as it’s one of the legal requirements you need before you can rent out your property:

  • The average EPC of a UK property is a D
  • Just 33% of properties in the private rented sector have an EPC rating of C or above (Octane Capital, 2022)
  • UK law requires that all rental properties have a valid EPC before the tenant moves in
  • It’s also your responsibility as a landlord to make sure the property has an EPC
  • If you’re unsure whether your property has an EPC, you can check on the EPC register
  • An EPC rating is valid for ten years

Minimum EPC ratings are likely to go up under new legislation (something we spoke about with expert James Tanner in our EPC episode of The Mashroom Show) so if you do make any adjustments to your property that could positively impact its EPC rating, it’s worth getting a new one, even if you’re not due for one.

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