The council has been awarded £34,742 to support a ten week ‘Thanet Cold Homes Finder’ project to target poorly insulated and energy inefficient properties.
The funding was announced on Friday 3 January 2020 as part of the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s (MHCLG) Private Rented Sector Innovation and Enforcement Grant Fund.
The project aims to proactively identify all privately rented homes in Thanet which have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of F or G. Unless exempt, privately rented homes should have an EPC rating of E or above.
The project will support two officers to identify which privately rented homes should be targeted for intervention. The message from the council is that landlords who rent out cold homes will be found out.
Cabinet Member for Housing, Cllr Helen Whitehead, said: “Excess cold causes more harm than any other hazard in the home environment. Tragically it accounts for many excess winter deaths each year*. This funding will go some way to help us tackle this issue and means we will be able to undertake proactive work to identify those landlords whose properties do not meet the standards we expect for our residents.
“This project has the potential to really help people living in cold homes. A warmer home can mean better health and an improved energy performance could reduce fuel bills so the benefits are tangible ones. The funding is welcome news at this time of the year and will be released immediately so our teams can get on with the work right away.”
Thanet has around 66,892 homes, of which 17,271 (26%) are privately rented. This is significantly higher than the national average of 19%.
Much of the rented housing stock in Thanet was built prior to 1919 and is poorly insulated. As from 1 April 2020, privately rented homes cannot be let if they have an EPC rating of F or G, unless subject to statutory exemption. Tenancies which started on or after 01 April 2018 are already subject to this restriction.
The council appointed the Building Research Establishment (“BRE”) to carry out a private sector housing stock modelling exercise for Thanet in 2017. The report and its associated database suggested that there were some 978 privately rented homes in Thanet that were subject to an EPC rating of F or G. This represents some 5.7% of the private rented stock.
More widely, the council declared a climate emergency and is recruiting a new full time Home Energy Officer who will work strategically across departments to promote energy efficiency measures in the private rented and owner occupied sectors.”
* On average, 30% of excess winter deaths in the UK are estimated to be linked to living in a cold home. Source: National Energy Action (NEA) briefing paper, February 2018 nea.org.uk