Councils using ‘Intelligence’ to track down low EPC properties and fine £5,000

Councils using ‘Intelligence’ to track down low EPC properties and fine £5,000

15:08 PM, 29th March 2021, About 6 months ago 40

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And so the EPC witch-hunt begins: Threatening fines of up to £5,000 for any rental property with an EPC lower than Band E, councils are now using artificial intelligence to pull together all manner of records and information to cross-correlate properties on the EPC register with ratings F or G so that they can issue fines in the name of improving housing conditions for tenants.

Of course, this is just another tactic in councils’ strategy to find properties that should have HMO, additional or selective licences and then to be able to issue massive fines for licence (tax) avoidance and then further fines under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System or the HMO Management Regulations in councils’ relentless drive for revenue from Landlords’ assess bases.

Most Landlords have only between 1 and 4 properties, they have no comprehension of the technology and staffing that councils are employing to find them guilty of crimes under the Housing Acts and other legislation, since the government gave Councils the powers to set most of the rules, be police, judge and jury and then keep all the money they can raise in fines.

It is difficult to understand how anyone could still want to be a landlord in the housing market which has become a police-state in which most council enforcement officers consider ALL landlords to be Rogue Landlords and Criminals.

In today’s example: Labour-controlled Exeter council, working with Exeter Community Energy, says it’s currently identifying properties being let with an EPC rating below E and it wants to ensure homes across the city stay warm and energy bills kept to a minimum.

Of course, since April 2020, under MEES (the Minimum Level of Energy Efficiency Standards), landlords can no longer let a property with an EPC rating of F or G unless they have a valid exemption.

Shop a landlord

The council is also making a public appeal to anyone renting or aware of properties with F or G ratings to contact the council.

Although the authority insists it is “keen to engage with landlords in the first instance to offer information and support,” its statement goes on to threaten: “If landlords fail to engage within a reasonable time period and make necessary improvements, the council may take action, including the issuing of fines up to £5,000 per breach, per household and a notice requiring works to be carried out.”

The attack on landlords by councils never ends.

If you are facing a Rent Repayment order from your tenants or the council contact Landlord Licensing & Defence urgently for professional representation 



Comments

by terry sullivan

11:26 AM, 30th March 2021, About 6 months ago

another of bliars achievements

by TheSwan

11:55 AM, 30th March 2021, About 6 months ago

I was recently sent a compliance notice to get an EPC or face a £5000 fine. Our council was used for the pilot scheme to test whether pursuing these kind of fines was viable. I was given 32 days to comply as my rental house does not have an EPC or get a fine. The council concluded that my property was a rental by physically sending a person from the council to knock on the door and ask the tenant if they were the owner (during the lockdown). We dont have licensing in our area so theres no reason to declare a houses occupancy to anyone.
My property does not require an EPC because the tenant moved in before the requirement to have an EPC became law (01/10/2008). No new tenancy has been issued, there has been no change of tenant and no change to the tenancy contract. I also had the correct periodic tenancy agreement in place too.
I used the governments own legislation to defeat the council and they apologised and withdrew their compliance notice in writing. I'm happy to share the links should anyone be in the same situation as me (your tenancy must have been in place, without chance since before 01/10/2008). If this doesnt apply and you dont have an exception then please please get yourselves an EPC and upgrade properties to an E as they will find you and they will fine you.
Incidentally, my property would be a high D rating (I have a friend who does EPCs who assessed it for me without logging the result), I didnt want to have the result logged as then my property would fall inside the requirement to make it a C rating in 2025.

by Penny Lyon

12:02 PM, 30th March 2021, About 6 months ago

Why wouldnt a landlord ensure his property had the rating of E and above? If that's the required standard and there was plenty of notice to get this done. It's actually good for tenants and good to be a professional landlord and raise the bar as high as you can. There is no place for chancer landlords crying about this one, just because they get caught out.

by Luke P

12:09 PM, 30th March 2021, About 6 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Penny Lyon at 30/03/2021 - 12:02
For the reasons TheSwan mentioned towards the end…this will not end with just F & G ratings being precluded from rentals…mission creep and goalpost moving will ultimately end up shafting us with compliance through massive financial outlay or having to sell the property at a likely reduced rate.

EPC band C minimum is coming. Not today, but it’s coming. And even 2/3 years out from that date, it will begin to affect prices.

by Penny Lyon

12:24 PM, 30th March 2021, About 6 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Luke P at 30/03/2021 - 12:09
You have to be hopeful your tenant stays with you then until 2025 as a periodic tenancy then because if you renew an existing tenancy you have to ensure e and above is reached straightaway. Yes and C by 2025. The original article suggested councils were investigating rentals of F and G for non compliance, but if landlords have exemptions, then they won't be fined. I'm not sympathetic with the landlords that are trying to 'get away' with it. Also as a landlord I think we should still try to raise the bar, it's not looking for ways we can avoid making improvements. If my property was a high D I would be proud to wear that badge and I'd be thinking that it wouldn't cost a lot to get to a C in 4 years time. Also tenants are becoming more interested in the energy rating of a property.

by Gunga Din

12:28 PM, 30th March 2021, About 6 months ago

Swan you would have been ok up to April 1st 2018 but isn't it true that from 1 April 2020, all domestic lettings (including existing) must achieve an “E” rating or better?

by DGM

12:30 PM, 30th March 2021, About 6 months ago

With a lot of victorian houses converted to flats, you may just be able to get a C rating if you are lucky. The council will not allow you to put external insulation render, installing internally may not be possible for numerous reasons. I have several of these, some are C and some D, the council will not let me change the windows (sash style) unless exactly the same, no uPVC as conservation area. The EPC is waste of paper as they don't take into consideration if you have installed sound/thermal insulation between floors which I do to all my flats. They should use thermal imaging not just visual assumptions.

by TheSwan

12:39 PM, 30th March 2021, About 6 months ago

Exactly my point Luke. My rental in question has UPVC windows and doors, 300mm loft insulation and a condensing boiler already. Getting this to a C could be a struggle without tens of thousands of outlay for solid wall insulation (and yes I looked into this). It's a very low value, ex council, early 1900s house so there is no benefit to spending loads going further with upgrades. Had I been brought inside the regulations this lady would find herself made homeless by the government. Not everyone without an EPC is a "chancer". I do not legally require an EPC for this one house, all of my other rentals have them. Just because a house doesn't have an EPC it doesn't make it a bad house, some houses struggle to get a higher EPC value because they are heated by oil or electric. EPCs only measure energy and take no account of a property condition and presentation. I wonder what the EPC value of Buckingham Palace would be, I doubt they upgraded to UPVC, gas fired radiators throughout and external solid wall insulation!!!

by TheSwan

12:56 PM, 30th March 2021, About 6 months ago

Gunga Din.

From 1 April 2020, all domestic lettings (including existing) must achieve an “E” rating or better """"BUT ONLY IF"""" they have ever had a rating (and this is where I defeated the council as my property has never legally needed to have had an EPC so doesn't have a rating to start with. It's all there in the legislation and government tools that I am right.)

Should my tenant move out, the property will then be sold, but the lady doesn't want to move (I've not changed the rent in the 13 years she lived there as she is a model tenant and maintains the house beautifully, so I consider the rent reduction as her reward).

by Penny Lyon

13:28 PM, 30th March 2021, About 6 months ago

Reply to the comment left by TheSwan at 30/03/2021 - 12:39
The original article was about councils uncovering landlords who own properties with a rating of F and G. Not landlords who don't have an EPC. Clearly you have an exemption in law. Good for you as do a number of other people who own listed buildings and I'm sure Buckingham palace mentioned is one of them. The article to me is geared to claiming outrage that landlords who have F and G ratings uncovered and are letting properties, are being fined. The ones who legitimately are allowed exemptions will be able to prove it, so we are left with the chancers who get fined. Quite right.

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