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

by Des Taylor & Phil Turtle, Landlord Licensing & Defence

15:08 PM, 29th March 2021
About 2 weeks ago

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

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

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.

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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

terry sullivan

13:39 PM, 30th March 2021
About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by TheSwan at 30/03/2021 - 11:55
did you bill the council for your time--chaarge at £120 per hour plus all expenses

Old Mrs Landlord

16:45 PM, 30th March 2021
About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Penny Lyon at 30/03/2021 - 12:02
My thoughts exactly Penny. Landlords who are happy to let out a property illegally should not expect to simply be allowed to get away with it. The requirements have been widely publicised as has the timetable for increasing the minimum rating to C. For some properties this may not be economic or even possible and they will therefore have to be removed from the rental market. Many homes in Britain have only electric heating and bringing them up to C is problematic.

Jireh Homes

17:25 PM, 30th March 2021
About 2 weeks ago

The methodology in computing the EPC Rating has limitations and may not accurately reflect the "true" energy efficiency of the building but is being used as an easy to apply yardstick. As the average rating is Band D, achieving Band C for our older stock of housing will be significant challenge. Would be interesting to hear of experiences with applying for an Exemption, as for many properties this will be the best approach.

Ray Lancaster

18:30 PM, 30th March 2021
About 2 weeks ago

I will be selling any of my properties that are rated D or below on a EPC. I am not gong to start to spend tens of thousands of pounds out so the tenants may save a few pounds per month and keeping Greta Thunberrg happy when home owners don’t have to be forced to spend a penny let alone thousands pounds out on their own home.
The other thing that is bugging me is if tenants are in a property where an EPC rating is lower than the C rating which is about to come into force and notice has been given by the landlord for them to leave before this happens and they refuse to go, what happens? Is the landlord forced to make the improvements against their will? Probably yes is the answer. Wilt he council re house them into a more energy efficient home? No,will be the Answer. These issues could cause an interesting legal argument in a court of law, as landlords are being held to ransom.

Lee Bailey

18:50 PM, 30th March 2021
About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by TheSwan at 30/03/2021 - 11:55
You should also sue them for an arbitrary amount (say 30'000) for wasting your previous time. It's about time we REALLY fought back.

TheSwan

8:57 AM, 31st March 2021
About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Penny Lyon at 30/03/2021 - 13:28
The original article may have been about councils uncovering landlords who own properties with a rating of F and G and not landlords who don't have an EPC, but I was slapped with this fine anyway despite the fact the fine was unjust and they didn't even try to find out the facts before hand. They didn't immediately back down when I pointed out the length of the tenancy either and I had to resort to quite lengthy legislation to point out that they were wrong. I mention it here because it seems that they fine first because it's easier and other people with no EPC who don't need one will be put under the same stress as I was.

linda green

18:20 PM, 2nd April 2021
About 2 weeks ago

What happens if you have a Victorian conversion leasehold flat (presently a D rating) and any upgrade possible to bring up to a C would need intrusive work which freeholder refuses to give permission for? Freeholder, who also owns the majority of flats in the block is a social landlord so is exempt..

terry sullivan

19:34 PM, 2nd April 2021
About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by linda green at 02/04/2021 - 18:20
write to your mp and also to jenrick--make sure its recorded delivery

terry sullivan

19:36 PM, 2nd April 2021
About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Penny Lyon at 30/03/2021 - 12:02
the epc ratings are mostly nonsensical and often cause complications such as damp and rot.

linda green

23:01 PM, 2nd April 2021
About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by terry sullivan at 02/04/2021 - 19:36
Totally agree with this. A lot of insulation that the government promoted and gave grants for a few years back, caused massive problems where none had existed before..

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