The Warm Arm of the Law - reducing fuel poverty in private rented properties.

Elmhurst was delighted to have been invited to contribute to the Association for the Conservation of Energy (ACE) research workshop to explore how best to reduce fuel poverty in the private rented sector through HHSRS and MEES.

The research, which has now been published under the heading the Warm Arm of the Law, looked at the extent to which the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) and Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) are being proactively implemented and enforced by local authorities across England and Wales.

The report points out that the private rental sector  has grown by over 40% in the last ten years and now comprises 20.5% of the housing market in England, compared to just 10% in 1999 with an expectation that this tenure will continue to expand.

Fuel poverty continues to be a major problem and is particularly acute in the private rental sector, with an estimated 21.3% of households thought to be in fuel poverty in England and 36% in Wales. The private rental sector also has the largest proportion of energy inefficient F and G rated properties with obvious links to cold related illness. 

Kelly Greer, ACE Research Director noted that: “There is great potential for both HHSRS and MEES to be effectively implemented and doing so will not only improve the lives of tenants living in some of the worst properties in the country, it will also offer significant economic and wider societal benefits to the UK, including reducing the burden on the NHS, improved productivity and a reduction in carbon emissions”.

The research project has identified a number of recommendations around improving the implementation and enforcement of HHSRS and MEES, for government (national, regional and local), landlords and their representatives, tenant advice services and the energy efficiency sector. Priority recommendations include:

  • National government needs to ensure that local government is adequately resourced to proactively implement both MEES and HHSRS and could offer guidance and advice on how these services can be implemented as cost effectively as possible.
  • Local government needs to develop a joined-up approach to implementing HHSRS and MEES. National government could assist by issuing guidance and examples of how best to do this.
  • National government should work with the energy efficiency sector to build the evidence base around the potential benefits to landlords of having highly efficient properties, including reduced rent arrears, reduced void periods and increased rental and asset value.
  • National Government should continue to restate the long-term trajectory of the MEES regulations to help landlords understand their long-term requirements and to support the delivery of whole house retrofit approaches, thus minimising disruption for tenants and avoiding multiple interventions by landlords.

Elmhurst congratulate ACE, and their sponsors, on the publication of this thought provoking report. ACE were supported in this work by CAG Consultant and the Ebico Trust


For the full report click here https://www.ukace.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Ebico-Policy-Report.pdf


Article Published: 3rd August 2018

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