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Investigations keep the warmth in as autumn approaches

As summer draws to a close, council interventions have allowed many renters to benefit from improved heating and insulation.

As summer draws to a close, council interventions have allowed many renters to benefit from improved heating and insulation.

Since Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) came into effect (April 2018) Cherwell District Council has used the new powers to improve standards at 33 privately rented properties.

The council housing team contacts landlords who may need to improve their properties by completing works such as installing insulation, replacing old windows, or upgrading antiquated heating systems. Officers have investigated 118 properties, serving 52 enforcement notices and two penalty notices. This has resulted in the payment of £2,000 in civil penalties.

Cllr John Donaldson, Cherwell’s lead member for housing, said:

“Everyone deserves a warm home, and one that is affordable to heat.

“We take the condition of housing in the district very seriously. There is a benefit not just to individual tenants and families but, more broadly, to our efforts to mitigate the worst effects of climate change.

“As winter approaches, we will be continuing to contact landlords to make sure they are meeting their legal obligations, so that renters can get the most out of their heating budget, and so that people’s health is not unnecessarily put at risk.”

Under the MEES, landlords of relevant domestic private rented properties were prevented from granting a new tenancy to new or existing tenants if the property had an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of F or G, unless an exemption applied.

On 1 April 2020 that restriction was extended to cover all relevant private rented properties, even where there has been no change of tenancy.

Landlords with properties assessed at EPC F and G must now improve the property EPC rating to E, register an exemption, or cease letting the property. Landlords found in breach of the regulations could face civil penalties of up to £5,000.

In some instances, the council may be able to offer grant assistance to help with energy efficiency improvement works. For further information on MEES compliance, visit the council’s website at: www.cherwell.gov.uk/mees

The council is also reminding people who are claiming benefits that they could be eligible for a £140 Warm Home Discount to help them with the costs of winter energy bills.

For more information on this, people can call Better Housing Better Health on 0800 1070044.

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