IslingtonTribune

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It’s time for action on energy efficiency

18 October, 2019

The Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES)

• OUR government isn’t doing anything like enough to reduce either carbon emissions or fuel poverty, despite supposed commitment to tackling both.

The Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES), however, are at least one step in the right direction.

Since 2018, MEES have made it illegal for private landlords to rent out the coldest F or G-rated homes to a new tenant and from April next year this will apply to existing tenancies as well.

More than a quarter of Islington homes are privately rented, some 27,000 households, and since the private rented sector has the highest proportion of non-complying properties, it’s likely that hundreds of these are too cold and too hard to heat to be rented out legally without some improvement.

Local authorities choose how to enforce the MEES in their area and I understand Islington does so through its trading standards department.

Searching the council’s website, though, turns up no results for MEES at all, so it seems likely that they’re doing nothing proactive and only take action against a non-complying landlord if a prospective tenant already understands the requirements and is able and willing to search out which department to complain to.

Of course, we have to sympathise with councils having to do more and more with less and less funding, but this still doesn’t seem an adequate response for one, like Islington, which has stated commitments to addressing fuel poverty, rogue landlords and the climate emergency.

At the very least it should be telling tenants what their rights are and who to contact if their flats don’t meet the standards.

But ideally it would be searching through the databases, too, to warn landlords with F and G-rated properties how Islington will stamp down from April next year if their existing lets aren’t improved.

The minimum E standard may currently only apply to a few hundred homes, but that will rise to thousands when it increases to D and then C, as intended, eventually.

If Islington is serious about tackling fuel poverty, rogue landlords and the climate emergency, it should make sure it has MEES enforcement processes fully in place by next April.

ANDREW MYER
Islington Green Party

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