Joint project helps reduce the number of homes classed as cold in the Arun and Chichester districts
A joint project has successfully helped to reduce the number of privately rented properties classed as 'cold homes' in both Arun and Chichester districts.
Last autumn the two councils made a joint bid for government funding so that they could support landlords to carry out works in order for their properties to meet the Government's Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES).
The project targeted properties with an Energy Performance Rating of F or G because these are the poorest performing properties in terms of energy efficiency and are identified as non-compliant under MEES. Any property being privately let as a home must be rated an E or above, unless a valid exemption has been registered.
Officers identified 441 non-compliant cases (149 in Arun District and 292 in Chichester District. Over the past year they have been working with a number of landlords to help them comply. This has involved work such as installing high retention storage heaters, improved double glazing; replacing boilers and increasing insulation.
"Overall the project has received a really positive reaction, and we have built up some excellent relationships with landlords across the two districts," explains Councillor Alan Sutton, Chichester District Council's Cabinet Member for Housing, Communications, Licensing and Events. "Our first task was to get in contact with all the landlords we wanted to target which was quite an undertaking. Once we had made contact, then our role was to act as an advice service and encourage landlords to ask us questions and find out more about how they could meet the regulations. We then helped steer them towards making the improvements that would have the biggest impact.
"We found that while agents were more familiar with MEES, a lot of individual landlords didn't really have it on their radar. Some people were also quite confused by the regulations, so we have been able to help people understand what their responsibilities are and how to achieve what is required.
"One of the priorities was to target homes where more vulnerable people lived as they are more at risk from the cold. I'm very pleased at the success of this project because it will make a real difference to people and have a significant impact on their general health and wellbeing."
Councillor David Edwards, Chair of the Environment Committee at Arun District Council, said: "The Warmer Home Scheme is a great initiative and will help residents access full grants for a range of energy efficiency improvements. Helping to reduce energy bills is vital to support residents with the cost of living at a time when many people are anxious about finding the money to pay their bills."
People can visit this Government webpage to find out more information about the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES).
Date of release: 19 January 2023