As Conservatives spent much of the last week soul searching, it was housing and energy bills they put at the centre of their attempts to refresh their image at conference. But despite yet more promises by the Government to finally side with tenants, right now some of the most vulnerable renters in the country are at risk of being left in the cold while landlords are let off the hook yet again. Back in 2011 the hard work of campaigners forced legislation from the coalition Government that would ban the private rental of the leakiest, least energy efficient properties in England and Wales from April 2018. This was a step in the right direction – benefitting some of the most vulnerable tenants – but came with a loophole. As the law was written at the time it relied on the availability of adequate energy efficiency measures for landlords to fund or finance improvements to bring properties up to a higher (though not high) standard. Since then, thanks to cutbacks and a general backslide on green issues from Government, those funding options have all but disappeared – leaving landlords able to exempt themselves from making properties liveable. What was already an unambitious policy – aimed only at bringing the very worst homes up to below the national average – looks set to become utterly toothless.
Independent 10th Oct 2017 read more »