New Government help during Corona Virus (COVID-19) Outbreak
The government in response to the recent outbreak is currently working on a number of areas to help people.
A number of upcoming and agreed help include:
Complete ban on evictions and additional protection for renters
- emergency legislation to suspend new evictions from social or private rented accommodation while this national emergency is taking place
- No new possession proceedings through applications to the court to start during the crisis
- Landlords will also be protected as 3 month mortgage payment holiday is extended to Buy to Let mortgages
Payment Holidays offered to Help to Buy homeowners affected by Covid-19
This will be help for homeowners who are struggling to pay interest fees on their Help to Buy equity loans and will be offered payment holidays.
Proposals agreed to ensure vulnerable customers who may fall into debt remain supplied with energy while in self isolation.
Government has agreed with energy suppliers for those who are vulnerable and need to self isolate:
- ensuring prepayment and pay-as-you go customers remain supplied with energy through challenging times and supporting all customers in financial distress
- industry agreement signed by all UK domestic suppliers and will come into force immediately
Further details and information on the Governments response to Covid-19 can be found here.
Money Home Job
Zone 1J, Civic Centre
There are a range of contractors who, depending on home survey and circumstances of resident, provide help for owner occupiers in Walsall with free insulation through schemes called ECO (Energy Company Obligation) and ECO Flex.
The scheme has been very successful so far with over 650 households across the Borough already benefitting from energy efficiency measures paid for directly through funds from the energy companies (i.e. not the council funding). It is estimated that this has brought approximately £760,000 of external funding to the borough so far.
The table below shows those contractors who have secured over £50,000 of investment so far (30 October 2019)
|Shropshire Green Energy Centre
|Broad Oak Properties
|Skilled Force Limited
Other Contractors also undertaking ECO and ECO Flex in Walsall are:
- Ecotex Contracts Ltd
- Energy Savings Group
- Eon Installations Ltd
- Free Boilers UK
- Go Green Alliance
- Origin Energy Services Ltd
- Smart Energy (Smart Insulation)
- Urban Renewal Power
- Central Green Insulations
How is the help provided?
The help is usually through what is called ECO (Energy Company Obligation) or ECO Flex and the qualifying conditions can and do change over time as a result of government requirements / advice.
The money for the works comes from energy suppliers and it is the responsibility of the contractor to secure this money from them.
The council’s role
The Council wants to help as many households as possible have more energy efficient homes and ECO and ECO Flex are two ways to help in this.
The Council has published a set of criteria for the contractors undertaking ECO Flex to check that the property (house or flat) and residents both qualify. Typically anyone with a household income of more than £28,000 will not qualify.
Once a contractor has identified a potentially qualifying case (works and householder) under ECO and ECO Flex they then in line with the government’s requirements must ask the Council to consider it i.e. approve or refuse it.
Some ECO Flex and ECO contractors have paid for and done leaflet drops and extra publicity about the scheme. This is their way of trying to maximise the number of people who know about the scheme and can potentially benefit from it.
If you have questions / concerns about any leaflets about the scheme contact the contractor listed on the leaflet or the council on 01922 658 419
Who pays for the insulation work?
The money for the works comes from energy suppliers and it is the responsibility of the contractor to secure this money from them. The Council doesn’t pay for the works and hasn’t paid for the leaflets or the delivery of them.
Walsall Council Housing Financial Penalty Policy.
The Council Cabinet are considering at their meeting in October 2018 a Policy related to the use of Civil Penalty Notices (CPNs) and Rent Repayment Orders (RROs) related to housing. It is in full accordance with the Council’s existing published Housing Enforcement Policy. The Policy can be seen in the papers for cabinet 24 October 2018 agenda item 12.
Letting of private rented dwelling with Energy Performance Certificate of F or G in Walsall.
From the 1 April 2018 there has been a requirement for any properties rented out in the private rented sector to (normally) have a minimum energy performance rating of E on an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). The regulations came into force for new lets and renewals of tenancies from 1 April 2018 and will come into force for all existing tenancies on 1 April 2020.
What to do if you let private rented dwelling(s) with Energy Performance Certificate of F or G in Walsall.
- Provide written evidence that the current tenancy that you have issued for the property was issued prior to 1 April 2018 and is yet to end (i.e. it is within it’s first 6 months);
- Secure and forward to us an EPC for the property that shows that it is now above F or G. An email to us with a pdf attachment of the new EPC will normally suffice.
- Secure an exemption on the national PRS Exemptions Register.
It is unlawful to rent a property which breaches the requirement for a minimum E rating, unless there is an applicable exemption. A civil penalty of up to £4,000 will be imposed for breaches.
If you have any queries or require further information please contact Housing Standards at Walsall Council on 01922655971
Landlords Alert – changes to Mandatory HMO licensing
The government has issued a new Statutory Instrument that can be viewed at: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2018/221/pdfs/uksiem_20180221_en.pdf(56.0KB)
This greatly expands the types of properties that will require a licence under the Mandatory Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO) laws.
It is the responsibility of landlords to make a valid application for a licence and they have until 1 October 2018 to do so.
If you own or manage a HMO that is occupied by five or more persons in two or more separate households then you MUST make a valid HMO application.
The forms can be found at: https://go.walsall.gov.uk/hmo_licensing
The current fees, up to end of March 2018, and the new fees from post March 2018 are shown at:
The Council takes a robust approach to landlords and agents who fail to secure relevant licences and will seek prosecutions or civil penalties. Landlords should note that fines are unlimited (and in recent English cases fines have ranged from £10,500 to £15,000) for failing to secure a licence.
External wall insulation to single and two storey dwellings undertaken as part of schemes assisted by the council.
Over the last 5 years the council has assisted many owner occupiers to secure external wall insulation (EWI) for their principally 2 storey homes.
With the recent Grenfell Tower tragedy we wanted to provide an update to residents on the 'cladding' that has been used in the EWI schemes.
Each EWI scheme supported in full or part (either by grant or loan) by the council:
Required and received the relevant Building Regulations Approval;
Required and had a relevant BBA
Agreement Certificates of compliance for the material used for insulation.
The Agreement Certificates are recognised by building control, government departments, architects, specifiers and industry insurers.
It's a mark of quality, safety and reliability that provides reassurance of the product's fitness-for-purpose.
The council is reviewing all building regulations applications received since 2000 which relate to cladding of buildings and are prioritising those properties where sleeping takes place (dwellings, hotels, institutions etc). The priority for the review is high-rise (18 metres or higher), medium rise and low rise premises.
As the list is quite large, that piece of work will take some time to complete. As a separate check a range of the low rise schemes have been reviewed and those checked so far did not contain Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) which is the material that was used at Grenfell Tower.
West Midlands Fire and Rescue Service wish to remind all residents that if they are concerned about fire safety in their own home that they can contact them direct for a Safe and Well Check which includes a home fire safety check. Their contact number is: 0800 389 5525.
Walsall Energy Company Obligation (ECO) Flex Scheme
The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) is a government energy efficiency scheme to help reduce carbon emissions and tackle fuel poverty.
Local authorities are able to introduce a new flexible approach through which households in fuel poverty or with occupants on low incomes and vulnerable to the effects of cold homes can be targeted for support.
Helping deliver Eco Flex are a range of companies and charities who are able to access the ECO funding and project manage the scheme from start to finish including securing contractors for residents and landlords and promoting the initiatives.
ECO Flex enables Council’s to ‘direct’ the limited resources available at key priorities within their own areas.
The Council has been approached by three organisations with offers to assist Walsall residents (owner occupiers private and social tenants). These are:
- Shropshire Green Energy
- Go Green Alliance
- Warm Zone (part of the National Energy Action – NEA)
To meet OFGEM requirements organisations must ensure Council’s agree the proposals. The organisations have each shaped their proposals to target wherever possible resources towards:
- the Lower Super Output Areas (LSOAs) that have the highest recorded fuel poverty in the borough;
- those with the most energy inefficient homes or with poor heating systems
- vulnerable households including but not limited to those who have a long term illness or disability made worse by excess cold or damp in their home
Each organisation will manage their own project and report outputs back to the council. The scheme currently has an end date, nationally, of March 2022.
View the Walsall Council’s Statement of Intent for ECO Flex PDF and the Appendix 3 PDF(148KB) for more information.
For further details please contact Mark England Project Officer on 01922-655 971
Supported Housing Accommodation in Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs).
Following detailed public, stake-holder and service user consultation and comprehensive analysis of demand the council re-commissioned the provision of supported accommodation within the borough in 2014/15. The re-commissioning highlighted that there had previously been:
An oversupply of supported accommodation for single people, young people and for families (including ‘mother and baby’ units)
A supply of supported accommodation that didn’t meet service users needs:
Large concentrations of people accommodated at the same property;
Shared family accommodation
The re-commissioning resulted in a reduction in the number of units / bed spaces supported by the council and for families the change from shared to self-contained accommodation with outreach support.
Since the re-commissioning, summarised above, the council has received enquiries from a number of organisations seeking to re-introduce supported accommodation within the borough in HMOs. The council does not support the introduction of new supported accommodation in HMOs and is not expected to change this position for the remainder of the 2015/16 or 2016/17 financial years.
Based on the above where planning applications are required and received for changes of use of development of Supported Accommodation (within Houses in Multiple Occupation) the Housing Service will be likely, unless in exceptional circumstances, to respond to consultation indicating opposition to the proposal.