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News Update from BRE’s Housing and Health Team – July 2019

Net Zero Carbon

The UK Government recently announced a new target requiring the UK to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050 making it the first major economy to pass such a law. This will be an amendment to the Climate Change Act (2008) which already stipulates an 80% reduction in greenhouse gases from 1990 levels by 2050. For more information on the new target, the Committee on Climate Change report is here. Other news articles can be found here – BBC and Guardian.

In response to the announcement of the net zero carbon target, BRE are developing carbon reduction scenarios aimed at helping local authorities understand where potential savings might lie within their building stock. Please get in touch with us at HousingAndHealth@bre.co.uk if you would like to understand more about how we can help.

According to BEIS figures, in 2018 emissions from the residential sector accounted for 18% of all carbon dioxide emissions; methods of reducing carbon emissions from dwellings include:

  • Replacing gas heaters with heat pumps
  • Repurposing, refurbishing and retrofitting existing homes, including installation of energy efficiency measures

The diagram below is from the World Green Building Council, Advancing Net Zero project, for more information see this link.

BEIS has also recently announced the following:

  • A £5 million fund to increase the use of green mortgages
  • A £10 million innovation fund looking at cutting the cost of retrofitting older homes
  • Measures to improve the energy efficiency of 17 million homes

HSCD Online maps – 6 month trial

To help our customers better understand their data, we have recently made available our new mapping feature. This feature allows HSCD users to visualise their data at different geographical levels, different tenures and for different property indicators against the familiar Google Map background. The different coloured areas are clickable allowing the user to query the background data for further analysis at dwelling level for the indicators selected. This feature makes it easier to investigate and analyse your organisation’s housing stock at various geographical levels.

Our customers have access to this online map feature on a 6 month free trial. If you are one of our customers, log in to the HSCD and access the “Map” tab for a glance. If you aren’t a customer, feel free to get in touch for a chat and we will be happy to enable the 6-month trial for you when you become a customer. In any case, if you would like to simply explore the feature, you can always do so by signing up for a demo.

Housing 2019

Housing 2019 was held on 25-27th June 2019 in Manchester and is Europe’s largest and most inclusive housing festival. The Chartered Institute of Housing’s annual conference examined and debated the biggest challenges facing the housing sector, and featured keynote addresses and panels from government officials and leaders in this sector. BRE representatives attended the three-day conference on behalf of Housing and Energy, presenting our approach to “de-risking the housing retrofit journey to net zero”.

If you weren’t able to attend our session and would like to find out more, please do contact us.

More pictures here.

Independent review of the use and effectiveness of selective licensing

The Government recently published an independent review looking at the use and effectiveness of selective licensing. The research found that 44 local authorities (as of 1/1/19) operated at least one scheme, with 4 authorities operating schemes which covered 100% of their area, and 9 authorities operating schemes which required MHCLG approval due to covering 20% of their geographic area or 20% of the private rented stock. The report concludes that “selective licensing can be an effective policy tool with many schemes achieving demonstrable positive outcomes”.

The report cites several key features of effective selective licensing schemes, including:

  • Careful planning so as not to underestimate how many licensable properties there are
  • A thorough approach to gathering evidence and consultation
  • Defining the licensable area with carefully drawn boundaries so that areas with demonstrable problems are the focus.
  • Supported by the best evidence available and the continued gathering of evidence/data throughout the scheme’s lifetime.
  • Remaining focussed and targeted. A clear target and small designation area are key to ensure identified problems are manageable and achievements are obtainable. Flexibility with targets is also important as it is inevitable the designated area will change over the lifetime of the selective licensing scheme.
  • Being part of wider community-based measures to encourage the wider implementation of actions sourced from the designated area.

To read the full report, follow this link.

BRE’s Housing and Health team can provide local authorities with information on their housing stock relating to selective licensing, enabling the identification of areas to target. Please contact us at HousingAndHealth@bre.co.uk to find out how we can help you target your scheme.

Rogue Landlord Enforcement

The private rented sector is the second largest tenure in England, accounting for 19% of households. Whilst the quality of private rented housing has improved in recent decades, rogue landlords continue to let unsafe and inadequate accommodation. The Housing Act 2004 gives local authorities enforcement powers with which to tackle rogue landlords. The government has recently published guidance to support the use of such enforcement powers – “Rogue Landlord Enforcement Guide for Local Authorities” which is available here.

BRE have recently supported several local authority clients with discretionary licensing schemes and private rented sector identification. If you would like to talk about how we could help your local authority, please contact us at HousingAndHealth@bre.co.uk

Private Rented Sector & EPC Requirements

Since April 2018, landlords of privately rented properties must ensure their EPC rating is at least an E whenever granting a new tenancy. This regulation will extend to all privately rented domestic properties by April 2020, regardless of whether a change in tenancy agreement is undertaken.

More information and the full review document is available here.

BRE can facilitate the identification of private rented properties which have an EPC rating below band E. Please contact us at HousingAndHealth@bre.co.uk for more information.

HHCC demonstrates over £200million savings to society

Organisations using the Housing Health Cost Calculator (HHCC) recently passed a significant milestone – demonstrating over £200 million of savings to society from housing interventions since the tool was introduced. 62 local authorities and 3 agencies working in the housing area across England and Wales have now uploaded data to the site (www.housinghealthcosts.org) and this has helped to demonstrate the impact poor housing conditions have on the health of occupiers. The methodology for the HHCC draws on the BRE publication “The Real Cost of Poor Housing”, and subsequent update reports. We hope that local authorities and other agencies will continue to make the case for investment in housing and that the HHCC can play a part in achieving this. For more information about the tool please contact the team at HousingAndHealth@bre.co.uk.

 

 

 

BRE Health and Wellbeing Campaign

The Housing and Health team recently published an article discussing the effect of housing condition on the health of occupiers. Most of us spend longer in our own home than anywhere else and the condition of our homes therefore has an important effect on our health. Local authorities are becoming increasingly engaged with us to help them understand the condition of their housing stock and the benefits improved conditions could have on occupants, as well as the wider benefits to the health care system.

Click here to see the article in full.

Making a Difference Housing and Health: A Case for Investment Report

This new report was produced in partnership with Public Health Wales, Community Housing Cymru and BRE and is the culmination of a literature review looking at evidence of the effectiveness of interventions to improve housing quality, housing suitability and homelessness and the benefits to the health and wellbeing of the Welsh population. This includes the identification of priority areas such as improving the heating, thermal efficiency and ventilation of homes to address the causes of ill health associated with poor quality housing, such as cold and damp.

The full report is available here

Get to know our team

Our team is continually growing, with the addition of Senior Consultant Megan Waller who is the new point of contact for customers and subscribers wishing to know more about how we can help meet your needs.

Megan joined BRE in June 2019 and is due to complete her MSc in Environmental Health in July 2019. She will then begin working towards becoming a Chartered Environmental Health Practitioner later in the year.

Most recently she worked within the Public Health team at a local authority, project managing a home energy efficiency scheme in-house and working with a partnership of 10 local authorities to develop the scheme into a recognised service. Megan is passionate about developing the links between housing and health and is able to draw on her experience working with local authorities and HMOs, and her knowledge of energy efficiency schemes, fuel poverty, excess winter deaths and home improvements and adaptations relating to Disable Facilities Grants.

You can get in touch with Megan using the HousingAndHealth@bre.co.uk email address.

Other news

Homes (Fitness for Habitation) Act 2018

The Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act 2018 came into force in March 2019, amending the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 and updating the law to require rented properties to be “provided and maintained in a state fit for human habitation”.

Whilst the law places no additional responsibilities on landlords, it empowers tenants to act against landlords who regularly fail to maintain their property to an acceptable standard – thus encouraging landlords to ensure they meet their existing obligations. It is expected that the legislation will support landlords who consistently maintain their properties by ensuring they are free from hazards, whilst landlords who may disregard their obligations are unlikely to continue to prosper.

For a detailed overview of the Homes (Fitness for Habitation) Act, click here

Finally – Keep in Touch

We want to keep you updated on what’s new in the world of housing and health, as well as provide an insight into some of the work our customers have been doing. Please go to our online preference centre and opt-in to receive regular communications from BRE – if you select to receive the monthly BRE e-news we will include a quarterly reminder for the publication of this news update on BRE Buzz. Additionally, if you have specific queries please e-mail us at HousingAndHealth@bre.co.uk and for more information on our services go to http://www.bregroup.com/housingstock