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The quality scheme endorsed by the UK government, TrustMark, has launched a new pilot scheme, in association with East Sussex Trading Standards, to improve standards of energy efficiency of rental properties.

The initiative, titled the Better Homes for Hastings scheme, was launched this month at an event at Sussex Coast College, Hastings. Hastings Borough Council also co-hosted the event, which brought together tenants, housing associations, private landlords and businesses registered with TrustMark, from Hastings and the surrounding area.

The aim of the event was to highlight the minimum levels of energy efficiency, health, comfort and safety that rental properties should reach. The event was also intended to encourage health factors and comfort in rental accommodation, as well as to educate tenants on their rights. Fuel poverty issues will also be addressed by the scheme, through improved measures of energy efficiency, as this has become a prime concern.

Hastings Borough Council’s lead councillor, Andy Batsford, explained that the third biggest contributor in the UK to greenhouse gas emissions is housing. It is hoped that the scheme will bring together private landlords and key individuals involved in residential energy efficiency improvements, to encourage enhancements to the standards of the private rented sector. It is also expected that this initiative will benefit tenants, as many renters could be experiencing fuel poverty. It will also help the UK meet its wider target in the reduction of greenhouse gases.

The event provided the opportunity for letting agents, housing associations and private landlords to learn more about the upcoming regulations, which relate to standards in energy efficiency within rental properties. This is in addition to connecting individuals within the sector to reputable tradespeople and businesses to help them attain these requirements in energy efficiency, health, comfort and safety.

TrustMark’s CEO, Simon Ayers, also emphasised the organisation’s enthusiasm to be collaborating on the project with the Borough Council and Trading Standards in East Sussex, and said that it provided an opportunity for both tenants and landlords to improve their understanding of why it’s so important to improve standards in rental homes. This is of particular importance, as quality of housing can prove detrimental to a tenant’s good health.

Landlords and tenants alike must have confidence that their chosen tradespeople are able to complete repairs or improvements on their homes, that meet the industry’s required standards. It’s believed that by participating in the scheme, and using TrustMark registered businesses, landlords are provided with the reassurance that tradespeople have undergone appropriate vetting to ensure that good working practices, reliable customer services and technical competency are all achieved.

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