In an inescapable irony, on Friday 13 February 2015, Max Salisbury published an article for 24dash.com entitled 'Loophole means 1000s of HMOs will not benefit from new energy regs' 

He wrote:

'Tens of thousands of people living in some of England’s most poorly insulated houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) will not benefit from new standards that will force landlords to make energy improvements. 

The regulations, first provided for in 2011 but only enacted last week, outlaw the letting of properties with the poorest energy ratings of ‘F’ and ‘G’ from 2018.

However, HMOs, defined as homes with three or more tenants who form more than one household, will be excluded. 

For a typical house, the difference in bills between the worst ‘G’ properties and the minimum ‘E’ standard is around £500 – a huge potential saving that many low-income homes will miss out on. 

Accurate figures for the number of ‘F’ and ‘G’ HMOs do not exist but there are estimated to be around 1 million in total in England, often in poor condition.

Andrew Eagles, managing director or Sustainable Homes, said: “Whilst these standards are undoubtedly a great step forward, the exclusion of HMOs from the regulations is a big disappointment.  With home ownership increasingly out of reach, many more people are faced with living in rented accommodation for longer, and that invariably means flatshares – many of which will not be covered. We really must show more ambition to banish homes that cost a fortune to run and needlessly add to carbon emissions.”

Alan Whitehead, MP for Southampton Test, has raised the issue in parliament. He said: “It’s good news that these regulations have finally been laid - they will make a considerable difference to the welfare of tenants who are privately renting their homes. However, we have to acknowledge that these regulations will not cover many people. The failure to bring HMOs within the scope of this legislation will leave a substantial amount of the private rented sector unprotected against leaky, cold properties.

“I’ve recently been trying to amend the primary legislation to cover HMOs with a Private Members’ Bill but it’s a problem that will need urgently addressing by the next government.”'