Negligent landlords who rent out energy inefficient properties trap tenants in higher fuel bills, says Citizens Advice.
Tenants who live in the coldest privately rented homes that haemorrhage heat through the walls, windows and doors are trapped into higher fuel bills because they rely on landlords to make their properties energy efficient.
Citizens Advice and Friends of the Earth have called on private landlords and Government to take action on energy inefficient homes that are costing tenants hundreds of pounds a year in wasted energy.
According to the Energy Saving Trust (EST), around 680,000 private tenants who live in the coldest homes (those in with an energy rating of F or G) fork out on average £488 per year on wasted energy and over 40% of these tenants are in fuel poverty.
Landlords are currently required to have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). The certificate rates a property’s energy performance from A to G and can give you an idea of how expensive it will be to keep warm and how it can be improved.
From 2018, it will be an offence for landlords to let or market a property that falls below an EPC rating of Band E. Citizens Advice is urging the government to bring this forward to 2016, a move it says would save tenants in the worst insulated properties up to £1,000.
“People are desperate to make their fuel bills cheaper, but if you live in a privately rented home there is a limit on what you can do to stop heat seeping from the property and racking up a huge energy bill,” said Gillian Guy, chief executive at Citizens Advice.
“Rising rent and hikes in fuel costs are busting many people’s budgets. So landlords need to speak to their tenants about what they can do together to make their home warmer – and their fuel bills cheaper.”
Citizens Advice says that, depending on their circumstances, private tenants may be entitled to free or heavily discounted insulation. As the tenant pays the fuel bills, it’s the tenant who would get the free insulation. However, an insulated property benefits the landlord by adding value to their property.
To get insulation installed, tenants will need written permission from their landlord but, in many cases, Citizens Advice says the supplier can apply for this on the tenant’s behalf.
Tenants should check with their energy supplier, or see if there are any government or local authority schemes they may be eligible for. Or check the Energy Trust’s website