Two thirds of private renters need much stronger energy efficiency standards if they are to enjoy warmer homes that are affordable to heat and free of damp and mould. That’s what our latest research with the Generation Rent Renters’ Panel finds.
Installing insulation and other improvements improves a property’s value but landlords are leaving their tenants to put up with cold and draughty homes. Even the £5000 Green Homes Grant the government introduced in September has not nudged landlords into action.
As well as higher legal standards, tenants need incentives to demand improvements. Right now many don’t know if they will stay long enough to benefit from improvements and worry that their landlord would raise the rent if they made improvements. Tenancy reform is needed to give renters confidence to ask for improvements, and the ability to claim back rent if their landlord leaves them with an inefficient home.
Yesterday the Department for Energy and Climate Change finally laid down regulations arising from the 2013 Energy Act which seek to drive up energy efficiency in the private rented sector and bring down fuel poverty as a result.
Just before Christmas, as the weather got colder and government released its latest update on the fuel poverty statistics, there was still no news for private renters who need clarity about the detail of minimum energy efficiency standards in the PRS.
The statistics showed that one in five private rented households are officially fuel poor, and that the average ‚Äòfuel poverty gap’ – the amount of money needed for a household to escape fuel poverty – is highest for private renters.
Despite these worrying trends, there is, in theory at least, some light at the end of the tunnel – but delays in implementing the policy need to be quickly remedied for that to be realised.
Richard Kay is Communications Manager at the Energy Saving Trust, an organisation helping householders, governments, businesses and organisations save energy every day.
Tenants find it harder to heat their homes than owner occupiers and are the most concerned about their energy bills, according to research from the Energy Saving Trust.
Living in a home that is easy-to-heat, and free of damp and mould should be a basic right, yet it is estimated that there are 400,000 privately rented homes in England with an F or G energy performance rating – almost the same number of households in Birmingham. As winter approaches Caroline Flint’s declaration of war on cold homes couldn’t be more welcome.
Last week we revealed that many private renters are living in damp, cold and mouldy properties, with no expectation their landlord will pay for home improvements after our public opinion tracker UK Pulse also finding that renters are more concerned about their energy bills compared to owner occupiers. In light of these findings, we are urging landlords to look at ways they can improve the EPC rating of their properties.
Today sees the first major public lobby of the new parliament, with up to 8000 people descending on the House of Commons from across the country to speak to their MPs about climate change.
Renters should be interested in this because the number one domestic policy demand will be ‚ÄòWarm homes for all’ – and this means making energy efficiency an infrastructure spending priority, as our friends the Energy Bill Revolution have called for in the run-up to the General Election.