Up to 1 million tenants renting from a private landlord can look forward to warmer homes that cost less to heat, under new government plans.
This is welcome news for tenants, especially low-income and vulnerable households, many of whom are paying over the odds to heat their homes.
From April 2018, landlords will be required by law to get their leakiest properties to an energy efficiency rating of at least Band “E”. Estimates suggest that on average the difference in a heating bill from the least energy efficient properties and those with an energy rating Band “E” is £880.
Fuel poor households living in the least efficient privately-rented homes already need to spend on average around £1,000 more to keep warm compared to the average home.
Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Edward Davey said:
“These new laws will plug the gaps in draughty homes – helping households to keep warm and drive down bills.
“Many of the poorest tenants will benefit and, with government support, landlords can improve their properties at no upfront cost.
“It’s good news all round and yet another way we’re taking action to ensure that cold homes with bloated energy bills become a thing of the past.”
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State Amber Rudd said:
“One million homes are already warmer and cheaper to heat as a result of government policies, but we’re not stopping there.
“These new regulations will drive bills down in some of the worst-insulated homes where up to 1 million tenants are paying too much to keep warm. It’s also good news for landlords, who can benefit from improved properties with the financial support of the Green Deal and other schemes, and a real boost to the industry.”
Financial support is available through the Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation, which together have improved over 1 million homes in less than two years. This means landlords don’t necessarily have to foot the bill for installing new boilers and insulation measures to improve the energy efficiency of their properties – and landlords will only have to make improvements that are cost effective.
What’s more tenants won’t have to wait for the April 2018 deadline to get their homes up to scratch. From April 2016 they will have the right to request consent for improvements to make their homes more comfortable, and easier and cheaper to keep warm, and the landlord cannot unreasonably refuse.
The government is also drawing up plans for a £25 million fund to support the installation of first-time central heating systems in off-grid households. This is on top of an investment of over half a billion pounds over three years to get Britain’s homes warmer and leaking less energy. The government will also be announcing its Fuel Poverty Strategy soon.