Thousands of tenants in the UK are paying over the odds for their heating bills because landlords are failing to ensure their properties are energy efficient.
New research from Citizens Advice revealed that some 300,000 rented properties in the UK have the worst energy efficiency ratings of F and G, with up to 750,000 people affected by living in cold, damp properties as a result.
According to the organisation, those living in such homes will need to pay around £2,600 per year on heating bills, more than double the national average of £1,210.
Although the government introduced a legal requirement of all rented properties to be rated at least E in energy efficiency terms, this does not come into force until 2020, meaning landlords don’t need to do anything in the near term.
Chief executive of Citizens Advice Gillian Guy commented: “It’s vital that the government takes action to insist that all landlords who can afford to – raise standards in the homes they let.”
One of the proposals put forward by the organisation is that the government set up a fund to help landlords with limited financial resources cover the cost of these improvements. It argues that some of the money raised by the higher levy on stamp duty for buy-to-let properties could be diverted for this purpose.
Meanwhile, research published by Age UK has revealed that those over the age of 65 who live in private rented accommodation are frequently faced by terrible conditions, including cold and damp, with landlords unwilling to carry out essential maintenance and repairs on the likes of heating and cookers.
The charity also pointed out that landlords often increase rents after carrying out necessary work to a property, which forces people to look for alternative accommodation.
Although it’s not possible for those in private rented accommodation to carry out the required work to make a home energy efficient, such as paying for boiler repairs or replacement boilers, the Daily Mirror reveals there are some things that tenants can do to reduce their heating bills.
Among them is switching energy providers or at least switching to a cheaper tariff, which tenants are legally entitled to do, and opting for online billing when you do so as many energy providers offer discounts or preferential rates to consumers who move away from paper billing.
The newspaper also stresses the importance of making sure any meter readings provided are accurate, and suggests looking into having a smart meter fitted at the property.
These are free to install, regardless of which supplier you use, and while they are not suitable in certain properties – particularly flats where the smart meter display needs to be within range of the main electricity or gas meter for the property – they can save you money if you can have them fitted.
Smart meters provide you with information about exactly how much energy you’re using at a given time, allowing you to manage your energy usage more effectively and ensuring that you always receive accurate bills, as data is automatically and regularly sent to the supplier from the meter so you won’t need to provide meter readings.
For further information and advice about plumbing issues, call us at Nottingham boiler repairs company Home Services Assistance today.