Private renters in poor quality homes face £1,000 higher costs to heat their homes
Three quarters of a million private renters are stuck in the coldest and draughtiest homes, new Citizens Advice analysis reveals.
To heat their homes to a comfortable standard, these tenants face spending £1000 more than the national average on their energy bills - but are reliant on landlords to make cost-saving improvements.
Citizens Advice analysis reveals landlords could be raking in almost a quarter of a billion (£242 million) per month for letting out homes that will be freezing cold in the winter.
Some 750,000 private tenants are thought to be living in over 300,000 properties in England with the worst energy efficiency ratings of F and G. These renters face more problems with damp, lack of central heating and poor insulation.
Renters living in band F and G homes:
Are twice as likely to suffer from damp than any other properties
Half a million have no access to central heating or storage heaters
Nearly two thirds have no wall insulation
Less than half have modern condensing boilers, which have been mandatory for any new or replacement installations since 2005
The average private rent for F and G band properties in England is £174 per week. In addition to this, energy bills are often very expensive in these homes.
Those currently living in the lowest, G rated, properties face spending £2,600 a year to keep warm - more than twice as high as the national average (£1,210), according to research from the Association for the Conservation of Energy.
The Energy Act 2011 introduced a legal requirement for all rented properties to have an energy efficient rating of at least Band E by 2020. All new tenancies must meet Band E standards by 2018.
However, regulations introduced last year means landlords don’t have to take any action that costs them an upfront fee.
Citizens Advice says the government should make landlords carry out improvements costing less than £5,000 that will take homes up to the minimum Band E standard. It also says a new fund - paid for by the stamp duty levy - could be set up to help landlords pay for more expensive improvements.
Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said:
“Thousands of private tenants face a bleak winter in cold and draughty homes.
“Not only do they suffer more problems with damp and poor heating, these private renters also pay way over the odds on energy bills to keep warm. But with private tenants footing the cost of heating, landlords have little incentive to make upgrades.
“Our research reveals that many landlords still have a long way to go to bring the worst energy wasting homes up to scratch - so it’s vital the government takes action to insist that all landlords who can afford to - raise standards in the homes they let.
“If people are happy to take on the role of a landlord - they need to be responsible enough to make sure the property is safe, comfortable and fairly priced.”
Citizens Advice also proposes setting up a new energy improvement fund to help landlords with improvements costing more than £5,000. This fund would be paid for by increasing the stamp duty levy on buy-to-let homes to 4%. This would raise over £200 million to be used for efficiency improvements. The fund could also incentivise landlords to make further improvements that would take their property rating up to Band C.
Notes to editors
- Where not otherwise indicated, all figures taken from analysis of the most recent English Housing Survey.
- Average required energy expenditure taken from Association for the Conservation of Energy http://www.ukace.org/tag/energy-bill-revolution/ The average required energy expenditure across the housing stock is £1,210. In F-rated homes it is £2,140, and in G-rated homes it is £2,670 - over twice the national average.
- Citizens Advice calculates the average rent in band F and G properties to be 2.5% lower than the average in the private rented sector, giving an estimate of £174 per week.
- The requirement for minimum energy efficiency standards in private rented properties by 2018 was introduced in the 2011 Energy Act and is implemented through the Private Rented Sector Energy Efficiency Regulations (Domestic), a statutory instrument introduced just before the end of the last parliament in 2015.
- A fuel poor household is defined as one that needs to spend more than 10% of its income to heat its home to an adequate standard of warmth (21°C in the living room and 18°C in the other occupied rooms, as recommended by the World Health Organisation) https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/538906/Fuel_and_Energy_Final_Jan_2013v2.pdf
- The Citizens Advice service comprises a network of local Citizens Advice, all of which are independent charities, the Citizens Advice consumer service and national charity Citizens Advice. Together we help people resolve their money, legal and other problems by providing information and advice and by influencing policymakers. For more see the Citizens Advice website.
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