DECC has today announced that 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.
Note to editors
• A public consultation was carried out between 22 July and 2 September 2014 which sought views across England and Wales on the detail of the regulations. The consultation response can be found on gov.uk for both the domestic sector and the non-domestic sector.
• Tenants can find out if they are eligible for government support schemes by contacting:
• Energy Saving Advice Service on 0300 123 1234 (open Mon-Fri 0900-2000, Sat 1000-1400); or
• Home Energy Scotland on 0800 808 2282 (open Mon-Fri 0800-2000, Sat 0900-1700).
Jenny Saunders, CEO of the fuel poverty charity National Energy Action (NEA), commented:
“The private rented sector contains a high proportion of fuel poor tenants and many properties are not currently fit to rent out. We hope the introduction of the new regulations can help landlords drive up standards in the sector, deliver more affordable fuel bills as well as reducing carbon emissions”.
John Alker, Acting CEO of the UK Green Building Council said:
“This is the single most important piece of green legislation to affect our homes and buildings that has been introduced in the whole of this Parliament.
“Government deserves huge credit for sticking to its guns as it provides the impetus needed to upgrade our worst-performing, most energy-hungry rented properties and will help to kick-start a multi-million pound market in energy efficiency products and services in the UK.”
Ian Fletcher, Director of Real Estate at the British Property Federation said:
“Since Royal Assent on the Energy Bill 2011 the property industry has been working constructively with the Government on what form the regulations will take, and today’s announcement is another welcome step on the road to giving the industry certainty on the detail and method of introduction of this policy.”
Richard Lambert, CEO of the National Landlords Association said:
“The Government has struck a delicate balance between making clear what is expected and ensuring that there is a realistic prospect of landlords being able to comply.
“Setting the standard at a sensible rather than aspirational level, allowing time to achieve it and granting exemptions if the necessary improvements cannot be funded through the Green Deal or other government subsidies means that these new regulations will not impose an unreasonable burden. Indeed, where a landlord is in a position to undertake improvements, there will be no good reason not to.
“The NLA actively encourages landlords to improve the energy efficiency of their properties because it’s good business practice: a warm tenant is a happy tenant.”