Landlords Must Keep Homes Energy Efficient: New Plea

Landlords Must Keep Homes Energy Efficient: New Plea
  • Opening Intro -

    Fuel-poor households should be helped by the government, particularly in terms of using political will to force landlords to make rented homes energy efficient, attendees reported at a recent Manchester conference on cold homes and high energy bills.

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The conference was organized by the No More Cold Homes campaign, a group aimed at cutting fuel poverty in the UK, which offered people the chance to ask questions of key politicians.

Jonathan Reynolds MP, Shadow Secretary for Energy and Climate Change, was asked why landlords have no incentive to keep homes energy efficient, meaning that tenants often have no choice but to pay high energy bills. Houses and flats with poor energy efficiency ratings are on the rental market all over the UK. Many people have no choice but to live in these properties, because landlords are not required to maintain the energy efficiency of their property to a particular level.

Energy Performance Certificates

Every building up for rent or sale in the UK must have an EPC – an Energy Performance Certificate – for example from epcuk.org. The Energy Performance Certificate is given to a building after a check has been made of the factors that influence energy efficiency; insulation, double glazing, etc. Tenants can look at the EPC of a property to see how much they are likely to pay in fuel bills. But landlords do not face any particular penalties or are not given incentives in order to improve the energy efficiency of the building – if a tenant doesn’t want to move in, they don’t have to, say landlords. It would be beneficial to tenants, lobbyists say, for landlords to be forced to make changes to energy efficiency before anyone could rent their property.

Energy Costs Soar

Landlords were not the only ones under fire. Most of the people in attendance at the conference agreed that recent governments had not done enough to improve the energy efficiency of buildings – draughty, poorly-insulated homes cost the country £6 billion in heating every year, according to experts.

What Can You Do?

While legislation is still being debated, prospective tenants should check the Energy Performance Certificate of the property and also look at how the building’s heating and lighting systems are maintained. For example:

  • How is the house heated? Gas heating is more energy efficient and cheaper to run. Check that the landlord has left maintenance guides to the boiler and heating systems so you can easily change the controls and only heat the rooms you need to heat, and to the right temperature.
  • Is the loft insulated? Insulation in the roof is one of the best ways to prevent heat escaping from the home and will cut down your heating bills.
  • Are the walls insulated?
  • Are the windows double-glazed? Double-glazed windows save hundreds of pounds in heating costs every year. If you need to choose between a home without and a home with double-glazing, the double-glazed home has significant points in its favour.
  • Is the boiler new? The newer the home’s boiler, the better for your heating bills and the overall energy efficiency of the property.
  • Is the home draughty? Feel around the windows and doors for cold air coming in from outside. A draughty home will be less comfortable in the winter and contribute to a rise in heating bills.

Image courtesy of dan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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