MPs and Peers are calling for tenants to be given clearer up-front information on the cost of all utility Bills before signing a tenancy agreement as well as about their right to change energy suppliers
Schemes to improve the energy efficiency of private rented housing are too complex leading to a large number of properties unlikely to meet energy rating requirements by the 2018 deadline according to a cross party group of MPs and Peers.
In a report published today, the All Party Parliamentary Group for the private rented sector concludes that there is significant work to be done to support the sector to meet Government targets.
From April 2018, all privately rented properties will be required to have a minimum energy performance rating of E on an Energy Performance Certificate. This is likely to pose significant challenges given that privately rented homes are generally older and harder to treat than properties in other tenures.
The report concludes that landlords, local authorities and energy companies need to better co-ordinate their efforts to identify vulnerable tenants who will most benefit from energy efficiency improvements.
To tackle the problem the Group is calling for incentives for landlords to implement energy efficiency improvements through being able to offset costs against rental income.
It also says that prospective tenants should be given clearer up-front information on the likely cost of all utility Bills prior to entering a tenancy agreement as well as about their right to change energy suppliers.
Energy companies, according to the Group, should also look at establishing new tariffs targeted at those less well-off customers.
Commenting on the report’s findings the Group’s Chairman, Oliver Colvile MP, said:
“The Government has set ambitious targets for improvements to the energy efficiency of private rented housing and rightly so.
“To meet these it is clear that much clearer information is needed for both landlords and tenants to understand their rights and responsibilities and the help available to improve the energy efficiency of the rental housing stock.
“Tenants especially need much clearer information on their rights to change energy suppliers whilst energy companies, local authorities and landlords need to do more together to identify vulnerable tenants in need of most help to keep the cost of their Bills down.”
The inquiry’s report has been compiled following two oral evidence sessions and received written evidence from over 30 organisations.
1. The secretariat to the APPG for the Private Rented Sector is provided by the Residential Landlords Association.
2. This report is not an official publication of the House of Commons or the House of Lords. It has not been approved by either House or its committees. All-Party Parliamentary Groups are informal groups of Members of both Houses with a common interest in particular issues. They are not official committees of either the House of Lords or Commons. The views expressed in this report are those of the Group.
3. The APPG is chaired by Oliver Colvile MP (Conservative, Plymouth Sutton and Devonport). Vice-chairs are Karen Buck MP (Labour, Westminster North); Mark Prisk MP (Conservative, Hertford and Stortford); Marie Rimmer MP (Labour, St Helens South and Whiston) and Lord Whitty of Camberwell (Labour).
4. From 1st April 2018, all privately rented properties will be required to have a minimum energy performance rating of E on an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC), and this is expected to pose significant challenges to older, and therefor harder to treat, properties.
5. Combined with the Government’s decisions not to renew the Landlord Energy Savings Allowance and to end funding for the Green Deal Company, the Group launched this inquiry to consider the impact of these decisions and other relevant policy developments on energy efficiency improvements in the private rented sector. Consideration has been given to what new policies could be developed to support the sector within the Government’s overall ambitions for household energy efficiency.
6. A full copy of the report, with its executive summary, can be accessed here