A new report from online letting agent PropertyLetByUs.com claims that a third of private tenants are paying for energy efficiency improvements to their rental properties.
As of 1st April, landlords cannot unreasonably refuse consent for tenants to make energy efficiency improvements to their properties. However, the work’s funding is still the tenant’s responsibility.
In addition to this law, landlords will be legally obliged to bring their properties up to a minimum Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of E by 2018.
Third of Private Tenants Paying for Energy Efficiency Improvements
However, PropertyLetByUs has found that already, one in six private tenants have paid for roof insulation, 7% have paid for double-glazing, and 92% have funded draft excluders for windows and doors. Worryingly, a further 71% have paid for their boiler to be repaired.
The research found that a huge 88% of private tenants want their landlord to install a more fuel efficient boiler, while 78% want their draughty front door replaced, 72% want more loft insulation and 48% want double-glazed windows installed.
Under the legislation that came into force on 1st April this year, if a tenant requests energy efficiency improvements and the landlord does not give consent, the landlord could be issued a fine.
Homes with EPC ratings of F and G will be progressively banned from the property market, starting with private rental housing. It will become a legal requirement for private rental properties to have an EPC rating of E or above from 2018 in England and Wales. The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) estimates that a total of 330,000 rental homes are likely to be affected.
Although the Government claims that landlords will have to spend between £1,800-£5,000 to bring their properties up to an E rating, PropertyLetByUs is concerned that tenants may be forced to fund the improvements.
The Managing Director of PropertyLetByUs, Jane Morris, says: “Our research shows that it is falling on tenants to pay for energy improvements to their rented properties, which is simply unacceptable. Many tenants are finding that their landlords are refusing to make improvements to the property, leaving tenants no choice but to dip into their own pockets.
“Tenants should not have to pay for roof insulation and repairs to old boilers, when it is the landlord’s responsibility. The Government has recently given guidelines on the costs with a typical package of measures for a small semi. Gas central heating and low energy lighting is estimated at £4,000, loft insulation at £300 and cavity wall insulation at about £500. The Government will need to put measures in place to ensure that landlords are compliant, or the financial burden on tenants could be even greater.”
Morris adds: “Landlords should comply with the current legislation that requires them to make energy efficiency improvements and they also should start improving their properties if they have an EPC rating of F or G, so they are brought up to the required standard by 2018.”
Landlords, remember that you must not unreasonably deny your tenants permission to make energy efficiency improvements, but you should start thinking about the changes you might need to make to your property ahead of the law change in 2018.