MPs and members of the House of Lords want private sector 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 the All Party Parliamentary Group for the private rented sector.
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 MPs and Peers, should also look at establishing new tariffs targeted at those less well-off customers.
“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” says the group’s chair, Conservative MP Oliver Colvile.
“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.