A PropTech firm is warning that well over two million private rental sector households could be in fuel poverty by the end of this year.
Kamma says private rental tenants will be hit hardest by the energy price cap increase and the resulting rise in fuel poverty.
It calculates some 2.3m private tenants, and 1.6m social housing tenants, will be in this category by the end of 2022.
Kamma claims that in the last 10 years, the social sector has been able to more than halve fuel poverty, from 40 per cent of its tenants to 18.7 per cent.
But fuel poverty in the private sector has reduced by only a third from 36.7 per cent to 25 per cent.
A statement from the PropTech firm says: “The £3.8 billion Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund will continue this success, yet there is no equivalent available to support the larger number of fuel-poor tenants found in the private rental sector.
“The fragmentation of the PRS also continues to be a major barrier to change in the sector. With over 2.65m individual landlords struggling to navigate the support options available, and councils struggling to regulate them.
“They have either not been able to, or are not motivated enough, to improve energy efficiency for their tenants: 64 per cent are at Energy Efficiency Rating D or below, compared to 42 per cent in the social sector.”
New regulations - the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards - will force landlords to speed up energy efficiency installations in the PRS, but it will lead to huge bills for landlords to pay and Kamma suggests that the government’s £9.1 billion rebate that cuts bills for most of the country in the short term could be better spent on improving the energy efficiency of those most at risk across all sectors.
Analysis run by Kamma shows that this would prevent over three million of the poorest households from falling into fuel poverty, cutting the total in half.
The PropTech platform’s chief executive Orla Shields explains: “The lack of accessible financial support for private landlords trying to implement energy efficiency upgrades has resulted in high levels of fuel poverty in the sector. To close the fuel poverty gap between the different housing sectors, a new approach is needed that not only targets those in social housing but focuses on the ones most in need across all sectors.”