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Renting? How the Green Deal will give tenants new powers

Could your landlord be made to pay?

Tenants to be given powers to make their homes more energy efficient

Renters could see their homes made warmer as landlords are encouraged to take up the Green Deal.

In my old house, my housemates and I suffered from enormous energy bills, especially in the winter. I felt strongly at the time that this was mainly due to our windows being old, thin, and falling apart which allowed drafts to breeze straight in whenever the wind blew.

Every time we put the heating on, there was a little for us – and a good deal more for the outdoors. Plus, we had no insulation, which was potentially costly – insulation cuts as much as £310** off energy bills for the average home.

After shelling out for disproportionately large energy bills, we decided the best thing would be to ask our landlord whether he would consider some energy-saving upgrades. Perhaps some double glazing, we suggested. Or loft insulation?

The answer was a resounding no.  After all, we didn’t own the house so it wasn’t really our choice, was it? Right? Wrong.

Well, soon to be wrong. The government scheme known as the Green Deal plans to obligate landlords to install energy efficient measures at the behest of their tenants. Unfortunately, this isn’t planned until 2016.

The Green Deal is effectively a loan your energy suppliers will be required to give you so that you can pay to make your home more energy efficient. The key to it is that you won’t pay back on that loan more than the savings you make on your energy bills. So, effectively, you are always saving money.

It’s worth it for the landlords – any rental properties found to have an Energy Performance Rating of F or G rated after 2018 will be deemed unfit to let under the new legislation, and tenants will be effectively paying it back in their bills whilst simultaneously saving on their energy use.

It’s a clear way to make energy efficiency measures both more affordable and attractive as the UK hurtles towards its carbon emissions targets, plus it’s something landlords appear to be embracing. According to the National Landlords Association (NLA)’s latest Landlord Panel, 56% of landlords said they are willing to install energy-efficient measures.

However, a third of them still haven’t even heard of the Green Deal, which is worrying as its due to launch in October and they will eventually have to improve their homes energy rating.

David Salusbury, Chairman of the NLA, said:

“Whilst our research shows that many landlords are keen to take advantage of the Green Deal, a third of landlords are not yet aware of the initiative. We encourage landlords to become familiar with the Green Deal as the private-rented sector has a key role to play in ensuring Britain meets its energy targets

“Furthermore, it is imperative that landlords future-proof their properties and their investments. The Green Deal is their opportunity to improve the quality of their properties and demonstrate their ability to engage with government initiatives without the burden of further regulation. If landlords don’t act now, they may find their property cannot be legally let come 2018.”

Learn more: 

Energy Performance Certificate – What is an EPC? Find out how your house is rated.

Green Deal – Everything you need to know about the Green Deal.

Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG)

** Figures from the Energy Saving Trust. For loft insulation these are estimates based on insulating a gas-heated, semi-detached home with three bedrooms, showing savings when you insulate an uninsulated loft, and when you top up 100mm of insulation to 270mm. (The recommended depth for mineral wool insulation is 270mm but other materials need different depths.)
For cavity wall insulation these are estimated figures based on insulating a gas-heated, semi-detached home with three bedrooms. The installed cost includes a subsidy of around £250 available from the major energy suppliers under the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT)
  • I reckon this is a pretty good move. It must be frustrating as a tenant to know that your energy bills are as high as they are because the landlord refuses to make the property more energy efficient. In the case where the EPC grade is an F or below then it is pretty much inexcusable.

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  • Landlords…

    An increase in the energy performance will almost definitely lead to a landlord increasing rent therefore negating the increase in energy performance in the first place surely?

    I have the problem that I’m moving into an ‘F’ rated property in which the landlords seem incapable or unwilling to improve the energy rating. If we were to propose the green deal as tenants, I don’t really see a way that we would benefit from this, we would be the ones paying for it and experiences in the past lead me to believe that the landlord would increase rent so we would be forced to move out, starting the whole cycle again!

    If the tenant is responsible for the energy then the landlord must have restrictions proposed on the rent increases, otherwise we will pay the bills and then be priced out of our property.