According to Shelter there are 9,000,000 of us in the UK that privately rent a property, and with house prices out of budget for many this number will continue to grow.
A recent survey of landlords and tenants revealed shocking statistics and incorrect information about your right to switch if you rent your property.
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In a survey of tenants and private landlords, uSwitch.com uncovered the extent to which tenants are not acting on their right to switch, or are being blocked from doing so by landlords. uSwitch has created a manifesto calling for actions that will help UK renters save money on their energy bills, and landlords understand the restrictions around tenants and energy suppliers.
The research in general highlights how confused landlords and tenants alike are surrounding renters and their rights to switch supplier.
Ofgem, the energy regulator, states that renters who are responsible for paying their energy bills are allowed to switch supplier and that landlords and letting agents cannot unreasonably prevent them from doing so. A ‘preferred supplier’ clause can be used in rental agreements, but tenants are under no obligation to use the named provider.
- More than one in ten (13%) landlords admit denying private tenants their right to switch energy supplier, adding at least £161 million to renters’ bills
- A fifth (19%) of landlords with three or more properties have prevented a tenant from switching
- Over a third (36%) of landlords incorrectly believe naming a ‘preferred supplier’ in rental agreements means they can stop renters switching
- Landlords also cite a high turnover of tenants and even late rental payments as excuses to stop tenants changing energy provider
- 230,000 renters (5%) who haven’t switched said it was because their tenancy agreement prohibits it
- uSwitch.com is calling for an urgent review of misleading contract terms and improved training for landlords to help tenants reduce sky-high energy bills.
Did you know you could switch as a renter?
If you’re a cash-strapped renter and already believe you are paying too much for rent and bills, you could save a considerable amount a year by running a comparison to switch your energy provider.
Ann Robinson, Director of Consumer Policy at uSwitch.com, says:
“With a £339 difference between the average standard tariff and the cheapest deal, there has never been a more important time to help the growing population of renters tackle the sky-high cost of energy.
“Given that tenants are half as likely to switch as homeowners, any measures to break down the barriers and encourage them to take more control of their energy will reduce bills by millions.”