New plans in the government’s Energy Bill mean landlords could be forced to renovate the least energy-efficient homes. Surely great news for tenants, but will it mean there are fewer rental properties on the market?
I used to live in a house with a hole in it. Not a big hole, but big enough that a draught blew through the lounge and meant we had to huddle under blankets or turn our heating up. I’d spoken to my landlady about it, who said it wasn’t worth her money to fix it. Of course it wasn’t – she didn’t have to pay our gas bill!
Draughty houses left out in the cold
We’ve spoken before about people who turn the heating up to 24 degrees because “all our bills are included in rent!” but what about tenants who pay their own bills? They can turn lights off left, right and centre to save electricity, but can’t do much about draughty or poorly insulated homes without spending money.
That’s why I’m delighted that the government is planning to ban people from renting houses that fall into the lowest energy efficiency band.
Under measures discussed this week, landlords with houses that fall into the F or G band of energy efficiency will be forced to refurbish them before they can be rented out.
Jim’ll fix it, but your landlord won’t
We discussed renting recently, and one of the things that most frustrated tenants was the failure of landlords to fix things on time, or at all.
If you’re paying £500 per month for a room in a house somewhere, the least you expect is for all the fixtures and fittings to work, and the walls not to fall down. I think this should also apply to energy efficiency measures.
Kaloki had similar problems to mine, with a draughty room and poor repairs:
‘The last straw was when we had that awful cold snap. It rained, and wind howled, and we discovered that the reason our bedroom was always cold […] underneath the bedroom window was a hole that ran the width of the window, was an inch high, and led straight outside.
‘We hadn’t noticed it previously as it had been covered by a piece of wood, glued on and painted to match the windowsill.’
Jo G is worried that making landlords jump through hoops could cause different problems:
‘I’ve just seen today that an MP has called for a register of private landlords which would mean landlords not keeping properties up to scratch would be struck off the register and unable to rent. Though I’m sure this would lead to some sort of sub-prime rental market.’
It’s possible that some landlords will choose not to renovate their property, especially if the new measures are expensive. But the Green Deal proposals mean that landlords shouldn’t have to pay the upfront costs of energy-saving improvements, as the cost of these will be covered by the savings made on energy bills, no matter who pays them.
Do you think landlords being forced to make energy-savings improvements is a good idea? Personally I’m all for it – tenants pay a lot of money for housing, and although you do get what you pay for, there are far too many tenants living in poor conditions due to landlords who don’t want to pay for repairs.