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Rising energy costs hit private tenants the hardest

By David Holmes on May 21, 2012

New research has revealed that tenants in private housing tend to be the hardest hit when it comes to soaring gas and electricity bills. 

Conducted by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) the research has looked at how lifestyles and different types of dwelling can have a knock on effect on energy costs. Compared to homeowners, people renting in the private sector will pay an average of £31 more per year. It’s even higher in comparison to tenants living in social housing, with private renters spending an extra £90.

It appears that a lack of incentives to make it more attractive to landlords to upgrade their heating system or install better insulation is partly responsible. If you own your own home you’re more likely to be inclined to replace your old boiler with a new energy efficient model, fit cavity wall insulation or loft insulation.

The Green Deal, which is set to be introduced in the autumn, should go some way to rectifying the situation. The Government insulation scheme will see legislation introduced which will mean landlords will be obligated to make sure their properties are achieve a minimum level of energy efficiency.

The RICS research shows that energy inefficient electric heating is the biggest culprit when it comes to energy costs. Compared to gas central heating, tenants in properties with electric heating can see their bills be between £196 and £898 more a year. How tenants pay their bills is another contributing factor. Paying by direct debit compared to prepay meters is cheaper, with homes with meters likely to pay an extra £91.

“Those renting privately should expect the same standards in insulation and heating as homeowners and those in social housing. More needs to be done to ensure private rental property is fit for purpose and energy efficient,” said Jeremy Blackburn, RICS Head of UK Policy.

“It is important that the Green Deal effectively addresses this at a time when tenants across the country are struggling with high fuel bills and increasing rents.”