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Landlords ‘should cover tenant fuel bills for some weeks’ - surprise call

A surprising call has come from a major industry supplier - it wants landlords to set up standing orders with their tenants to make sure energy bills are covered. 

Richard Wayman, finance director of CIA Landlord Insurance, says:“The rising cost of bills is a worry for many people. For both landlords who pay out for bills, and for tenants that cover their own, the extra cost will undoubtedly cause some tension with pressure on both sides to help with their fair share without the burden falling too heavily for either side. 

“Landlords and tenants should work together to make sure that neither party will be struggling in the coming months. 

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“There have been reports of landlords asking tenants to pay the lump sum of hundreds with energy prices going up. However, if this is the case then landlord’s should make sure that any government rebates are going back into the pockets of their tenants.

“Where possible, if a tenant is concerned about how they will be able to pay for the lump sum, landlord’s could set up standing orders with their tenants to make sure the energy bill is covered over a number of weeks/months in order to make sure the tenant is not left struggling to afford their living essentials.”

Wayman says many people have already been asked to pay a lump sum extra on top of their bills, leaving them struggling to make ends meet. 

A statement from CIA Landlord Insurance says: “Unlike for the standard homeowner, the question of where the responsibility lies for this lump sum is not as clear for landlords, or their tenants.Reports have shown that tenants are concerned that landlords will either demand the lump sum up front, or take the council tax rebate for themselves and then hike up the rent.”

  

Meanwhile Sarah Coles, personal finance analyst at business consultancy Hargreaves Lansdown,  has identified tenants as one of three groups most at risk as a result of the increasing energy and other costs.

She says: “Renters, parents and divorcees are set to face horrible challenges as prices rise. Those on the lowest incomes were most likely to struggle, but those who rent a property, have children living at home, or are trying to recover financially after a divorce also face a real risk of hitting a brick wall financially after massive bill hikes.”

The latest Hargreaves Lansdown Savings and Resilience Barometer, a measure of personal finance produced with Oxford Economics, found that fewer than one in five people on the lowest incomes have enough money left over at the end of the month to be comfortable.

Specifically, she suggests that three in five renters don’t have enough wiggle room in their budgets to face price rises with confidence, and single people are half as likely to be resilient as couples.

Those with outstanding mortgages have more than those paying rent, according to Cole, who says rents absorb a much larger proportion of income – at 31 per cent compared to the 18 per cent that mortgage holders pay.

Want to comment on this story? If so...if any post is considered to victimise, harass, degrade or intimidate an individual or group of individuals on any basis, then the post may be deleted and the individual immediately banned from posting in future.

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    If suppliers feel so strongly for tenants they can supply them with a credit line so they make bills easier. Its amazing how everything must be provided by the landlord / have they forgotten the government ?

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    Landlords that have any dealings with those, a great time to dump their worthless Policy’s.

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    I think Hargreaves Lansdowne are wrong. Only two groups are at risk. Tenants and non-tenants.

    What happened to we're all in this together?

    My contribution will be to keep rents stable for good tenants and not ask them to subsidise my own 54% rise on energy costs.

    Suzy OShea

    (St) Robert Brown

    And what happens when the rise goes above 54%?

    Lockdown also kept everyone house bound and consequently using more energy. From last summer to this spring, before the prices rose, extra energy consumption had caused a 44% increase in utility bills. This was covered by the provisions I had already made with a monthly figure in the rent of £60.

    Then in the spring my monthly payments rose by £255 in the price guarantee scheme I got for one year. How is this an increase of 54%. This has nearly doubled my utilities bill. So I am obliged to pass on this monthly increase to the tenants with the warning that if they waste energy unnecessarily and spend more than the new monthly provision of £118 per month they will have to pay the difference.

     
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    Suzy

    I meant my own domestic energy costs.

    Fortunately I don't have any rental properties where I am responsible for tenants' energy bills but I have every sympathy for landlords who are and they are fully entitled to raise rents to cover such extra costs.

    Our loony SNP "government" has banned Scottish LL andlords from raising rents more than once a year so any rent increases now will need to be higher than currently required to fund the inevitable further rises in energy costs due in October. Another unexpected outcome from an ill thought out policy.

     
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    What next? British Airways pay for passenger's flights? Tui pay for holidaymaker's summer holidays?
    What a ridiculous suggestion. Get real.

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    Yet again, landlords are expected to finance the tenant. Who finances the landlord? They will also be struggling to pay their own increases.
    Tenants already have the opportunity to have prepayment meters ( with landlords permission) in order that they can manage their bills. Like the rest of us they will have to further manage.
    I already have a tenant receiving UC, under notice of eviction, paying only 2/3 of his rent as that is the LHA, with rent arrears already at £11,000, ongoing legal fees all of which are 'government directives' (pandemic rent 'holidays', 6mths notice as I am in Wales, tenant advised to stay until evicted). Landlords provide homes but cannot be expected to continually subsidise the tenant!!!

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    I'm totally confused by this article. Why is it felt tenants are in any way more affected by rising utility bills than anyone else?
    Tenants have far greater access to discretionary benefits than homeowners do.
    Tenants living in accomodation with included bills are protected for longer than other people from fuel price increases as rent can only be increased at the end of the fixed term or once a year after that.

    As a landlord I'm having conversations with tenants. I know some of mine hate Direct Debits but I've explained they're paying in some cases £100 a year extra by not having one. Why does the government allow that to be legal?

    Some of my HMO tenants have already asked if there's going to be a rent increase. Right now I'm trying a multi pronged approach whereby I experiment with some energy saving products, don't even look at increasing rents until the autumn (or hopefully not at all) and they try to cut usage.
    So far I've changed some light fittings, swapped to a heat pump tumble drier in one of the HMOs and installed a device that sends surplus solar electric to the immersion tank in houses with solar panels. Next step is solar panels and battery storage for at least one more of the HMOs.
    The tenants in a couple of HMOs have set the heating a bit lower and are analysing which appliances use the most power (I finally gave in and had a smart meter) and if they can realistically do anything with their usage pattern to lower energy consumption.

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    Totally agree, there is more help for tenants than homeowners!! Surely tenants are responsible for their own energy use? (except in those HMO's where its included with the monthly rent). So glad I got rid of my HMO's, where tenants would turn the heating up and then just open the windows if it was too hot for them rather than turn it down! And then go out leaving the heating on full blast. Surely this hike in energy costs will make HMO's even less worthwhile?

     
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    Simple answer to this one, a big fat NO !

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    If this were to be the case, who is going to make sure that the Landlord "is not left struggling to afford their living essentials.”?

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    This has to be a late April Fools............. some of these articles are just getting silly now.

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    Sarah Coles of Hargreaves’s Lansdowne states that rents are a bigger proportion of salary than mortgages. If this is the level of simplistic thinking that goes on then I feel sorry for any of their clients relying on their advice.

    A homeowner may pay a smaller mortgage, but that homeowner or landlord has to pay maintenance, repairs, buildings insurance, gas checks, EICR, LEtting fees, accounting fees (for landlords). Periodic decorating, wear and tear on floors and carpets. The list goes on.

    These comments (from so called experts) either come from a place of ignorance and incompetence, or are made to wilfully misinform - I’m not sure which is worse.

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    Hargreaver's Lansdowne experts ? now that is an April Fool

     
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    You are quite right. Suggesting rents are higher than mortgages is just another way of implying landlords are greedy. As you say, rent doesn't include safety checks, property maintenance including big ticket items like new boilers and roof repairs, or property insurance. Its so annoying.

     
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    And don't forget the initial deposit when buying the property, that had to come from somewhere.

     
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    Two words: F*ck Off. Ive had enough of these two bit parasites who are clueless and simply flap their gums.

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    • 04 April 2022 09:57 AM

    Is this a joke?

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    What a Dime Bar, why doesn't she give up some of her Salary and give it to a Tenant's Charity. Obviously couldn't think of anything useful to say.

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    I don't think rude and offensive words should be accepted in this forum. Good arguments win insults demean.

  • jeremy clarke

    Just writing to my mortgage company now asking them how much they are prepared to pay towards my utility bills. Once they have responded I will contact my tenants and offer the same assistance.

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    As a non homeowner paying rent, you are entitled to various benefits. As a landlord with over £16k in assets, you get nothing. People who have worked hard, been sensible with their money and saved, get no help. People who spend everything they've got, get help. Is that fair?

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    Mario is right as a Landlord we should be extremely courteous, polite well mannered, on our best behaviour butter everyone up be great full and bow your head, while they extract the peas (correct medical term not allowed went red).

  • Suzy OShea

    Who finds the title of this article misleading? When I first read it, it implied that the LLds would have to carry the increase in utilities for some weeks? Why should we do this?

    On a second reading there was the argument put forward that to cover the "lump sum of hundreds of pounds" some suppliers are demanding up front, the LLds should set up extra monthly direct debits for the tenants to cover this sum.

    Two questions, when utility companies buy in gas supplies a year in advance how are they allowed to demand extortionate up front fees to supply gas etc? Secondly, why should the LLds be responsible for paying this sum if the contract is between tenants and utility suppliers?

    Does anyone on here also regard this as yet another government stealth tax on consumers? Yes, the gas and electricity prices are rising but the government is allowing these utility companies to behave like bandits, robbing their customers blind, only to haul in huge amounts of money in windfall taxes on these companies, when it suits them so to do, say in a year. That will not lower the prices of utilities to previous levels for the benighted customers, but it will swell the coffers of the government in easy to collect taxes!

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    NEW RULES SOON FOR LANDLORDS
    You must also wipe your tenants bottoms,cook their meals, and do their shopping.
    You must clean the house weekly, also pick up the dog poo from their pets.
    As for me,I am selling up and going to let Boris house people!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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