Campaigning charity Shelter has backed a call by consumer organisation Citizens Advice to seek government pledges that a £400 energy bill discount is passed on to all private tenants.
Some 585,000 renting households currently pay an all-inclusive some to their landlords - this obviously includes sums for gas and electricity, meaning the tenants’ names may not appear on individual bills.
“With predictions that high prices are set to be a feature of the energy market at least until well into next year, this creates fresh urgency to future-proof protections for renters, including ensuring they can control their energy supply, and aren’t subject to practices which exclude them from the market such as sub-metering” says Citizens Advice in a new report.
Now Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, has come out in support, saying: “Tenants whose energy bills are included in their rent or service charge cannot directly claim the energy discount. Instead, they will be at the mercy of their landlord passing on this much-needed support.
“There’s no specific legal obligation for landlords to pass on this support but they aren’t allowed to overcharge tenants for the energy they’ve used or make a profit on it. This could be the case if they pocket the government support and continue to charge the same rate for utilities. Landlords can only charge for energy used, the standing charge and VAT. So, it’s worth making a note of how much energy you’re using to make sure you're not paying more than you should.
“It is unfair that those at the very sharp end of this crisis could miss out on this much-needed support. The government is looking into this as they’ve acknowledged it’s not right. We urge them to make sure this support goes straight to the people who need it the most, not their landlords.”
The government says it expects landlords to pass on the discount, with a statement claiming: “In these circumstances, landlords who resell energy to their tenants should pass the discounted payments on appropriately, in line with Ofgem rules to protect tenants.
The government adds that suppliers will also be expected to report action they take to the government as a way of confirming that the payment has been passed on to consumers.
Some 29m households in England, Scotland and Wales will start receiving the rebates in six monthly-instalments.
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