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Shelter backs Citizens Advice concern over landlords passing on rebate

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. 

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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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    This is just crazy - the rebate is being offered because energy prices have risen so much. The majority of landlords have not passed on these increases and so it is fair they have the rebate, as they are the ones who have been paying the increased costs.

    Personally, I think if Shelter get their way, this would annoy many landlords who have so far resisted increasing rents and push them to review what they’re charging and pass on the increased costs to tenants.

    I saw a statistic a couple of days ago that showed the amount of available properties to rent over the last 2 years in the UK had reduced by more than 65%. These activists are driving the changes that is causing this and they are making things absolutely terrible for renters - and still take no responsibility for this.

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    A great many rents were set long before the energy crisis and can only be increased annually so thousands of landlords have already absorbed massive utility price increases over the last 10 or 11 months.
    Last summer I signed up for 12 or 14 month electric contracts with Symbio and Neon Reef at roughly 13p per kWh and 13p per day Standing Charge.
    Those companies went bust in September and October so the contracts weren't honoured and I was dumped on the price cap tariff which currently is just over 28p per kWh and 52p per day Standing Charge. One of my HMOs uses about 7000kWh of electric per year so the bill should have been around £950 if Symbio hadn't gone bust. Under the current price cap it's actually £2150. So just the electric on just one property is £1200 more than the contract I signed up for. The gas is about £950 more than the contract I signed up for. On top of that we have been denied the Council tax rebate. The Council wrote to us in July to say it was only payable to someone who was actually living in the house AND had their name on the bill on the 1st April. Had that been mentioned before April I could have at least asked tenants if they wanted to claim it. Leaving it until it's 3 months too late is just rubbish.
    None of my HMO tenants have had a rent increase since they moved into the houses. In some cases that's over 5 years. As rooms become vacant they get re let at whatever the current market rate is at the time. I quite like my HMO tenants to have rent stability but if they start demanding the £400 my attitude will rapidly change.

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    Jo - wow 😬 that is insane, the rents would be going up if they were mine, that is unsustainable.

     
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    Funny how Shelter conveniently ignore the facts! Never let the truth get in the at of your narrative!

     
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    I have a property effected by this yes , I will share the rebate. The rent increase notices will be in the post this week. Another fantastic result for tenants from Shelter the charity ( business) that houses no one.

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    The rebate should only be shared if the rents had gone up with the price rises ! If the landlord has taken the “hit”, then they keep the rebate 🤔. I honestly can see why lots of us are selling up…. The onslaught is relentless.

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    I have a HMO house where the Rent hasn’t increased in 20 years even though Tenants rotate, so I had to Suffer the up grade requirement costs and repeated license fees plus given up the £2000. deposit I had in 2003, because it was made a liability not a protection. Another licensed HMO house hasn’t increased either in 12 years similar situation but loaded with imposed costs by local Authorities no stopping them,

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    It doesn't affect me as all my tenants pay their own utility bills, however if I were the one paying the bills the rents would be increased to fully cover my extra costs, I would happily pass the rebate onto the tenant, but who would be the loser, well the tenant of course because this £400 isn't even going to touch the sides of these massive increases, Polly shot in foot again

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    Happy to hand the rebate to the tenants along with the increases in taxes, interest rates, maintenance increases, additional licencing costs, carbon monoxide alarms etc
    Shelter the shyster organisation slogan - ‘using tenants to justify our six figure salaries’ ‘We house no one’

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