There’s been a strong personal attack on Prime Minister Rishi Sunak by anti-landlord activists over the subject of energy efficiency.
The Generation Rent says government failure to regulate landlords is discouraging nearly half of private renters from applying for grants to insulate their homes.
It claims fears of rent rises and evictions, or simply the landlord saying no, are putting off 48 per cent of private renters from applying for grants which would improve their home’s energy efficiency and cut their bills. This rises to 53 per cent for renters getting housing benefit or Universal Credit, who are already suffering most from fuel poverty.
However, Generation Rent’s figures are based on what it calls “1,021 supporters living in the private rented sector” rather than randomly selected, and the poll took place in June and July 2023 - well before Sunak’s change of heart of some energy efficiency measures.
Following the Prime Minister’s cancellation of plans to raise minimum energy efficiency standards (MEES) two weeks ago, landlords now have no obligation to agree to insulation works, even if they are funded by government grants.
Using the survey conducted before the cancellation, Generation Rent now claims that the lack of a “stick” will undermine the “big government grants” that Rishi Sunak held up as an incentive for energy efficiency in his speech two weeks ago.
The activists also go on to claim that one in four private renter households is in fuel poverty, higher than in social housing and owner occupation.
In its survey back July this year, Generation Rent also asked 914 respondents - again presumably “supporters” rather than randomly selected tenants - about what would discourage them from applying for grants.
Some 29 per cent said they thought their landlord would say no; 28 per cent said they thought their landlord would raise the rent, cancelling out the energy savings; 17 per cent said they thought their landlord would sell the property once it was improved.
Generation Rent says it is calling on all parties to commit to raising MEES to Band C as soon as is practical, while tightening protections for tenants around evictions and rents, to assure them that they will benefit from the resulting energy savings.
Dan Wilson Craw - now deputy chief executive of the group - says: “Tenants in draughty homes currently pay hundreds of pounds more per year than they would if their home was insulated properly. The government has made funding available to lift households out of fuel poverty but it won’t reach enough people if landlords don’t have a clear responsibility to allow improvements.
“There is more the government could have done to assure tenants that they would benefit from green grants. In recognition of the tight timeline, the government could have delayed the new standards’ start date by a couple of years, but by scrapping new regulations entirely the government has made the situation worse. This cruel, disproportionate and reckless decision means renters will be living in cold homes that make them poorer and sicker for many more years to come.”
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.