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NEWS Third of UK tenants fund energy improvements instead of landlords

A new report reveals that a third of tenants in the UK have paid for energy efficiency improvements despite recent Government legislation that requires landlords to do so.

Currently landlords are required to bring their property up to the minimum Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating E. Under the legislation, which came into force on 01 April 2016, if a tenant requests a more efficient home and the landlord fails to comply, the landlord could ultimately be forced to pay a penalty notice.

However, the study conducted by online letting agent PropertyLetByUs, shows that one in six tenants have paid for roof insulation, 7% have paid for double glazing and 92% have paid for draft excluders for windows and doors. A further 71% have paid for their boiler to be repaired.

The research also shows that 88% of tenants want their landlord to install a more fuel efficient boiler, while 78% want their draughty front door replaced, 72% want more loft insurance and 48% want double glazed windows fitted.

Properties with EPC ratings of F and G will be progressively banned from the market, starting with rental homes with new tenancies. That will become the legal minimum for private rented properties when new regulations come into force in England and Wales from 2018. The Residential Landlords Association estimates that a total of 330,000 rental homes in England and Wales are likely to be affected.

Though Government officials have estimated it could cost landlords between £1,800 and £5,000 to bring energy-inefficient properties up to an E rating, according to PropertyLetByUs it could be tenants that have to fund the improvements.

‘Our research shows that is falling on tenants to pay for energy improvements to their rented properties which is simply unacceptable. Many tenants are finding that their landlords are refusing to make improvements to the property, leaving tenants no choice but to dip into their own pockets,’ said a spokesman.

‘Tenants should not have to pay for roof insulation and repairs to old boilers, when it is the landlord’s responsibility. Landlords should comply with the current legislation that requires them to make energy efficiency improvements and they also should start improving their properties, if they have an EPC rating of F or G, so they are brought up to the required standard by 2018,’ the spokesman added.

The Government has recently given guidelines on the costs with a typical package of measures for a small semidetached house. Gas central heating and low energy lighting is estimated at £4,000, loft insulation at £300 and cavity wall insulation at about £500.

The firm also pointed out that the Government will need to put measures in place to ensure that landlords are compliant or it fears that the financial burden on tenants could be even greater.

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