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Energy efficiency schemes for rented housing are "too complex" say experts

Tenants should be given clearer information up-front regarding a rented accommodation's energy efficiency and the cost of utility bills, before signing a tenancy agreement. They should also be provided with information about their right to change energy suppliers. That's according to a new report from the All Party Parliamentary Group for the private rented sector.

The report, which was compiled after two oral evidence sessions and receiving written evidence from more than 30 organisations, has concluded that a lot of work needs to be done to support the sector and achieve targets that have been set out by the government. It says that current schemes to improve the energy efficiency of private rented houses are too complex - and this will lead to many properties being unable to meet energy rating requirements by the 2018 deadline.

From April 2018, all privately rented properties will be required to have a minimum energy performance rating of E. Since a high proportion of privately rented homes are older properties that are hard to heat, it is expected that many landlords will have difficulty carrying out works like installing thermal wall insulation.

According to the report, landlords, local authorities and energy companies need to coordinate their efforts in order to identify the households that are most vulnerable to fuel poverty - and will therefore benefit the most from energy efficiency improvements.

Options could include incentivising landlords to implement energy efficiency improvements and giving them the option to offset costs against rental income. In addition, energy companies could work to establish new tariffs for customers who aren't as well off.

Commenting on the report, Oliver Colvile MP said that the government has set ambitious targets for improving the energy efficiency of private rented housing.

"To meet these, it is clear that much clearer information is needed for both landlords and tenants to understand their rights and responsibilities and the help available to improve the energy efficiency of the rental housing stock," he said.