Three quarters of a million private renters are stuck in the coldest and draughtiest homes, claims the Citizens Advice organisation – and it wants higher stamp duty on buy to let properties to fund improvements.
It claims that to heat their homes to a comfortable standard, tenants in the coldest homes face spending £1,000 more than the national average on their energy bills but are reliant on landlords to make cost-saving improvements.
Citizens Advice also says landlords could be (in its words) “raking in” £242m per month for letting out homes that will be freezing cold in the winter.
Some 750,000 private tenants are thought to be living in over 300,000 properties in England with the worst energy efficiency ratings of F and G. The charity says these renters are twice as likely to suffer from damp than those in any other properties, and may have no access to central heating or storage heaters and little wall insulation.
The Energy Act 2011 introduced a legal requirement for all rented properties to have an energy efficient rating of at least Band E by 2020. All new tenancies must meet Band E standards by 2018.
Citizens Advice says the government should make landlords carry out improvements costing less than £5,000 that will take homes up to the minimum Band E standard. It also says a new fund – paid for by the stamp duty levy – could be set up to help landlords pay for more expensive improvements.
Citizens Advice also proposes setting up a new energy improvement fund to help landlords with improvements costing more than £5,000.
This fund would be paid for by increasing the stamp duty levy on buy to let homes to four per cent. It says this would raise over £200m to be used for efficiency improvements.