The Government’s reversal on plans to increase minimum energy standards is discouraging take-up of Government grants to improve energy efficiency, research has found.
According to Generation Rent, almost half of renters, 48%, are put off from applying for grants to improve energy efficiency due to fear of rent rises and evictions, as well as landlord declining works.
This increases to 53% of renters getting housing benefits or using Universal Credit.
Generation Rent found that 29% thought their landlords would say no as the reason for not applying for a grant, 28% thought that the landlord would increase the rent and 17% said they feared the landlord would sell the property.
Around 38% were not aware of the grants available and 22% were unaware of improvements their home needed.
Other factors included 17% noting that they did not plan to live in the home long term and 20% convinced they were not eligible for grants.
The change in the Government plans, the trade body said, means that landlords have no obligation to agree insulation works even if they are funded by government grants.
Generation Rent warned that the lack of “stick” would undermine grants that the Government offered as a “carrot”.
Nearly a quarter of private renters are in fuel poverty, which is higher than social housing and owner occupation.
Research from E3G estimated that the upgrade to minimum energy efficiency standards would have saved private renters an average of £570 per household per year, with total savings of £1.75bn.
‘Government needs to do more’
Dan Wilson Craw, deputy chief executive of Generation Rent, said: “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.”
He continued: “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.”