Research suggests just 15% of landlords are aware of coming changes to energy efficiency rules in rented properties – which the CEO of a business which helps fed-up renters to get repairs made to their homes believes shows the reasons behind Britain’s epidemic of damp and drafty homes.
The government requires rented properties in England and Wales to have an energy efficiency rating of C or above for all new tenancies by 2025, and for all existing tenancies by 2028.
But official statistics show close to two thirds of privately rented UK homes still have a rating of D or below – and that 781,000 homes have the lowest possible energy performance ratings, even though it is illegal to rent out such properties
This means there are around 3.2 million privately rented properties in England and Wales which will require work if they are to meet the government’s targets.
A 2021 government report also concluded that 27% of UK homes are currently affected by damp or mould with renters “significantly more likely” to report damp or mould than owner-occupiers – which Ajay Jagota, founder and CEO of online claims management firm Veriwise has called “a dampedemic”.
“It’s predictable enough that tenants are in the dark about the energy efficiency laws, but you would hope landlords would know better – sadly these figures come as no surprise to me.
“It’s not just startling that so many landlords are unwittingly or otherwise leaving tenants languishing in freezing and unhealthy homes, it’s that their behaviour is enormously self-defeating. Houses that don’t meet minimum legal standards will inevitably depreciate in value, meaning that their assets will become increasingly unrentable or unsellable if they don’t take action.
“With energy prices likely to soar this year, it’s also going to be hard for tenants to keep up with rent payments, increasing the probability of rent defaults or empty properties if they aren’t properly maintained and insulated.
“Tenants more often than not don’t know if landlords are responsible for damp or mould, or if landlords have to provide central heating. Veriwise was created to make sure that those renters get access to justice – regardless of their ability to afford it.”
Recent research from Shawbrook Bank found only 15 percent of landlords surveyed were “fully aware” of changes to laws surrounding Energy Performance Certificates in the private rental sector – with landlords who have been renting out properties for over 10 years found to be the least aware of the coming changes.
Veriwise takes on housing disrepair and Deposit dispute claims on behalf of renters, negotiating with councils, private landlords or letting agents to get property maintenance issues fixed quickly and can claim compensation for renters from landlords or agents.
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