Renters ‘at mercy of landlords’ over £400 energy rebate, UK charities warn | Household bills


Charities are warning that renters whose utility bills are included in their rent are at the mercy of their landlords and could miss out on the UK government’s £400 energy discount.

An estimated 585,000 households – equivalent to 13% of all those renting in the private market – have energy bills included in their rent, according to Citizens Advice. It said renters could miss out on the energy rebate and other support like the warm home discount, if they are not the bill payer, because they are paid to the landlord.

Polly Neate, the chief executive of the housing charity Shelter, said tenants whose energy bills were included in their rent or service charge “will be at the mercy of their landlord passing on this much-needed support”.

“There’s no specific legal obligation for landlords to pass on this support but they aren’t allowed to overcharge tenants for the energy they’ve used or make a profit on it. This could be the case if they pocket the government support and continue to charge the same rate for utilities. Landlords can only charge for energy used, the standing charge and VAT. So, it’s worth making a note of how much energy you’re using to make sure you’re not paying more than you should.

“It is unfair that those at the very sharp end of this crisis could miss out on this much-needed support. The government is looking into this as they’ve acknowledged it’s not right. We urge them to make sure this support goes straight to the people who need it the most, not their landlords.”

The National Residential Landlords Association said: “Where rents include the cost of utilities, and tenants incur the cost of increased energy bills, the savings from the support scheme should be passed on to them.

“However, there will be instances where all-inclusive rents have been set without reflecting higher energy prices. The government needs to ensure that its scheme recognises such cases where it is the landlord who is ultimately paying the cost of increased bills, rather than the tenant.”


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