The government has promised to focus on promoting grants to make PRS homes more energy efficient and ensure that tenants won’t be penalised for demanding green improvements.
During a Lords debate, the Liberal Democrat’s Baroness Grender said the balance was wrong when, according to a report by Generation Rent, nearly 40% of fuel-poor households rented privately but only 14% of energy company obligation grants helped them in any way. “Will the minister ensure that the Renters (Reform) Bill protects tenants from either eviction or prohibitive rent rises if they get these grants?” she asked.
Retaliatory eviction Housing Minister Baroness Scott of Bybrook agreed that more time should be spent trying to improve take-up of government grants for energy efficiency in their homes. She added: “Without the fear of retaliatory eviction, once Section 21 is abolished, tenants will be more empowered to act within their legal rights, complain about unacceptable standards and seek improvements. Private rented properties should be warm and decent, and we have several schemes to support energy-saving improvements to provide this.”
Energy security Baroness Scott told peers that the government was investing £12 billion in Help to Heat schemes but said it was “sad” that not enough private rental landlords were taking up those grants. “We also have the ECO Plus scheme – the GB insulation scheme – for which both tenants and landlords can apply. In the energy security strategy, the government have just announced zero-rated VAT for the next five years on the installation of insulation and low-carbon heating. It is important that landlords know what is available and that tenants ask them for it.”
Contrary to her boss’s comments earlier this summer when Housing Secretary Michael Gove suggested landlords needed more time, Scott insisted that the government was committed to raising efficiency from EPC band E to C by 2028.
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