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Top tips - how can landlords help their tenants with soaring energy bills?

UK energy prices are at unprecedented levels, and they are expected to continue to rise over the next few months. A shortage of energy and gas supplies has resulted in increased energy prices across the UK.

Energy market intelligence and analysis consultancy Cornwall Insight expects the energy price cap, set at £1,277 a year from 1 October, to significantly increase in spring 2022.

Why are energy bills on the rise? 

Several factors have affected the price of UK energy bills. These include low stock levels due to a cold winter and a drop in supplies from Russia.

The government recently announced that the energy price cap, the highest level energy companies are allowed to charge households on standard tariffs, will stay in place throughout the winter.

However, economic forecaster Samuel Tombs anticipates that from next April the dual fuel energy bill of the average household on a standard tariff looks set to increase by about 33%, or £421, to £1,698 a year.

Improve the energy performance in your home

It may seem tempting to save money by delaying maintenance work, but cutting corners always costs more in the long term.

Conducting simple checks and making small adjustments across the home can help keep energy costs at a minimum. It is essential that landlords are doing all they can to reduce costs for tenants.

Swapping regular lightbulbs for energy-efficient ones is a quick and easy way to improve the energy efficiency of your tenant’s home and lower their energy bills. Hiring a professional to replace an old boiler with a newer one could also significantly lower the energy consumption of your property too, but this will come at a cost. And, with plans in place to outlaw gas boilers in homes from 2035, landlords may want to consider other alternatives –albeit the proposals for heat pumps replacing gas boilers have been met with scepticism.

If areas of the property such as windows or doors are allowing heat to escape, this could impact the amount of heat the house can retain. We recommend that landlords conduct suitable checks to ensure that the property is up to scratch.

When it comes to any energy-related appliances in your home, getting a second opinion from a professional should be the first point of call.

Financial support is available

Changes to the UK energy prices are likely to influence tenants now and in the future. Therefore, landlords may want to have an open conversation with tenants to find out about their unique situations and use this information try and put forward the best option.

Landlords should be aware of the different methods of help made available and pass this information onto their tenants. Doing this can help alleviate any stress.

The Warm Home Discount offers low income and fuel-poor households a £140 discount, in addition to Winter Fuel Payments and Cold Weather Payments.

All tenants should be reassured that they are safeguarded against energy price hikes during the winter because of the energy price cap that is currently in place.

The steps to take if a supplier goes out of business

Rising electricity and heating costs have resulted in small energy providers going out of business and others are likely to follow over the next few months. Avro, Green, and Utility Point are only a few examples of energy providers that have already closed.

Making tenants aware that there is the possibility of their energy provider going out of business can help prevent further issues. In our experience, tenants who have been quick to switch the supplier themselves ended up taking longer to get the issue resolved.

The first action that landlords must direct tenants to take is a meter reading as soon as they hear about their supplier closing. A clear image of the meter with a visible serial number is all that is required. A new supplier is appointed within a few days and the tenant will be given a new contract.

If you live in the Canary Wharf, Surrey Quays, and Rotherhithe area, our friendly team will be available to assist with any further queries.

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