Landlords up their game, but one in 20 rentals still pose hazard

Landlords up their game, but one in 20 rentals still pose hazard
Landlords up their game, but one in 20 rentals still pose hazard

According to a new study by AXA, the private rental sector has seen a rapid improvement in energy efficiency over the past two years.

The number of worst-rated properties has halved, and rentals come out better on boiler upgrades, insulation and smart meters than owner-occupied homes.

Despite this, one in twenty rentals still breach minimum standards set to come into force next April. These pockets of inefficiency mean that tenants are over-paying on energy by an estimated £13 million every month.

Energy is certainly top of mind for UK tenants, as cold and damp were named the biggest bugbears by 43 per cent of those surveyed. A quarter said they felt they were paying excess bills due to the energy inefficiency of their homes.

The study found that one in twenty rental properties pose an ‘excess cold hazard’ to residents as they fall into the worst-rated Bands F and G. This means that more than 200,000 homes are now at risk of being banned from the private rental market next April when minimum standards come into force.

Just how much these failing homes are costing tenants was revealed by analysis of their monthly bills. The average monthly bill in a Band A rental is £61 per month, increasing to £76 in Band E, and then £112 in Bands F to G. This means that UK tenants are still paying for energy failings to the tune of an estimated £13 million every month.

The good news is that the number of failing properties is declining fast: the study found that the number of F and G banded rentals has halved since 2015, when official estimates put them at one in ten. More than half of tenants surveyed by AXA said their current rentals are in bands A to C.

The private rental sector also compares well when it comes to energy upgrades. Tenants in England and Wales are now more likely to have smart meters installed than people who own their own homes, and there are fewer inefficient (pre-2005) boilers in rentals too.

Energy features in tenanted properties compared to owner-occupied (England and Wales)
RENTAL HOMES ALL HOMES

 

Double-glazing 73 per cent 75 per cent
Roof insulation 57 per cent 35 per cent
Smart meters 14 per cent 12 per cent
Post-2005 boiler 69 per cent 59 per cent
Solar panels 1 per cent 6 per cent
Wood-burning stove 6 per cent 7.5 per cent

The picture looks even better north of the border, where Scottish tenants report the highest energy efficiency in the UK. Eighty three per cent of rentals have double glazing, 76 per cent – roof insulation, 73 per cent –modern boilers, and 15 per cent have wood-burning stoves (double the average elsewhere in the UK).

AXA advises landlords running properties in the worst-rated bands to consider upgrading their properties as a matter of urgency. While those in Bands F and G will be forced from the market next year, those in Band E may well join them over the coming years following last week’s recommendations to Government by Frontier Economics.  Help is on offer to landlords under schemes like the Green Deal, while tenants on low incomes can access support from the Affordable Warmth Obligation.

“Our study has found that landlords are making significant investments into improving the energy efficiency of their properties. And this is part of a bigger trend: when we look at our surveys of tenants and landlords over the past five years, we see progress across the board – on security, maintenance and numbers with proper tenancy agreements in place. Many landlords we speak to are ‘accidentals’, who typically own one or two properties. They are, by and large, professionalising and investing more seriously in their tenants’ comfort and the future health of their rental properties. Pockets of failure exist in this market, but it is not the story for the 95 per cent of landlords who are trying to do the right thing.”  – Gareth Howell, Managing Director, AXA Direct.

 

Everything comes up roses as staff dig deep for the Yorkshire children’s hospice

  Children with life-limiting illnesses can now enjoy their very own wildlife garden at a Yorkshire hospice, thanks to a partnership cultivated with staff from a Leeds estate agency. Linley & Simpson has broken its previous record by raising £26,000 for Martin House Children’s Hospice at Boston Spa, near Wetherby, during another year of support […]

House prices in Yorkshire rise but not expected to grow further over coming months

More chartered surveyors in Yorkshire and Humber reported house prices increased in Yorkshire and Humber last month, according to the latest monthly RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) UK Residential Market Survey. In the August, 25% more chartered surveyors reported a rise in house prices in the region (up from 18% in July). But only 12% […]

Construction projects increased by 20 per cent as housebuilding thrives

In what is traditionally a slow summer month for construction, August turned out to provide a welcoming boost for the construction industry, as the value of new contracts awarded reached £5.8 billion based on a three month moving average, resulting in a 7 per cent increase on the month and the highest recorded figure since […]

Former Yorkshire mill and works’ site being transformed by developer

MP Stuart Andrew has visited Redrow’s Horsforth Vale development to view progress at the former Clariant Works site and a neighbouring mill which is also being transformed. Mr Andrew, MP for Pudsey, Horsforth and Aireborough, was welcomed by the homebuilder’s land director, Matthew Barker, and David Faraday, technical director, who took him on a tour […]