Tenants have a right to request consent to energy efficiency improvements

Tenants can often feel powerless when it comes to making their home more energy efficient, as they are unable to do (or unwilling to pay for) things like replacing the boiler or getting double-glazing. Luckily, there are a few cheap & simple things you can do as a tenant to make your home more eco-friendly.

Tenants can do the following:-

Change Appliances

This might be tricky if your rented property is already furnished, but if your appliances belong to you then check their energy efficiency rating and consider replacing them. Electric cookers and tumble driers are particularly energy-hungry.

Switch Energy Providers

If you pay your gas and electricity bills directly to the energy company, then you have the right to switch suppliers. Many suppliers are now offering “green” or “eco-friendly” electricity. In any case, you can shop around to find a cheaper deal. If your utility bills are included in your rent, then you could speak to your landlord about switching to a cheaper energy provider.

Energy Saving Light Bulbs

A quick and easy way to reduce you energy usage is to replace any older incandescent light bulbs with newer energy efficient ones. Just make sure you turn them off when you leave the room!

Put Reflective Panels Behind Your Radiators

These reflect heat back into the room and prevent it from being lost through the walls (and were mentioned in last week’s article 7 of our Favourite Energy Saving Devices). You can either buy them or have a go making them yourself with some cardboard and foil. Then when you leave the property you can simply take them with you.

Get Plastic Secondary Glazing

If your rented property has old, single-glazed windows, it’s unlikely that you’ll want to pay hundreds to replace them when it’s not even your house. You can however buy a plastic secondary glazing kit, which will improve their thermal performance for a fraction of the cost.

Remove Draughts

Although it isn’t your responsibility as a tenant to undertake major repairs or construction work, you do have the right to carry out “reasonable improvements” as long as you get your landlords permission. Most landlords will be happy for you to fit simple draught excluders around your door and letterbox, caulk gaps under the skirting boards and so on.

As of 1st October 2008, all landlords are obliged provide an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) when renting out a property to new tenants, and by 1st April 2018 all rented properties must achieve at least an “E” rating. This means that it’s in your landlord’s best interests to make their property more energy efficient — especially in older properties, as they will soon have an obligation to meet a minimum standard for energy performance.

From 1st April 2016 tenants will be able to request consent from their landlords to carry out energy efficiency improvements to privately rented properties. The landlord will not be able to unreasonably refuse consent. It will, however, be the responsibility of the tenants to ensure that the works are funded and the intention is that no upfront costs should fall on the landlord, unless the landlord agrees to contribute. There are separate regulations requiring properties to be brought up to an E rating on an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) which are effective from the 1st April 2018. Click here for more information.