activism climate change energy poverty sustainability

Ask your MP to improve standards for rented homes

A couple of weeks ago I posted my review of Local Sustainable Homes, and noted that the only sector of the UK’s housing stock that wasn’t covered was private rented homes. These always get left out of efficiency measures. The landlords aren’t the ones paying the bills, so there is no incentive to insulate or improve the property. And since the tenant won’t get the benefits of any added value, they are unlikely to pay for any big improvements themselves.

As a consequence of this impasse, private rented homes are the worst in the country for energy efficiency. There are more G and F rated properties in this sector than any other, and over half of rented homes fail the government’s Decent Homes standard.

That condemns residents to live in cold, expensive, substandard homes. A quarter of private renters live in fuel poverty, defined as spending 10% of household income on energy. Since energy bills have risen 125% in the last five years and are unlikely to improve any time soon, something needs to be done to break the deadlock.

In July an early day motion was tabled for minimum standards for private rented homes. EDM 653 would give councils access to Energy Performance Certificates so that particularly bad properties can be identified and improved. As of 2016, it would no longer be legal to rent out a home with an F or G energy rating.

The motion has been backed by environment, housing, poverty and pensioner’s charities, and it is a useful example of tackling emissions and poverty at the same time. Check the list here, and if your MP hasn’t signed the motion yet, drop them a line and invite them to do so. There’s a briefing sheet here if you need some tips and facts to include in your letter.


  1. Add to this that the private rented sector is the one expected to grow the most rapidly (fewer and fewer people can afford to buy, and there is insufficient investment in social housing to keep up), and the situation starts looking even worse.

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