By Christabel - posted on February 3, 2014

Advice for Tenants

Whether it’s your first time renting or you’ve been renting your entire adult life, we can provide free advice and help to make your rented accommodation more energy efficient. You do not need to own property to be eligible for energy grants.

Before You Rent

Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs)

When looking for a new rental home, you can search an online database of EPCs to find out the current energy efficiency rating of properties, the likely energy bills and measures recommended to reduce the heating costs. The EPC advice guide provides more information about finding and interpreting an EPC. Landlords are required to have an up-to-date EPC before they can let the property. The property must meet minimum energy efficiency standards (MEES), which is currently an E rating.

Important Questions

When viewing a property, you may like to ask certain questions of the landlord or letting agent to ensure that the property is safe and to find out what sort of heating system it has, for example. The home energy rental checklist has a list of questions you may like to ask.

During Your Tenancy

Legal Obligations

Basic safety measures in rented properties are covered by legislation. The government has written a guide for both tenants and landlords detailing their rights and responsibilities.

Landlords are responsible for providing:

  • A copy of the “How to Rent” booklet to tenants.
  • An EPC for the property, which must meet MEES.
  • Annual gas safety checks, if there is gas in the property. A copy of the certificate must be given to each tenant within 28 days of the check.
  • Electrical safety inspections at least every 5 years. A copy of the report must be provided to existing tenants within 28 days and to new tenants before they move in.
  • Smoke alarms: They must work properly when a new tenant moves in. The tenant is responsible thereafter, so test those alarms on a regular basis.
  • Carbon monoxide alarms: These are only required in rooms with solid fuel burning appliances (e.g., wood-burning stove or coal fire). Again, these should be in good working order when a new tenant moves in.
  • Tenancy agreements may have additional stipulations about living standards.

Reducing Your Bills

Once you have moved into a rented property, you may be able to reduce your energy bills. We can help tenants access:

  • Discounts and rebates on your energy and water bills
  • Help with fuel debt
  • Smart meters
  • Cheaper energy tariffs or suppliers through switching
  • Accurate utility bills by providing meter readings
  • Advice on energy efficient appliances and lightbulbs
  • Draught proofing: We have draught proofing guides with step by step instructions and details about where to buy materials to reduce draughts in your home. Don’t forget to check with your landlord before carrying out any DIY work.
  • Grants for insulation or heating upgrades. You do not need to be a homeowner to access funding, but any work to the property will require the landlord’s approval.

Condensation and Mould

If you notice damp patches or mould spots in your property, there may be a water leak, but the issue is more commonly caused by condensation. Our condensation and mould advice guides provide information about the causes of mould and the ways to prevent it from occurring.

  • While drying clothes indoors can make the condition worse, often a lack of adequate insulation or ventilation is to blame.
  • We can help you determine the cause of the damp and recommend steps to rectify the issue. As a tenant, try increasing the amount of air flow to damp areas and use adequate heating (at least 15°C).
  • Check your tenancy agreement – the landlord may be responsible for dealing with damp if there’s a clause about keeping the property fit to live in or in good condition as dampness or mould growth may be included.

Issues with the Property or Landlord

Call us for more free, impartial advice and information. For more specific housing advice, including free legal advice and making a complaint, Shelter and Citizens Advice are great resources. If you are having trouble resolving an issue, you might also want to speak to your local council private sector housing team.

It’s a good idea to check with your landlord before making any changes, as your agreement may prevent a tenant from, for example, switching energy suppliers if bills are included in the rent or from drilling holes to install certain draught-proofing measures.