Tenants could be paying an extra one-thousand pounds a year in energy bills thanks to poorly insulated homes, warns charity 10:10.
Their Cold Homes campaign is all about saving tenants money, keeping homes warmer, and helping the environment.
The group is campaigning to close a legal loophole that means landlords aren’t required to upgrade the energy efficiency of their homes if it would directly cost them money.
Campaign Coordinator Emma Kemp explains: “we’ve calculated that in the worst-case scenario, if all landlords exempt themselves from upgrading homes for the five-year exemption period, it would cost these people living in the homes a billion pounds collectively. It would only cost a fifth of that for all landlords to upgrade their homes.”
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Some homes are so energy inefficient that it’s not only costing tenants money, it’s costing some of them their lives.
Emma said that the inefficiency of some homes is particularly harmful to children and the elderly, who are more susceptible to illness and the cold. It costs the NHS £27,000 a day to treat children who have caught illnesses from the cold, and according to the latest official figures, nearly 120,000 people have died of cold weather in England and Wales over the past four years.
“It’s an obviously human issue,” said Emma. “Climate change is a human issue but most people don’t notice that – it’s not just the polar bears.”
When the law came into place, there were many schemes in place to aid landlords with home improvement costs – but after the many cuts by the current government, those schemes are no longer in place, meaning very few landlords are legally required to upgrade the energy efficiency of their homes.
“At 10:10 we’re trying to highlight this to the government,” said Emma. “We’re asking people to write to their MPs, to get MPs to write to the Department for Business, Energy, & Industrial Strategy, who can then amend the legislation and close the loophole.”
What the charity proposes instead of the exemption scheme is a cost cap, so that landlords wouldn’t have to spend over £5000 to upgrade their properties. According to the campaign, in 70% of homes it would only cost landlords about £1000.
“To meet its target carbon reduction target, the UK needs to improve the quality of homes – it’s just something we’re going to have to do,” said Emma. “Were going to have to cut energy consumed by homes by about 10%.”
The proposed change would not only save tenants money in the long run, it would save lives and save the environment.
To see how much money your landlord could be saving you, visit coldhomesloophole.1010uk.org.
To read more about the project, and to message your MP, log on to 10:10’s campaign website at 1010uk.org/articles/cold-homes-loophole.