In the midst of an emerging worldwide energy crisis, now is a good time to consider your energy options. The upcoming months will be difficult for bill payers and suppliers alike; the sooner you have a plan of action, the better.
Ensure tenants know what to do if their supplier goes bust
This is all about mitigating risk. If the worst should happen and their energy supplier folds, they will automatically be assigned a new provider. Taking regular meter readings can help ensure final bills are accurate and avoid any payment or usage disputes.
Compare deals… if you can!
Your tenants and landlords may save money in the long run by switching to fixed-rate energy deals that ignore rising prices.
But be warned—they’re getting expensive. Last year, the cheapest 12-month fixed energy deal cost £817 per year. The cheapest option today is closer to £1,400.
Meanwhile, cheaper tariffs are hard to find at the moment. Sites like Compare The Market and Go Compare are offering much fewer deals than usual, so keep this in mind if their fixed deal is coming to an end.
Tell your tenants about money-saving options
If your tenants are struggling to keep up with their energy bills, there are a number of schemes available to provide financial support to at-risk tenants.
Warm Home Discount
Since 18th October 2021, tenants on lower incomes have been eligible to get up to £140 off their electricity bills during the winter months.
Cold Weather Payment
Low-income tenants, or those receiving certain benefits, will get money back for cold weather between November 2021-March 2022. If the average temperature in their area is recorded as zero degrees celsius or below for seven days at a time, eligible tenants will receive a £25 subsidy to cover the cost of extra heating.
The Citizens Advice Bureau has compiled a list of energy suppliers who are offering grants to customers who fall behind their bill payments. Share it with your tenants!
Make properties more energy efficient
In uninsulated homes, around 33% of heat is lost through the walls, 25% through the roof, and 15% through the floor. Ensuring your landlords’ properties are well insulated will keep tenants’ energy bills down and ensure their home is above the minimum EPC rating (which increases from E to C in 2025).
It may also be good for your landlords, too. Some banks now offer preferential mortgage prices for homes with an A-C EPC rating. It may be worth considering going green for reasons beyond the energy crisis!
Ask your Landlords to Consider Going Green
Green energy is the future for the entire planet—and tenants know it too. Government ministers have outlined plans to ban new gas boilers from 2035 and shift surcharges from electricity bills to gas bills, to encourage a move towards greener alternatives.
One option is to encourage landlords to upgrade their boilers. The government’s Heat and Buildings Strategy has already confirmed that homeowners in England and Wales will get a subsidy to replace old gas boilers with more economical heat pumps, starting April 2022.
The subsidy will cover up to £5,000 of the cost of new heat pumps (which sell for between £6,000-£18,000). Communicate this to your landlords so they can make a decision to suit them.
The energy crisis poses a significant threat to the entirety of the UK in the next 12 months. As a letting agent, supporting landlords and tenants through this difficult period will be extra important.
Make sure you know everything you need to know to navigate it: talk to your landlords, keep tracking which energy providers have ceased trading, and consider recommending greener energy sources and providers to all your landlords.