Renters could save hundreds of pounds on their energy bills thanks to this new law
The cost of heating your home is one of the biggest burdens on working families, and it just keeps getting worse.
After regulator Ofgem raised their higher price cap last year, all of the major energy companies announced they would be increasing their prices to match the new ceiling, with the rise coming into effect this month.
That means already high energy bills are set to rise by an average of 10%, or £117 a year, for around 11 million households in the UK - just as the country braces itself for a cold snap bringing freezing temperatures and forcing us all to turn up the heating when we should be switching it off.
Amidst all that doom and gloom there surely must be some ray of light to prove a little warmth.
Fortunately there is - at least, if you currently rent your property, thanks to new legislation on energy efficiency.
Energy efficiency means lower bills
The UK Government initiative, which came into force in England and Wales on Monday, means landlords must ensure all properties have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) ratings of F or G.
This means they will have to install measures such as floor insulation, low energy lighting or increasing loft insulation in home, to make sure the heat you use isn’t just disappearing out the cracks in a puff of money.
The government estimates that this new rule will help up to 300,000 of the coldest privately rented homes - and could save bill payers up to £180 a year.
And the Energy Saving Trust is even more optimistic, suggesting the changes to create a properly insulated home could save tenants up to £440 a year off bills.
Housing Minister Heather Wheeler said: “These new measures will help improve the coldest homes, protecting tenants whilst also saving them money."
Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry said: “Eradicating fuel poverty is a priority for the Government and the measures introduced today help guarantee a warm home is a right not a privilege."
What about landlords?
Under the new legislation, landlords must complete the work or face a fine up to £5,000.
If you are a landlord it’s not all bad news either - on average work to make the coldest homes in the Uk energy efficient is estimated to cost £1,200, and where the upgrades are over £3,000 landlords can apply for an exemption.
And if you’re looking to get something done about your home now, it’s worth knowing that the Big Six energy firms - EDF, E.ON, British Gas, nPower, Scottish Power and SSE - all offer free insulation to low-income customers on certain benefits.
To get the free insulation then you must own your home or have permission from your landlord.