Charity warns tenants are ‘at the mercy of their landlord’ on £400 energy discount

There are concerns that tenants could miss out on the government’s £400 energy discount.

Some 13% of renters have energy bills included in their rent, so they are not the bill payer.

Polly Neate, chief executive of the charity Shelter, said such tenants “will be at the mercy of their landlord passing on this much-needed support”.

She added: “There’s no specific legal obligation for landlords to pass on this support but they aren’t allowed to overcharge tenants for the energy they’ve used or make a profit on it. This could be the case if they pocket the government support and continue to charge the same rate for utilities. Landlords can only charge for energy used, the standing charge and VAT. So, it’s worth making a note of how much energy you’re using to make sure you’re not paying more than you should.

“It is unfair that those at the very sharp end of this crisis could miss out on this much-needed support. The government is looking into this as they’ve acknowledged it’s not right. We urge them to make sure this support goes straight to the people who need it the most, not their landlords.”

However a National Residential Landlords Association spokesperson said: “Where rents include the cost of utilities, and tenants incur the cost of increased energy bills, the savings from the support scheme should be passed on to them.

“However, there will be instances where all-inclusive rents have been set without reflecting higher energy prices. The government needs to ensure that its scheme recognises such cases where it is the landlord who is ultimately paying the cost of increased bills, rather than the tenant.”

The £400 discount, administered by energy suppliers, will be paid over six months with payments starting from October 2022.

Households will see a discount of £66 applied to their energy bills in October and November, rising to £67 each month from December through to March 2023.

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