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Press Release: Private Rented Sector Campaign

ACE has been working closely with Friends of the Earth on a campaign to tackle energy efficiency in the private rented sector. We have been at the forefront of this fantastic campaign which is rapidly gaining pace. Today our partners at FoE released the following statement.

If you would like to help this campaign then please write to your MP and ask them to sign EDM 653 calling for minimum energy efficiency standards in the private rented sector. You can find out who your MP is here, and you can see the campaign statement here.


Charities and consumer groups concerned about the number of cold, health-hazard rented homes are demanding a new law to protect tenants in a statement to Energy Secretary Chris Huhne today.
The coalition of 15 organisations, including children’s, housing, disability and environmental charities, is calling for urgent Government action to make it illegal to rent out the least insulated properties until they are brought up to a higher standard of energy efficiency.

Their joint statement says properties rented through private landlords are the most poorly maintained homes and contain large numbers of vulnerable people and those living in fuel poverty.
Almost a fifth of private tenants live in fuel poverty and can’t afford to heat their homes to a reasonable standard. According to the Government’s Fuel Poverty Advisory Group, the past six years have been devastating for the fuel poor as gas and electricity bills have shot up by 125 per cent.

Friends of the Earth’s climate campaigner Dave Timms said: “It’s a disgrace that millions of vulnerable people in Britain live in poorly insulated and dangerously cold homes that make them ill, while paying far more than they can afford trying to stay warm.

“The Government should introduce a minimum energy efficiency standard for private rented homes so they are better insulated and cheaper to heat – this would protect tenants from high fuel bills and ill health, while creating jobs, saving the NHS money and cutting carbon emissions.”

The group is also calling for landlords to get better information, clear advice and greater financial help to bring their properties up to scratch – and for tenants to get accurate, reliable information about the energy efficiency when choosing a home.

On the eve of the Liberal Democrat party conference, a Parliamentary motion for minimum energy efficiency standards private rented homes has been signed by MPs from across the political spectrum, including senior Liberal Democrat backbenchers Charles Kennedy, Alan Beith, Malcolm Bruce and Andrew George.

Labour leadership contender Ed Miliband has also backed regulation to ensure private rented homes are properly insulated.

Notes to Editors:

You can see the full statement here: http://www.foe.co.uk/resource/briefings/energy_efficiency_standards.pdf. The charities are calling for legislation to be introduced in the forthcoming Energy Security and Green Economy Bill.

The 15 organisations backing the demands are: All-Party Parliamentary Fuel Poverty & Energy Efficiency Group, Age UK, Association for the Conservation of Energy, Brent Private Tenants’ Rights Group, Camden Federation of Private Tenants, Centre for Sustainable Energy, Citizens Advice, Crisis, Consumer Focus, Disability Alliance, Friends of the Earth, National Childbirth Trust, National Energy Action, National Home Improvement Council, National Pensioners Convention.

You can see EDM number 653, tabled by John Leech MP here: http://edmi.parliament.uk/EDMi/EDMDetails.aspx?EDMID=4161

Useful statistics:

  • Over three million households in England live in private rented homes – the very hardest homes to heat are twice as common in this sector as in the rest of the housing stock.
  • People living in private rented houses are four times more likely to be living in a cold home as those in social housing (provided by the local authority or a housing association).
  • Carbon emissions from homes make up almost a third of the UK’s total. Urgently improving the worst private rented homes is a vital step to cutting the UK’s carbon emissions from housing by at least 42 per cent by 2020.
  • Research from Consumer Focus showed that kitting out the homes of those living in fuel poverty with heating and insulation to a high standard would create 35,000 jobs.
  • The number of households in fuel poverty has grown from 1.2 million in 2004 to 4.6 million 2009 and is expected to grow further in 2010, according to the Fuel Poverty Advisory Group.
  • The annual cost to the NHS of treating winter related disease made worse by living in cold homes, such as pneumonia, is £859 million, according to the 2009 Chief Medical Officer’s report.


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