Leeds city centre renters to pay extra £1.9m after Rishi Sunak’s scraps energy efficiency standards

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Private renters in Leeds Central will pay £1.9m more in extra energy bills this winter – the second highest in England – after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak scrapped minimum energy efficiency standards for rental properties.

New analysis by the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit shows that of the 23,238 privately rented homes in the Leeds Central constituency, 11,275 have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of D or lower.

It was planned that all new tenancies must meet EPC band C by 2025, and the standards would apply to all tenancies by 2028, forcing landlords to upgrade the energy efficiency of their properties.

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However, last month the Prime Minister announced that the plans would be scrapped.

Leeds Central is one of the hardest hit regions after the Prime Minister scrapped energy efficiency standards.Leeds Central is one of the hardest hit regions after the Prime Minister scrapped energy efficiency standards.
Leeds Central is one of the hardest hit regions after the Prime Minister scrapped energy efficiency standards.

In Leeds Central there are 29,496 households – nearly 50% – in fuel poverty and over half of private rented homes have an EPC rating of D or below. On average these renters will pay £180 more for their fuel bills this winter than if their properties reached EPC C standards.

The figures mean that private renters in Leeds Central will have paid £46m more in energy bills by 2050 than they would have if the government had stuck to their original target of upgrading homes to EPC C.

David Nugent is Chief Executive at Leeds-based Canopy Housing, who renovate empty and derelict houses for people that are homeless or in housing need. He said: “I think it should be part and parcel of being a good landlord to offer tenants a warm, safe and secure place to live. The government should be helping landlords to do this rather than scrapping what is a pretty basic standard. With energy prices higher than they used to be, many people cannot afford to heat their homes and their health will deteriorate.”

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Councillor Mohammed Rafique, Leeds City Council’s Executive Member for Climate, Energy, Environment and Green Space said: “I am extremely disappointed by the government’s recent back tracking over energy efficiency standards for homes. One in four private renters are already in fuel poverty – with rising energy prices, and the increasing cost of living, alongside the lack of targets for landlords to improve the energy efficiency of their properties means many more renters may face another year of unaffordable bills.”

He said that the council was raising energy efficiency standards by updating local planning policies so that every new home built in Leeds will be “more affordable, greener, and more comfortable to live in from day one”.

Coun Rafique added: "Thanks to our continuous investment in social housing, the average council property in Leeds is already more efficient, and therefore cheaper to heat than the private sector. We take our role of being a responsible landlord of more than 54,000 homes seriously. That's why we're investing in more than £100 million of energy saving upgrades that will benefit our tenants over a five-year period.

"Funding is available to help many landlords, private tenants, and homeowners in Leeds to improve their homes to become more energy efficient. We've just launched a new scheme for private sector homes without gas central heating that will provide expert support and at least a two-thirds discount on the cost of installing energy-saving upgrades. I'd encourage everyone to check their eligibility for this support on our website.