5 tips to save energy when renting
Posted by Anna Carlini on 5 July 2016 at 10:40 am
The UK is currently going through a boom in renting. Many families, couples and young people may never own their own home, but privately rent from landlords. Young people are so unlikely to have their own property that they are now being called "Generation Rent". Whilst renting it is very common for tenants to pay the heat and electricity bills themselves, so what can you do to keep those bills under control?
1. Check which kind of meter the property has
There are two types of meter usually found in a rented property, regular credit meters and prepayment meters. Regular credit meters calculate the amount of energy you have used and then send you a bill at the end of the month. With a prepayment meter you pay for your energy in advance, as with a pay and go mobile. Landlords often prefer prepayment meters so that tenants cannot incur large debts by not paying their bills, then move out, leaving the landlord to deal with it. Prepayment is often more expensive than regular credit, so isn’t as good an option for the tenant.
Regardless of which meter you have, you should definitely shop around for the cheapest energy tariff.
2. Check your contract
Most tenancy agreements state that you are required to leave the property in the condition you found it. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t make changes while you are living there. There are a variety of easily reversible changes which can make a house more energy efficient. If the curtains the landlord provided are too thin and let too much heat escape, then take them down, put them somewhere safe and out of sight and put up your own, thicker and more draught-proof ones. Just remember to swap them back before you leave!
As a tenant you can sometimes feel like the house you live in is never really your home and the only way to save money on your bills is to never turn the heating on! However, improvements like basic insulation could make a real difference to your energy bills.
3. Don’t be afraid to ask for reasonable improvements
Keeping good relations with a landlord can be a struggle, especially when there are changes you want to make to the property. But as of 1 April 2016, new regulations mean that tenants can request the consent of their landlords to carry out energy efficiency improvements.
The recommended 270mm level of loft insulation would certainly be a reasonable expectation. Landlords should be more willing to contribute to changes if it is something which could become a selling point of the property or help tenants keep up with the monthly rent payments.
4. Keep an open dialogue with your landlord
It is always worth having an open dialogue with your landlord about what you are both willing to improve. You may find that you have much more of a say in saving energy and money in your home than you thought.
5. Look at your own behaviour
Make sure you are doing everything you can to minimise how much energy you use. Be careful when you heat your water, keep the temperature low on your washing machine and keep an eye on your thermostat. Turning the thermostat down by just 1oC can result in a substantial saving. YouGen have a variety of tips for being more energy efficient check them out here on the blog.
Of course there might be some advantages to renting. If you live in a rented flat with other flats above, below and to your sides, then you may be getting some extra warmth and insulation for free!
Sources: Uk Power
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