21/05/2012 9:20 am
Social housing is generally regarded as being in better condition than much private rented sector stock, but with many tenants on low incomes there is still work to be done to improve the energy efficiency of homes, and reduce fuel poverty. With government schemes to tackle the problems in a degree of disarray, this week’s Focus is looking at what social landlords can do to help cut fuel bills for their tenants. Verco director Duncan Price kicks us off with a look at how the political spat over the ‘conservatory tax’ fits into the wider picture, and we’ve got a range of articles and resources on the subject on our Focus page. Take a look and let us know what you think.
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21/05/2012 12:12 pm
With rents set to multiply far beyond inflation, and general living costs escalating from the economic mismanagement (or rather management in favour of the few) even those falling outside of the traditional proportion of income level for fuel poverty will find it impossible to pay the ever increasing cost of the privatised utilities.
There is a simple theme across all of this, but it is too obvious to state.
21/05/2012 2:53 pm
What worry's me also is when the Green Deal comes in and social tenants will have to pay on their enegry bills for works done.
'It is hard to see tenants wanting to commit to a taking on a debt - even if it's only payable whilst they live in the property. Also, there will be a very real Green Deal charge that will appear on the tenant's energy bill set against energy savings, which could be marginal and not guaranteed.And yes I know about the golden rule but with energy cost going up will the drive more tenants into fuel poverty. Also as it stands at this present time the ECO is spilt into two parts firstly the ECO Affordable Warmth, which operates outside the Green Deal and will be targeted at fuel poor homes - but in its current form, social housing is not eligible for this, despite a rising problem with fuel poverty.
So I just hope that RSL will not stop their work in upgrading their property's and leaving it down to the tenants because in the long term it can only damage the stock. As a after thought this debt stays with the property this in turn could make re letting the property harder what with affordable rents what I know some RSL are having trouble trying to let now without the Green Deal debt on top
Inside Housing staff post
22/05/2012 9:16 am
I think social landlords are keen to continue upgrading their stock, but with decent homes money drying up the question is where will they get the resources to do so? If the green deal doesn't stack up - and John Green has outlined just a few of the problems with it above - then what alternatives are being considered. I've heard of a few landlords that are looking at different options, such as charging higher rents for properties that are more energy efficient, but in most cases there is even more red tape to overcome than there is with the green deal.
22/05/2012 11:24 am
Let me first delcare an interest in this field. I work for one of the big six energy providers and am also a social housing tenant.
I personally think its disgusting that people in the UK are living in fuel poverty.
But I also believe that bashing the energy companies does not help. Everyone has their own view on whether utilities should or should not have been privatised. The fact is they are private companies that employ lots of people. People should not assume there is an automatic link between privatisation and fuel poverty. They are two very seperate debates.
Let's look at the cold facts - the era of cheap worldwide energy is over. We knew this would happen and politicians have had plenty of time to deal with it.
Despite what the British mass media report - the UK has some of the CHEAPEST gas and electric prices in western Europe - Fact!
The UK also has some of the least efficent housing in Europe. Go figure.
Recently my RSL had a pilot 'green deal' scheme. They reported their findings with great fanfare, saying it was pretty much a failure. Apparently there was a massive funding gap and less than 5% of tenants wanted the free energy improvements.
Well I can tell you I begged my landlord for my home to be included in their pilot. Only to be told that it wasn't "being held in my region"...
So before they declare that none of their tenants were interested. How about opening it up to the whole of their stock? Talk about manipulating the statistic....
07/06/2012 6:02 pm
My neighbour who was recently decanted into a newly refurbished flat earmarked for social housing ,was scocked to find a key meter had been installed for his utilities. I was also decanted into the same block but am in a flat earmarked for sale. There are no key meters. There is an assumption that social tenants either cannot or do not pay by any other method. Key meters are the most expensive method of payment as we all know.My neighbour has asked for the key meter to be removed; the landlord has refused. he was not given a choice.
18/08/2012 4:24 pm
Well, I live in a block 'managed' [I use the word managed sarcastically] by Tower Hamlets Homes, It is one of two low-rise blocks, 105 dwellings total with communal boilers for heating and hot water.
We have pointed out to them over the last six years [my period of residence] tens of ways that they could cut energy bills [minutieries for the floor lighting, photocells, microprocessor retrofits on the boilers, thermostatic control of the boilers, thermostatic radiator valves on all the dwelllings, lower water temperatures and ionic metthods to prevent legionnaires, switching off at the appropriate moment rather than middle of the summer etc. etc.].
However, since they add 'management' fees to energy bills, it suits them to waste, after all it's only public money and the rest is from leaseholders who are to be despised. Also, social tenants are flat-rate [I'm not against subsidy, this is the 'social' in social housing to some extent] so there's moral hazard and inequity.
I've made a lot of enquiries and done a lot of networking within the borough and this same situation obtains where there has been borough->RSL stock transfer and there are communal energy installations. So the borough and it's actors whilst championing 'efficiency' and being against 'fuel poverty' are creating it by their indolence and lack of initiative/imagination. I imagine this is the same nationwide, say it, sing it: 'megawatts down the drain. local governrment to blame!'.