The latest rise in energy prices has put increased pressure on renters across the UK. Combining astronomical energy bills with a nationwide cost of living crisis has made for a precarious situation heading into the winter, and it’s important landlords stay informed in order to protect their tenants.
We spoke with Greg Matthews, former property manager at Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward, and Customer Success Manager at Fixflo, to learn more about how you can help your tenants save this winter.
Cost of living crisis: a humanitarian emergency
“The effects of the energy crisis will mainly fall to the occupiers. Everyone is feeling the pinch, and it’s important to keep an eye on the most vulnerable groups,” asserts Greg.
The BBC recently reported that 4 in 10 renters under the age of 30 are spending over 30% of their monthly wage on rent. With such a high proportion of their earnings already spoken for, young people are sure to feel additional strain from the energy price increase.
At the other end of the demographic, older residents also need safeguarding throughout the colder months. “I think the concern of how long it takes to heat up a property is going to be at the forefront of everyone’s mind this winter.”
“People may try to cut costs by turning their heating off completely, but that could be a dangerous or even fatal decision for some. It’s important that landlords do everything they can to avoid people putting themselves in danger. That means ongoing communication, and early-intervention for the most at-risk groups,” Greg suggests.
What can you do to help?
There are a variety of actions you can take, from quick fixes to long-term changes, that can ease the pressure on your occupiers this winter.
“There are some small changes that occupants can enact themselves. For example, getting a smart meter to track spending on heating and electricity will help people get an idea of how efficient their system is, and when to have it checked out.”
“Other useful changes include switching to energy-efficient bulbs, adding reflective foils to radiators, using window films and placing draft excluders under doors. If you can, it’s worth investing in these yourself and supplying them to residents. But if that’s not in your budget, simply keeping everyone informed of their options is a great first step,” discusses Greg.
There are also more long-term ways to tackle the energy crisis. “Prepayment meters are one of the most expensive ways to power your home. If possible, encourage residents to use smart meters and start paying by direct debit.”
“Finally, it may not be a quick fix, but improving the energy efficiency of your property is one of the most effective ways to save huge amounts on energy. This will take financial pressure off occupiers, and it will also help you stay compliant as EPC standards are raised,” Greg advises.
All in this together
Regardless of whether you invest in a sustainable heating system, or simply offer vulnerable residents a helping hand, you will be making a difference in the face of adversity.
“Communication is key. People will be a lot less angry and frustrated if they feel supported by their landlord. Call people with updates, make yourself contactable, and we will all feel stronger.” - Greg Matthews
Fixflo is here to keep landlords and residents reassured. For more advice and support, check out our blog.