The Energy Bill Support Scheme - How it Affects Landlords
The Energy Bills Support Scheme was announced by the government in February as a reaction to rising household energy costs. It will involve domestic households in England, Scotland and Wales receiving a £200 discount on their bills in October 2022, paying it back in instalments through their electricity bills over the following five years. Northern Ireland will have its own arrangements, as it has devolved energy policy.
However, due to the scale of the policy, this will roll out to all domestic electricity customers in the same manner. This has thrown up some questions about how it will affect landlords and tenants in circumstances where energy is included in the rent, where multiple tenants share the same meter point and other such situations. The bill has gone into a consultation period with key stakeholders, but we do have some guidance already over how landlords can ensure that tenants receive their fair share of the discount, as well as pay back their portion over the following years.
This article explains more about how landlords can prepare for the Energy Bills Support Scheme.
What Landlords Need to Know About the Energy Bills Support Scheme
● In cases where the energy bills are included in the monthly rent, so-called ‘all-inclusive’ rents, the landlord has a duty to pass on the saving from the support scheme, as well as to ensure the rise in bills to cover the costs is passed on too.
● Where more than one tenant accesses their energy through the same electricity meter point, for example in a house in multiple occupancy (HMO), it is the landlord's duty to ensure the grant and repayments are both shared evenly between tenants.
● The Energy Bills Support Scheme consultation will look into other potential issues for landlords and tenants in relation to the scheme. It will present findings in the summer of 2022 and should address situations such as when tenants move into or out of a property during the repayment period, where tenants live together in a house share rather than an HMO and share energy bills, and more.
How to Claim the Energy Bills Support Scheme Grant
There is nothing that you need to do to claim the Energy Bills Support Scheme. Anyone with a domestic electricity meter is eligible and will receive the rebate through their electricity supplier in the autumn, most likely in October. The government says it will ensure those who use pre-payment meters will receive the discount too, citing the use of vouchers to distribute grants in previous schemes.
The policy comes after the UK’s energy price cap rose 54% in April, with a further rise expected in autumn too. It follows a perfect storm of events that have produced such a sharp increase in costs, from the effects of Covid-19 on supply to Britain leaving the EU's internal energy market to the war in Ukraine and the need to move away from reliance on Russian fuel.
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