More than half a million people around the UK could miss out on the Government’s support for billpayers as their landlords might pocket the money, Citizens Advice has warned.
The body said that one in eight people who rent from a private landlord may not feel the benefit of the support that is meant to cut energy bills.
As a result 585,000 people could be left out of pocket. These are tenants whose landlords manage their bills.
With the price of energy at a record high, it’s vital that government support reaches the people it’s intended for
Dame Clare Moriarty
They are locked out of the £150 warm home discount and may not see the £400 energy grant that the Government has promised from October.
Only people who pay their energy suppliers directly will receive the £400 help. The landlords will get the money, but there is no legal requirement for them to pass it on to their tenants.
There is also no guidance on how landlords should manage this fairly.
“With the price of energy at a record high, it’s vital that government support reaches the people it’s intended for,” said Citizens Advice chief executive Dame Clare Moriarty.
“We’re worried that many tenants are falling through the cracks, putting them at risk of missing out on money to help them with soaring bills.
“Renters must be able to take control of their energy payments if they want to, so they can get all the support they need.
“The government should also bring forward clear guidance for landlords to make sure tenants don’t miss out on the upcoming £400 energy grant.”
Citizens Advice said its advisers had spoken to one man who had less than £10 left on his electricity sub-meter and could not access the Warm Home Discount because he was not named as a billpayer.
Another tenant was meant to have bills included in their rent, but their energy supplier installed a prepayment meter because the landlord had failed to pay up.
Those on low incomes, young people and people of colour are more likely to be impacted by these issues, Citizens Advice said.
Energy bills shot up from the beginning of April when the price cap on bills was increased by 54% for the average household.
It came after global gas prices rose over several months to record highs.