Landlords wrongly refusing tenant requests to switch energy

More than three-quarters of a million tenants may be wrongly denied the right to switch their energy provider by their landlord, research claims.

Auto-switching service The Labrador, which works with letting agents to help tenants move to more affordable suppliers, surveyed 1,000 renters, and found a lack of awareness regarding switching rights.

The poll found that 5% of renters have wrongly been refused attempts to switch energy supplier to their landlord – which it said equates to 779,626 adults based on an estimated 15m tenants in the UK.

Additionally, 6% said they believed they did not have the right or ability to switch, The Labrador report says.

Landlords are not allowed to stop renters from switching if the tenant manages their own bills.

One in ten renters said they have inherited their energy supplier from previous tenants and continued to use this service, while 10% said they have lived in damp, cold and mouldy properties as they will not turn on their heating during the winter months due to it being too expensive.

Tenants also complained that their landlord or agent was not transparent about the average cost of their utility bills, while some were still left to pay the previous renter’s charges.

Jane Lucy, founder of The Labrador, said: “There is a clear indication that some UK renters are living in sub-standard conditions during the coldest months due to an ingrained fear over the cost of energy bills.

“Renters largely face the brunt of this, both overpaying for their energy use whilst also experiencing uncomfortable living environments due to the combination of poor housing.”


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  1. Mark Connelly

    Jane Lucy, founder of The Labrador, said: “There is a clear indication that some UK renters are living in sub-standard conditions during the coldest months due to an ingrained fear over the cost of energy bills.

    The suggestion being that if they changed supplier everything would be rosy in the world again. Energy will be cheap and no more fear of energy costs. I don’t think so, unless energy is free there will always be people either tenants or owners who worry about using and paying for it.

    I suspect there are many more owners than tenants who haven’t switched energy suppliers. However as Marc has chosen to open the headline with “Landlords wrongly”  then it continues the Landlord bashing theme. Despite the refusals at at measly 5%. And 100% of these are down to either tenant or landlord ignorance.

    Change the narrative please.

  2. DASH94

    I wonder how this compares to the number of landlords that get their house returned to them at the end of a tenancy to find that they’ve got a pay as you go meter installed – at a hugely inflated tariff and standing charge of up to £1.50 per day, and the exiting tenant hasn’t left the cards or if it’s a new pay as you go smart meter (don’t get me started), you can’t get any energy out of it at all until you register for an account yourself and then have it re-registered when a new tenant moves in|

    1. CountryLass

      If they haven’t received permission to have it put in, then the cost of having it be removed should be the Tenants responsibility, either from the deposit or the energy supplier to chase.

      1. DASH94

        You’d think – but the energy companies generally won’t replace until the new tenant registers for an account and they can request removal.

        Landlord is responsible for the standing charge whilst it’s empty though.

  3. Woodentop

    Must have contacted all the Spark customers.

  4. CountryLass

    My contracts state that a Tenant cannot change without receiving permission. They also need to get permission to get smart meters fitted.

    I don’t think I have ever had permission refused for someone to change suppliers, I just ask that they let me know the new supplier so that they can be notified at change of tenancy.

    1. Woodentop

      err you can’t do that.

  5. PossessionFriendUK39

    What a biased article – merely aimed at publicity to inflate their business revenue  Shame.

    5%  of Tenants !  – There is some ignorance out there amongst a number of landlords about their rights and responsibilities, but most of it is genuine ‘not-knowing’ as opposed to a deliberate act.

    More than enough sources of Free advice out there for tenants, whilst landlords have to pay.

    ( Not forgetting that some 60% of landlords are single-property renters, who are blue collar workers.  Not the corporate type that is sometimes portrayed )


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