Advice for private rented tenants

Greener Housing

Rising energy costs mean that there is an even greater incentive to save energy, to reduce emissions and to prevent households falling into fuel poverty.

The increasing demands we make on the world’s resources have led to global climate change. The Council believes that much can be done at a local level to combat this and takes its role in working towards a sustainable future very seriously.

What you can do

Saving energy and water around your home not only help save you money but also help the environment. There are many ways in which you can help; even small changes can make a big difference.

You can find many tips on our Greener Living pages and on the Energy Saving Trust website.

Saving Energy around the home

Reducing your energy consumption will help cut down your carbon emissions as well as your bills. The Energy Saving Trust says the majority of the UK’s least energy-efficient homes could be made more energy efficient for less than £3,000 – typically by installing new loft and cavity wall insulation or a modern boiler. You can use its database to find available grants and discounts.

You can also get advice and information from the Simple Energy Advice website Simple Energy Advice a government endorsed website that aims to help you reduce bills and improve your home.

Schemes to help save energy

Green Doctor visits

The Green Doctors Home Energy scheme, delivered by the environmental charity Groundwork London in partnership with the Council, is a free service, giving health and financial advice to some of Kensington and Chelsea's most vulnerable households – particularly young families and elderly residents and those with multiple health conditions. The visits provide guidance on efficient energy usage in the home, understanding heating systems and installation of small energy measures. These early interventions can reduce the effects of cold homes on people’s health and enable local residents to feel more connected to the community. 

The free visit will offer:

  • energy efficiency advice on energy saving and switching tariffs and support with utility bills
  • free Installation of energy efficiency measures such as energy efficient light bulbs, draught-proofing, radiator panels and energy monitors and water saving measures
  • income and financial support
  • help with claiming benefits related to energy costs (the Warm Home Discount/Priority Services Register)
  • debt advice and help with social isolation
  • Kensington and Chelsea Healthier Homes Schemes Referral (where possible residents will be referred for home improvements such as insulation and boiler upgrades)

Who is eligible for this service? 

Any vulnerable Kensington and Chelsea resident, in particular you can benefit if you have/are:

  • young persons on a low income (aged 16 to 25)
  • young parents aged under 35 on low income
  • young families on a low income with children aged under 14, or pregnant
  • elderly people aged over 65
  • suffer from respiratory diseases and/or cardiovascular disease
  • severe mental illness or dementia
  • multiple health issues

How is a referral made?

Referrals are made directly to Groundwork London, which is delivering the home energy visits on behalf of the Council. If you would like a free visit or would like to refer someone else, you can complete Groundwork’s Home Energy Visit Form or call 0300 365 5003.

How to save energy

  • turn off every unused appliance in your home, instead of leaving them on stand-by, and save £80 a year
  • turning your heating down by just 1°C can save £85-90  a year - the recommended temperature for living rooms is 21°C
  • each time you boil the kettle only put in the amount of water you need, this will save £20 over a year
  • clothes can be washed just as effectively at 30°C and you will save up to £15 a year. This will also reduce wear on your machine
  • have showers (not power showers) instead of baths and you could save about £40 throughout the year
  • in winter, make sure you close your curtains as this will help to stop any draughts

Grants

The Green Homes Grant – Local Authority Delivery (“LAD”)

LAD funding is available to help you upgrade your home.  If you are an owner occupier in  a property with an EPC rating of D, E,F or G and on an income of less than £20,000 after housing costs  you may qualify for up to £10,000 assistance to improve the energy efficiency of your home.  For more information call 0800 083 2265.

If you are a qualifying tenant your landlord can apply for a grant of up to £5,000.  The landlord will need to make a contribution of a third of the cost of works so £2,500 for the maximum £5,000 grant.

Keep Warm Grant

A home owner or tenant of a property may apply for a grant up to a maximum of £7,500 per dwelling. This grant is intended to provide a decent level of warmth in the home and improve its overall energy efficiency (known as a “SAP rating”).  Works will typically include the installation of a more efficient central heating system and, where possible, insulation works.

If you or someone you know could benefit from a grant or for further information please contact the Grants Team on 020 7361 3002 or email environmentalhealth@rbkc.gov.uk.

Healthy Homes Grant

If you are an owner occupier in receipt of benefits, you may be able to apply for help to service, repair or install heating.  Please contact Justine.dornan@rbkc.gov.uk or call 020 7341 5247 for more information.

The Warmer Homes Fund

This is a scheme run by the Mayor of London and open to London homeowners who are on benefits or meet their council’s eligibility criteria (see the Statement of Intent below for criteria). The next application stage of the fund is due to open up at the end of November 2021.

You can get further information and apply on the Warmer Homes page of the London.gov website.

If you cannot apply online then call the Green Doctors or Healthier Homes on 0808 202 6204 for help in making the application.

The scheme offers a range of free improvements to make your home more comfortable and reduce your energy bills. A home survey will be undertaken by Retrofitworks to assess the most suitable improvements to make your home warm and comfortable and reduce your energy bills. These could include:

  • boiler replacement and repairs
  • new central heating systems
  • loft, cavity and flat roof insulation
  • internal and external wall insulation and floor insulation
  • draught proofing and secondary glazing
  • ventilation

Energy performance certificates 

All homes bought, sold or rented require an Energy Performance Certificate. 

If you are entering a new tenancy, the certificate should be provided by your landlord.

An Energy Performance Certificate gives information on how to make your home more energy efficient and reduce carbon dioxide emissions. All homes bought, sold or rented require a certificate. 

For more information, visit the Gov.uk pages on energy performance certificates. 

Tenants

Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards

Check that your landlord provided you with an Energy Performance Certificate when the tenancy was granted (unless prior to 2008).  If the certificate shows the property is F or G rated the landlord is no longer legally allowed to rent out the property unless they have applied for an exemption.  They will need to carry out works to raise the energy efficiency of the property to at least an E rating.

If the property you are renting is poorly insulated, has inadequate heating and is expensive to keep warm it may fall below Housing health and safety rating system (HHSRS) standards. You can find more information on this and what we can do to help you on our page about disrepair.

Fuel poverty can affect anyone but most at risk are; single older households, single younger households, older couples and lone parents.

The Healthy Homes Hotline - 0808 202 6204 helps people who are having difficulty keeping their homes warm or keeping up with their energy bills.

Healthier Homes project

The Healthier Homes project has been set up with public health funding to assist residents living in homes that are cold, damp or dangerous and whose health may be put at risk.

If you, or someone you know is:

  • living in a home that they cannot heat properly because it does not have adequate heating or insulation or the cost of heating is too high
  • living in a home with serious damp and problems
  • living in a home where conditions may pose a serious risk to their health and safety, for instance dangerous electrical installations, broken steps or banisters
  • living in conditions that may affect existing chronic health conditions such as asthma

You can contact Healthier Homes 0808 202 6204 for assistance.

Healthier Homes is an advice and referral service. It is open to any resident but additional services such as grants and environmental health enforcement are dependent on your individual circumstances.

The full range of services include:

  • Central heating installations, upgrades and repairs
  • Emergency heating in cold weather
  • Fuel debt advice and income maximisation
  • Fuel Tariff advice
  • Energy Efficiency visits
  • Accident Prevention visits
  • Referrals for disabled facilities grants and home safety grants
  • Environmental Health enforcement for private tenants to ensure your home is safe and warm
  • Accident prevention grants

We can also provide training for third sector volunteers and health professionals on identifying fuel poverty and when to refer.

Help with fuel bills

Check your tariff.  Unfortunately the current upheavals in the energy market mean that comparison sites are unable to offer deals for the time being.  Check with your own supplier to see if they can offer you a cheaper tariff.

If you are at risk of fuel debt there are a number of organisations that may be able to help.

Nucleus Advice

Offer a range of support for fuel debt, their advice line is 020 3737 9200 or Self Referral to Nucleus LAC.

Kensington and Chelsea Citizens Advice

Can be contacted:

Worlds End Neighbourhood Advice Centre

Can be contacted:

Age UK Kensington and Chelsea

Can be contacted:

And for vulnerable older residents, the Winter Warmth Fund administered by the Kensington & Chelsea Foundation can help with the cost of large fuel bills.  If you are over 50 and on benefits contact one of Age UK K&C, Nucleus Legal Advice or Citizens Advice

National support schemes

You may also qualify for further support towards your energy bills, if you meet certain eligibility criteria.

  • Winter Fuel Payment – a £100 to £300 fuel payment for people born on or before 5 October 1954. 
  • Cold Weather Payment – a £25 payment for every 7 days of very cold weather between November and March. 
  • Warm Home Discount – a £140 discount for some people getting Pension Credit or some people in low-income households.

My Energy Provider has failed – what should I do?

Your gas and electricity will continue to be provided and Ofgem have a system in place to reassign you to a new supplier.   Take meter readings if possible.  Do not attempt to switch until this transfer is complete.  You will be put onto a “deemed” tariff which may not be the cheapest so as a starting point ask your new supplier to put you onto their cheapest tariff.   After this you are free to shop around and move to a new supplier without incurring exit fees.

Ofgem have provided a useful guide on how you’re protected when energy firms collapse.
 

Statement of Intent for Flexible Eligibility

Please find below the current version of the Energy Company Obligation Help to Heat Statement of Intent on flexible eligibility.

Contact us

If you have any queries, please contact the Environmental Healthline.

Your call is important to us, we aim to have one of our officers contact you within 24 hours.

Last updated: 8 November 2021