The Government made much of its energy bills benefit payments in response to the energy prices crisis.
This support comes through energy suppliers which credit customer accounts. People with pre-payment meters will have the benefits applied to their meter or through a voucher.
However renters, especially those who pay rent with energy bills included or as a service charge, including renters in houses of multiple occupation are likely to miss out on these payments.
It is down to the “discretion” of landlords whether this payment will be passed down to renters. Even if landlords control the account and rebill their tenants there is no requirement to pass the payment on. So the renter will be at the mercy of the landlord.
This affects people on low incomes, young people and people of colour the most. People between 25 to 34 years make up 35% of renters, the largest group.
If the energy contract is in the landlord’s name they are likely not to receive the payments. In some cases, landlords pay for energy and then ‘resell’ it to their tenants. The landlord is only legally allowed to charge the tenant the same price they paid, but tenants can struggle to enforce their rights if they think they’re being overcharged .Some tenants are charged via “sub-meters” where landlords organise energy for the building, often through a business energy supply contract. As the price cap does not apply to these contracts, tenants can see rapid price increases and miss out on support. People with prepay “sub-meters” are especially at risk, as they could be left without energy if they cannot afford to top up.
One more reason why renters should get together and organise!