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Charities call for better protection for tenants in cold homes

By Jane Fazackarley     Sep 18, 2010 in Environment
A group of 15 organisations have joined together to call on the government to better protect tenants who are living in cold, poorly insulated homes.
Among the organisations who issued the statement to Energy Secretary Chris Huhne are Friends of the Earth, Age UK, Citizens Advice and Crisis.
The charities want it to be made illegal to let out poorly insulated homes unless they are brought up to a better standard of energy efficiency.
According to the statement, the organisations say that privately let houses are poorly maintained and house a large number of vulnerable people or people who live in fuel poverty.
Dave Timms, a Friends of the Earth's climate campaigner said in a press release:
"It's a disgrace that millions of vulnerable people in Britain live in poorly insulated and dangerously cold homes that make them ill, while paying far more than they can afford trying to stay warm."
"The Government should introduce a minimum energy efficiency standard for private rented homes so they are better insulated and cheaper to heat -this would protect tenants from high fuel bills and ill health, while creating jobs, saving the NHS money and cutting carbon emissions."
The Fuel Poverty Advisory Group defines a household as being in fuel poverty if they have to spend more than 10% of their income to heat their home to a satisfactory level.
According to figures from Poverty UK figures from 2007 showed that 2.8 million households in the UK were classed as being in fuel poverty. These figures rose to 4.6 million in 2009. This is a problem which has been made worse by the spiralling costs of fuel bills and colder winters and is expected to continue to worsen.
The group also asks that landlords are given clear information and advice along with financial help to bring properties up to an acceptable standard. They are also calling for tenants to get better information about energy efficiency when they are looking for a new home.
A Parliamentary motion to set out minimum energy efficiency levels for privately let homes has been signed by MPs from across all parties.
The group of charities, which also includes the Disability Alliance and the Energy Efficiency Group are asking for legislation to be brought in as part of the Energy Security and Green Economy Bill, a Bill which is aimed at delivering a national programme of measures to make homes and businesses more energy efficient.
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