Smart meters in the private rented sector

From Robert Ulph on November 3, 2021

Last week was the first Smart Meter Awareness Week and it was particularly timely with the recent rise in fuel prices which is affecting millions of households. Smart meters constantly monitor energy use and show on a display the use and the cost, helping with energy awareness and therefore energy efficiency. They also mean more accurate bills, without the need for manual readings so should hopefully help to remove any surprises. 

The government-backed scheme is led by Smart Energy GB and looked to particularly raise awareness of smart meters and the number currently in the private rented sector. 

Interestingly data from the English Housing Survey reveals that privately rented households are less likely to have smart meters installed, with just 21% of properties. One of the reasons this may so low is that there appears to be some confusion over who is responsible for requesting a smart meter to be installed. 40% of landlords asked believed it was their responsibility to have the smart meter installed and nearly the same again (39%) thought it was the tenant’s responsibility. 51% of letting agents believe it is the tenants and 38% think it the landlord’s responsibility. 

At Pennington we advise the tenant, as the billpayer, contacts their energy supplier if they don’t have a smart meter fitted and this will be arranged by their energy company and installed free of charge. It is our experience that landlords don’t refuse having a smart meter installed at their property, as the advantages benefit current tenants, future tenants as the new smart meters work with any energy supplier and also the landlord too as they may form part of the mix of measures that may be implemented to meet minimum energy efficiency requirements in the private rented sector. 

Propertymark supported the campaign with Timothy Douglas, their Policy and Campaigns Manager commenting: “Propertymark and our members recognise that smart meters can send up-to-date information in order to provide more accurate data on energy usage with the aim of reducing spending.”

“Tenants, landlords, letting agents and energy companies all have a role to play in improving smart meter take up but this can often be down to different types of properties and tenancy management arrangements in the private rented sector. Through Smart Meter Awareness Week, we hope that the sector will be better informed about the benefits of smart meters and understand the installation process.”

At Pennington we help landlords and tenants access the most up to date information they need to ensure that there is no confusion over who has responsibility for such matters as the installation of smart meters or any other issues related to privately rented property. For more information on the full service that we provide please do not hesitate to contact me as I am always happy to help. Or if you require any advice on the local property market in general then please get in touch.