New research has revealed that while most of Britain’s private tenants don’t think their rental property is as energy efficient as it could be, nearly half (47 per cent) are confused about the energy efficiency changes they can make to their homes without breaching their tenancy agreements.

Rising Energy Bills

The poll of 2,000 private tenants has found that many plan to keep their energy bills down this winter by having a morning shower in the gym (22 per cent), charging their tech in the office (26 per cent), and keeping warm in cafes (20 per cent).

Concerns about rising energy bills means that 26 per cent think it will be more cost effective to buy a few hot drinks, rather than heating their home. And 23 per cent will take the opportunity to visit friends and family members, while their own heating stays off.

More than a third (36 per cent) think this will help them manage their outgoings this winter, with 14 per cent admitting they have no idea how much their next energy bill will be.

Fewer than three in 10 respondents (29 per cent) believe their current rental property is as energy efficient as it could be. One in five would like double glazed windows installed, while 28 per cent want better external wall insulation. A quarter also think their property would benefit from an entirely new boiler being installed, and 29 per cent want solar panels put in. Just under six in 10 (59 per cent) find it frustrating that most of the information available about making homes energy efficient seems to be geared towards homeowners.

Smart Energy GB, which commissioned the OnePoll research, has produced an energy efficiency guide for renters to help them identify areas where they can take action. Advice includes speaking to your landlord about loft or cavity wall insulation, checking your radiators for thermostatic valves, installing temporary reflective panels behind radiators and requesting a smart meter from your energy supplier.

Victoria Bacon, Smart Energy GB, said: 

“With energy bills increasing, many people are making plans to beat the rising cost of living.

“But for renters, not knowing what energy efficiency changes they’re allowed to make can be an extra worry.

“Our guide covers low or no cost changes, like getting a smart meter, that are simple to do and effective at helping to keep your bills down. If you pay for the gas or electricity in your rented property, you can choose to have a smart meter. We recommend you tell your landlord before you get one.”

Property expert Kate Faulkner said:

“Whether you’re looking to rent a new flat, or you want to make improvements in your existing home, there are several simple steps you can take to help keep your energy bills down this winter.

Understand how much energy you are using at what times by asking your energy supplier to fit a smart meter. Once you have one, this will make it much easier to focus on what’s costing you the most.

“An easy way to cut your bills is to switch your bulbs to LEDs. If your property is difficult to keep warm, talk to your landlord about loft or cavity wall insulation and turn your thermostat down by 1 degree.

“Your smart meter’s portable in-home display shows how much energy you’re using in pounds and pence, in near-real time. Your meter reading will also be sent to your energy supplier automatically, which means one less thing on your to-do list.”

A smart meter installation takes as little as two hours and can be scheduled at a time to suit you.

If you pay for the gas or electricity in your rented property, you can choose to have a smart meter. We recommend you tell your landlord before you get one.

That’s because there may be rules in your tenancy agreement about how energy is supplied to the property, including the type of meter that can be installed. If your landlord pays the energy bills, the decision to get a smart meter is up to them.

If your tenancy agreement says you need your landlord’s permission to alter metering at your property, they should not unreasonably prevent it.

Smart Energy GB’s energy efficiency guide for renters is available at

Help is available if you are struggling to afford your energy bills or top up your prepayment meter. Visit or if you are in Scotland.