We often see the subject of rising utility bills in the news, as many people living in the UK have struggled over the years to keep up with the increasing costs of energy.
During the winter months in particular, many people find it hard to keep themselves warm without sacrificing other necessities, which is why landlords need to keep a keen eye on anything that happens in the energy sector that could affect their tenants.
In the past couple of weeks, the issue of energy in the UK has become even more prominent, and here Just Landlords considers how certain revelations could affect landlords:
Investigation into energy providers
One of the biggest stories to hit the headlines over the past couple of weeks is that the regulatory body Ofgem (The Office of Gas and Electricity Markets) is launching an official investigation into some of the biggest energy providers in the UK.
The investigation was called after it was revealed that a large percentage of the UK have little confidence or trust in what are called the Big Six energy providers, mainly due to the fact that each are reporting increasing profits while at the same time claiming it is necessary to charge more for gas and electricity.
Another reason why the investigation is being launched is to determine whether the Big Six energy companies are monopolising the market and are therefore breaking competition laws.
If this is the case, it is likely they will be broken up in the near future, and customers will be encouraged to switch providers to those that can offer cheaper rates.
As a landlord, cheaper utility bills will be more than welcomed, as it will mean your tenants are less likely to fall into rent arrears or struggle to keep themselves warm during the winter.
Next Monday, a report created by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will state that the effects of global warming have already affected “all continents and across the oceans”.
Furthermore, the report will state that unless global leaders put into place more effective measures to cease further climate change, then the UK, as well as all other countries across the world, will start to see more severe issues.
At the beginning of this year, thousands of homes were affected by flooding, and even though there were multiple issues that caused it, experts are claiming that unless we tackle climate change, the UK will see even more flooding in the future.
Landlords across the nation are already concerned what future flooding will mean for their businesses, particularly those that own properties on the coast, as many landlord insurance providers are now claiming they are unable to offer protection from flood damages in certain areas.
If the situation gets worse, we may start to see a decline in property investment in areas that are considered high risk
The onshore wind farms debate
At the same time the UK is told that we need to do more to cut emissions and avoid climate change, a debate rages on concerning whether more onshore wind farms should be built across the nation.
In fact, just this morning, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg blocked a Conservative plan to stop any new wind farms that have not already gained approval being built onshore.
The subject of onshore wind farms has always been controversial, as while they are a huge provider of green energy, they are also deemed an eyesore and can be extremely loud. Local councils are often faced with protests from members of their constituencies if they put forward plans to build wind farms, as homeowners are concerned that it will reduce their quality of life as well as their property values. This is also true for landlords, especially those that rely on their properties as their main source of income.
It is not surprising that the issue of energy and climate change has started hitting headlines recently, as political parties are beginning to make their policies clear before the general election in May 2015. It is likely that we will start to see a number of MPs state their opinions on the subject in the next few months, which means that by this time next year, landlords may have a better idea of how energy and climate change issues could affect their businesses.