Around 2.7 million households in England are renting out excessively cold, damp or mouldy homes, a survey by Citizens Advice suggests.

The charity surveyed 2,000 private renters aged 18 and over in the UK between January 23-31 through Yonder.

They found that 73% are more likely to be living with dampness if they are in a property with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of D-G rather than A-C.

Additionally, tenants are 89% more likely to experience excessive cold in a D-G rated property than one rated A-C.

The average private sector tenant in England is paying £350 more a year on heating because of poorly insulated and damp homes, while those in the least efficient properties are paying an extra £950, it calculated.

Bury Times: Private sector tenants are often paying at least £350 extra a year to heat poorly insulated homesPrivate sector tenants are often paying at least £350 extra a year to heat poorly insulated homes (Image: PA)

With energy bills set to rise again in April, those in the least efficient homes could pay a “terrifying” £1,190 more a year to keep warm.

What does Citizens Advice suggest the Government do?

Citizens Advice is calling on the government to bring regulation of the private rental sector in line with social housing by following the lead set by ‘Awaab’s Law’.

This relates to two-year-old Awaab Ishak who died in December 2020 from a respiratory condition caused by mould at his home in Rochdale, Greater Manchester.

The proposal will place strict, legally binding timelines on social landlords to deal with serious issues such as dampness and mould.

Citizens Advice also urged the government to follow through on its promise to make sure all private rental properties are upgraded to a minimum EPC C by 2025.

At the moment landlords are currently required only to bring their properties up to an E rating.

Additionally, they do not have to make improvements that cost more than £3,500 but Citizens Advice argue that should be raised to £10,000.

Gillian Cooper, head of energy policy at Citizens Advice, said: “Every week we hear stories of people living in cold, damp and mouldy properties they can’t afford to heat properly.

“It’s shameful that more than 20 years since legislation came into force to reduce fuel poverty and improve the energy performance of homes, people are still suffering.

“Improving energy efficiency in privately rented homes has never been more urgent. It’s the step needed to keep people’s essential bills low, while also helping to protect their mental and physical health.”