More than three-quarters of a million tenants may be wrongly denied the right to switch their energy provider by their landlord, research claims.
Auto-switching service The Labrador, which works with letting agents to help tenants move to more affordable suppliers, surveyed 1,000 renters, and found a lack of awareness regarding switching rights.
The poll found that 5% of renters have wrongly been refused attempts to switch energy supplier to their landlord – which it said equates to 779,626 adults based on an estimated 15m tenants in the UK.
Additionally, 6% said they believed they did not have the right or ability to switch, The Labrador report says.
Landlords are not allowed to stop renters from switching if the tenant manages their own bills.
One in ten renters said they have inherited their energy supplier from previous tenants and continued to use this service, while 10% said they have lived in damp, cold and mouldy properties as they will not turn on their heating during the winter months due to it being too expensive.
Tenants also complained that their landlord or agent was not transparent about the average cost of their utility bills, while some were still left to pay the previous renter’s charges.
Jane Lucy, founder of The Labrador, said: “There is a clear indication that some UK renters are living in sub-standard conditions during the coldest months due to an ingrained fear over the cost of energy bills.
“Renters largely face the brunt of this, both overpaying for their energy use whilst also experiencing uncomfortable living environments due to the combination of poor housing.”