First Report on Energy Poverty in the Private Rented Sector in Europe
Dr. Stefan Bouzarovski and Manon Burbidge (The University of Manchester) state that fuel/energy poverty and vulnerability is increasing in the European private rented sector. Their report and analysis are the first scientific publications investigating energy poverty in the private rented sector.
According to the findings, the size of the PRS has increased in many traditionally home-owning societies for a variety of reasons, with a wider cross-section of society remaining longer in the rented sector. The decline in social housing has also accounted for a large share of PRS growth, coupled with a decrease in housing and social benefits. According to the report, quality of PRS housing for low-income renters can be poor. For example, in the UK, the PRS was the worst-performing tenure type in the Decent Homes Standard, with 45% of failed homes not meeting thermal comfort standards.
The authors find that the affordability of housing in the sector for low-income renters is worsening. Across the EU, more than 1 in 10 people on average are spending more than 40% of their income on housing costs, including energy, rent and other utilities. Households in the PRS struggle with energy-related problems to a much greater degree than the general population.
Race, class, ethnicity, age and gender are recognised factors that lead towards increased discrimination and precarity in the PRS. Research has found that students are one of the most ‘under-reported and under-supported’ groups living in fuel poverty in the PRS across Europe.