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Britain's freezing renters to get relief at landlords' expense

[LONDON] Tenants shivering their way through another cold British winter are set to get some relief, at the expense of their landlords.

Owners of privately rented homes in England and Wales will be required to upgrade properties with the lowest energy efficiency ratings of F or G next year before they can be put on the market, according to a statement by U.K. Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry. The measures come into force next year.

Upgrades may include installing floor insulation, low energy lighting or increasing loft insulation, and are expected to cost the landlords about 1,200 pounds (S$2,146) on average. If the expense exceeds 3,500 pounds, landlords will be able to seek an exemption. Tenants are expected to save an average of 180 pounds a year.

"While the vast majority of landlords take great pride in the properties they own, a minority still rent out housing that is difficult to keep warm," Perry said. "Upgrading these homes so they are more energy efficient is one of the most effective ways to tackle fuel poverty and help bring down bills for their tenants."

The measures, which will affect an estimated 290,000 properties or around 6 per cent of the market, will also help reduce carbon emissions and potentially increase property values, according to the statement.

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