TENANTS living in rented properties in Weymouth could be missing out on hundreds of pounds worth of vital support for energy bills.

That’s according to a local landlord who says tenants who pay into a sub-meter are being refused Government grant funding.

Graham Reid, who owns two properties on The Esplanade, said that when the government promised a £400 grant for energy support for all households “it was immediately clear that there would be a very large group - possibly millions of people” who would not receive the payment as they do not have a direct relationship with a utility company.

An Energy Support Grant - Alternative Payment scheme was launched in February 2023 to mitigate this.

But according to Mr Reid, hundreds of thousands of households are still slipping through the net and being failed by the system.

The problem affects those who do not have a direct relationship with a utility firm but instead pay for their electricity via a sub-meter to the landlord.

He explained that in this situation, landlords take responsibility for the main meter but then subdivide supplies and charges to each unit via a submeter to flats and bedsits within the same building. 

He said that in one of his properties the tenants have their own electricity meters and pay the utility company directly. They have each received the promised £400 via the Government’s Energy Bills Support Scheme.

However, in another property, the seven tenants living there do not have a direct relationship with a utility company, and instead pay for their electricity via a submeter. “This is completely legal and quite common,” Mr Reid added.

“I have received the £400 which will be passed on, but each tenant will then only receive a one-seventh payment of £57.14.”

“They have applied for the full £400 grant via the Alternative Payment scheme but all so far have been denied due to a single payment of £400 to myself, which I would happily return, but for which there is no mechanism and there is no guarantee that the individual payments would then be made.

“This is clearly unfair.”

He said that there are more than 60 registered houses of multiple occupation (HMOs) in Weymouth, “most of which are probably sub-metered and accommodate an average of five tenants” – suggesting that those living under these circumstances will miss out on a collective total of around £120,000.

“I estimate that when you add any unregistered HMOs and the numerous flats that have been created by subdivision of larger properties, that figure could easily be doubled to an estimated £250,000 in Weymouth alone. Nationally it will be millions of pounds,” Mr Reid said.

“I do think it is a case of the Government simply not understanding the complexity of the situation and not having chosen an appropriate mechanism for payment.

“When there was a support payment of £150 last year it was paid via the council tax system which if repeated would have avoided this unhappy situation.”