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Private Sector Housing 101… “it’s probably condensation"

Whilst this phrase may get thrown around quite commonly, that doesn't mean to say condensation is a get out of jail free card that can be played against those living in fuel poverty.

Fuel poverty is the condition by which a household is unable to afford to heat their home to an adequate temperature. It is caused by low income, high fuel prices, poor energy efficiency, unaffordable housing prices and poor-quality housing.

A household is considered to be fuel poor if:

  • they are living in a property with a fuel poverty energy efficiency rating of band D or below


  • when they spend the required amount to heat their home, they are left with a residual income below the official poverty line.

 There are 3 important elements in determining whether a household is fuel poor:

  • household income
  • household energy requirements
  • fuel prices

There are over 4 million UK households living in fuel poverty and this year’s energy crisis has only pushed bills up by over £200 since last winter. Needless to say, for those living in fuel poverty, tackling problems such as condensation mould growth can be easier said than done.

Many families will often have to choose food or fuel, and that's without the added costs of winter festivities! If someone cannot afford to adequately heat their home, then they're facing an uphill battle to tackle the related problems that go along with that, such as condensation mould growth, and the health issues associated with them. 

Friday 3rd of December is Fuel Poverty Awareness Day. A day for highlighting the harsh realities people face living in fuel poverty; why it benefits us all to tackle this problem; and how we can do just that. Tackling the ‘worst first’ means there is the most to be gained including big NHS savings, the economic benefits, and making the biggest carbon savings. There are a variety of grants and schemes available at the moment, targeted at helping the most vulnerable homes. Some may even say a confusing amount of variety…but a variety none the less! These include ECO3, ECO Flex, Warm Home Fund, and the Local Authority Delivery Green Home Grant Scheme.

As a Private Sector Housing Officer, I have been involved in a local project funded by the Government, focused on improving the worst EPC banded properties (Fs & Gs) in the Darlington area. This is a big task, which only goes to show how much it’s needed. The smallest of improvements can really make the biggest difference. Improving a property’s energy efficiency means spending less money on the energy bills, which with the world the way it is at the moment, I feel people need now more than ever. All of these combined efforts will help us work our way to a warmer future!

If you feel you, or someone you know, may be vulnerable to living in fuel poverty please follow the link below to find more details on the help that may be available.

Darlington Borough Council - Fuel poverty and home energy saving

image of fuel poverty awareness day

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