The private rental sector in the UK has seen a rapid improvement in energy efficiency over the past two years with the number of worst-rated properties halving. This means that landlords are increasingly attaching importance to improve energy efficiency of their buy-to-let residential properties in the UK.

An analysis by insurance firm AXA shows that rentals come out better on boiler upgrades, insulation and smart meters than owner-occupied homes. Landlords are also realising the value of undertaking several upgrades of their properties.

The private rental sector also compares well when it comes to energy upgrades. Tenants in England and Wales are now more likely to have smart meters installed than people who own their own homes, and there are fewer inefficient (pre-2005) boilers in rentals too, according to the study.

However, one in 20 rentals still breach minimum standards set to come into force next April. These pockets of inefficiency mean that tenants are over-paying on energy by an estimated £13 million every month.

Energy is certainly top of mind for UK tenants, as cold and damp were named the biggest bugbears by 43 per cent of those surveyed. A quarter said they felt they were paying excess bills due to the energy inefficiency of their homes.