We use cross-sectional household survey data in England between 2002–03 and 2010–11 to explore potential barriers to ownership of three common energy efficiency measures (loft insulation, cavity wall insulation and full double glazing) in residential properties. There is little compelling evidence that credit constraints, as proxied by income, education or means-tested benefit receipt, inhibit ownership. Failures in landlord–tenant relationships, though, are a key issue: private renters are significantly less likely to have the measures in their homes than other tenure groups. More broadly, it is the characteristics of the dwelling rather than of the occupants which are most strongly related to the presence of the measures. However, relatively few factors are consistently associated with lower ownership rates over time and efficiency measures, suggesting that policies to encourage increased take-up may need to be tailored to the specific measure.