Going for Green: The Demand for Energy Efficient Properties – A Landlord’s Guide

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Not only do Landlords now need to ensure their properties provide a healthy and safe environment and conform to the latest energy efficiency regulations; but Tenants are far more discerning about what they expect from a rental property and may reject a property if it falls short of meeting environmental standards.

However, Landlords need not view the changing ‘letting landscape’ as a threat. Clever Landlords will identify what regulators and tenants want and then use that knowledge to their portfolio’s advantage.

From the 1st April 2018, properties rented out in the private rented sector will be required to have an Energy Performance Certificate rating of E or above, and Landlords letting non-compliant properties will be liable for penalties. According to HomeLet’s publication Let’s Talk, a study by Quick Move Now found that “8% of available rental homes currently fall beneath the minimum efficiency standards” which HomeLet also predict could “significantly impact on the supply of rental homes”. This means that Landlords having the foresight to upgrade their portfolios now, will be leading the pack when the legislation kicks in.

Providing a residence that goes the extra ‘energy efficient’ mile, will not only set a property apart from others in the marketplace but will also attract Tenants looking to make savings from environmentally friendly improvements. According to a 2017 Tenant Survey carried out by LSL Property Services PLC Group, “42% of Tenants see the green credentials of a building as being important when making a rental decision”. This is great news for proactive Landlords, after all, a Tenant enjoying financial benefits from such astute upgrades would be in no hurry to move. A satisfied Tenant is a settled Tenant.

So here’s our list of the top ‘enviro-provements’ (large and small) that you can make to keep your rental property, and its value, ahead of the game.

Contemporise Doors & Windows

Even if your property is already double-glazed it is worth considering the length of time that windows and doors have been in situ. Technology has moved on considerably in the last ten years and it could be time to replace discoloured UPVC and fatigued seals with more environmentally friendly (more insulating, less polluting) wooden frames and triple-glazing. What’s more this investment adds to the property’s curb appeal.

Upgrade to Under Floor Heating

Wall mounted radiators (especially storage heaters) are inefficient and they clumsily impact on square footage – especially where space is in short supply. Underfloor heating is cheaper to use because it keeps rooms at constant temperatures rather than having to work hard in response to fluctuating temperature changes.

Give Draughts the Cold Shoulder

Planned and efficient air circulation and ventilation within the property is healthy but gaping holes (including letterboxes, open chimneys and plumbing exit points), which let cold air in and the heat out, are not conducive to effective eco-living. Cost effective fixes are widely available, including: expanding foam, chimney balloons and letterbox draught excluders.

Invest in Insulation

The cavities in lofts and walls may be out of sight but they certainly shouldn’t be out of mind – neither for you, nor your Tenant. Heat rises, so using recycled or natural loft insulation means more heat is retained below ceiling height. What’s more, warmer walls mean less energy is used to maintain the internal temperature, resulting in lower bills for Tenants.

Sign Up for Smart Meters

Being able to see exactly how much energy is being consumed by which appliances, often leads to reduced and more eco-conscious use. All homes will be offered smart meters before 2020 and opting for the upgrade will give your Tenants real time control over their gas and electricity consumption. It also makes billing more exact, reducing the likelihood of contested meter readings at Tenant departure – an appealing bonus.

Beef Up Boilers & Plumbing

Water efficiency in bathrooms and kitchens can be improved with water saving taps and shower heads, eco flushes and reduced water use appliances. Although installing a new energy efficient boiler can be expensive, it should be weighed up against the savings made on energy consumption and maintenance call outs; as well as the benefits you’ll see from eliminating what can be a source of tension between Landlord and Tenant.

Taking an honest look at your property’s eco-credentials and making the necessary upgrades may involve financial outlay but the green standard is here to stay. Eco conformance will not only ensure you remain on the right side of the law, and get the thumbs up from future Tenants but it will also enhance the value of your asset. It’s an undeniable win-win-win situation, which warrants a green light whichever way you look at it.