Energy Efficiency & your Buy to Let
Head of Lettings and Operations, Paul Buck gives his advice on how Landlords can make their properties more energy efficient...
With a growing focus on climate change and a generation of tenants becoming increasingly ‘green’, maximising the energy efficiency of your rental property can prove hugely beneficial.
Not only are energy efficient homes becoming more attractive to tenants, but with the introduction of new legislation on the way, meeting the minimum energy standards shows your commitment as a landlord, and that you are serious about complying with the law.
So how can you ensure your rental property complies with the law?
On 1 April 2018, the law changed in England and Wales which means all landlords are legally required to ensure their rental properties reach a minimum EPC rating of E for all new tenancies, in order to meet the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES). From April 2020, this will be compulsory for all tenancies, new and existing.
If your property doesn’t meet the minimum standards, here’s how to bring them in line with the law.
Insulation (or a lack of) is the biggest cause of energy deficiency, with around a quarter of a home’s heat lost through the roof. Insulating your loft is a simple and effective way to reduce heat loss and if your attic space is easy to access and has no damp or condensation problems, it should be easy to insulate - in most cases, it’s possible to do it yourself. Whilst costs can vary depending on your property type, in most cases, the cost is usually offset by the annual energy bill saving.
Generally, houses built after 1990 have wall insulation to help keep in the heat, however, anything predating this may not have any at all. About a third of all heat lost in an uninsulated home escapes through the walls, but the type of padding required to insulate a home is dependent upon the type of walls your property has.
If your property was built after the 1920s, it is likely to have cavity walls and will require insulation to be injected into the cavity. The process requires a registered professional to install and should only take a couple of hours to complete. Pre-1920 properties commonly have solid walls and will need internal or external wall insulation, which is a substantially bigger job and can be costly.
If you don’t have double glazing, you’ll be amazed at the difference it can make to annual energy bills. The average home loses around 10% of its heat through windows and doors, so good, energy efficient glazing is essential. Don’t forget, when it comes to choosing windows, keep an eye out for the ‘Energy Saving Trust recommended’ logo which is given to the most efficient glazing.
Check your boiler
Upgrading the current boiler or installing an efficient and cost-effective heating system is another way to save energy and help reduce your tenants’ monthly costs. Whilst these can be expensive initially, they can prove an important factor when it comes to making your property legal against its EPC certification.
By installing renewables, like rooftop solar panels or solar water heating, your property’s energy consumption is likely to be low - which will not only help you but also your tenants. And whilst these might not be the cheapest energy upgrades and aren’t the most aesthetically pleasing, the impact can make quite the difference in reducing the cost of energy bills.
Energy efficiency upgrades don’t always need to come at a major expense, there are also several easy and cheap ways to insulate your rental property, like investing in a rug, or fitting heavy curtains to keep the heat in. You can also install reflective panels or foil behind radiators to reflect heat back into the room and draft excluders are a great way to stop heat escaping through the gaps under doors.
Lighting accounts for around a fifth of the average household's electricity bill, so by replacing old light bulbs with energy efficient ones or LED bulbs, your tenants will use much less electricity whilst being kinder to the environment.
Investing in a hot water cylinder jacket – which typically cost around £15 – could save around £20 a year, and by covering pipes with the proper insulative slipping will keep hot water hotter for longer. Fitting a water-saving showerhead will also help your tenants cut back on the amount of energy and water they are using.
Get in touch
As with all property letting issues, our friendly teams are ready to assist you with any queries you have so don’t hesitate to contact us.