How to Make Property More Energy Efficient for Tenants
Estimated reading time 7 minutes
As a landlord you have many things to concern yourself with, and with a duty of care for your tenants likely high among them, you need to be able to provide them with somewhere they can live that is not only safe but also delivers comfort.
This not only stands to benefit your tenants, though, as the work put in by a landlord can help secure extended contracts or increased demand for your property.
One such thing that can deliver for both landlord and tenant is energy efficiency. With bills eating away at salaries like never before, tenants are becoming much more knowledgeable in their property research. Where in the past something may have been snapped up due to cheap rents, now, the energy costs are being looked at with much more scrutiny. So, in this edition of our landlord guides, we look at how you can make property more energy efficient for tenants.
Check you have an up to date EPC
As a landlord, you must provide your tenants with the current EPC for your property. An EPC lasts for 10 years and will need to be replaced after this period has passed and new tenants have moved in. You may hold a valid EPC now, but with the 2025 EPC changes not too far off, now would be the time to invest in making your property even more efficient.
By 2025, all newly rented properties must hold an EPC rating of C or better. Where properties are already under tenancy, landlords have up until 2028 to get them up to this level. A failure could result in a fine as high as £30,000.
If you currently have a property showing a D rating, a few simple changes could make it eligible for 2025. Some changes will be quick without much cost to you; others may require some investment, but each stand to bring you closer to the C rating and avoid that £30,000 penalty.
Switch to LED lighting
It sounds simple enough, but installing LED bulbs throughout the property stands to benefit everyone. LEDs operate at approximately 10 times higher efficiency than traditional light bulbs with a tenth of the running costs. This switch alone could see savings of over £200 on electricity bills.
Invest in a new boiler
If your boiler is a little old, there is every chance it may not only be more prone to faults, but cost more money to run, too. These older boilers lose a lot of heat and are much less efficient than more modern versions. There may be an initial expense that can seem quite daunting but with the money saved on bills and repairs, you will recoup your costs relatively quickly. Furthermore, tenants will be extremely pleased to know they have a reliable boiler that helps to keep them warm as well as reducing their bills.
Data from the Energy Saving Trust says that if you upgrade from an older, less efficient G-rated boiler to an A-rated boiler, you could see a saving of over £340 per year.
Consider wall insulation
Depending on when the property was built will determine whether insulation was installed at the time of building or not. For the most part, properties built after 1990 have insulated cavity walls however homes built before then, if not already treated, are not insulated.
33% of the warm air circulating in a property can be lost through uninsulated walls and loft spaces. It therefore makes sense to invest, not only to help keep tenants happy with a warm house, but also with the reduced heating bills.
Depending on the type of insulation required and the size of the house, you could see up to £500 per year saved on energy costs.
There are other forms of insulation worth investing in, too. Lofts, boilers, pipes and floors being insulated all help keep costs low and room temperatures high (although not too high).
Planning permission for wall insulation is not normally required, but this can vary depending on the type of house, its location and whether the addition of insulation will change the appearance of the property. Before proceeding, contact your local authority for clarity on the rules for your property.
Upgrade to double glazing
If you haven’t already got double or even triple-glazed windows in the property, your tenants could be spending far too much on their heating bills. Lots of heat leaks through windows and whilst the cost for installation can set you back initially, the long-term benefits of double glazing will deliver results in both efficiency and quality of living.
Many tenants will not enjoy a noisy property or one that feels colder than it should, and double glazing does a great job of tackling both of these.
An investment in double glazing could add a saving of up to £235 a year on energy costs when it replaces single-glazed windows.
Not only does it bring those benefits to your tenants, but you could see as much as 10% added to your house value with double glazing installed.
Draft proofing is a cheap and quick way to seal off those gaps that might otherwise allow cold drafts to creep through. Whilst not a huge game-changer like insulation or double glazing, it does stand to give tenants a noticeable benefit.
Installing it yourself takes little time as well as little expense, and helps keep those surprise drafts away from letterboxes, doors and windows.
Opt for a smart meter
This is a simple alteration and one that your tenants are likely to be more than happy for you suggest. If they pay the energy bills at the property, ask them to contact the supplier and ask for a smart meter to be installed. If you pay the bills, contact them yourself. Then book a suitable time for it to be installed. This is a quick process and once in place, your tenants will be saving money from the off. It also stands to make people change behaviours in a way that can benefit the environment – wasteful habits will soon disappear when cost savings are discovered.
Quick fix energy saving benefits for tenants
A few of the examples above will be on the slightly more expensive side so may be taken one at a time or only once the property is vacated, but there are still a few things you can put in place at little cost and keep tenants in situ:
- Water-saving shower heads. These restrict the volume of water whilst providing the same effect as a regular shower. With less water used and less heat needed, it’s a win-win
- Low flow taps. Simply purchased from a bathroom showroom or DIY store, these can be fitted by yourself or a plumber and reduce the amount of water wasted
- Low flush toilets. Many newer toilets feature this facility now, but if not, consider it. They vastly reduce the amount of water wasted but still efficiently clear the toilet of waste
- Switch appliances. Many of your appliances can be a drain on energy and use a lot more than necessary for the job they do. Assess the energy ratings of your fridge, freezer, kettle, microwave and washing machine and then source more energy-efficient models
These are just a few of the options you could consider making to your rental property to make it more energy efficient. These steps not only benefit your existing tenants, but also stand to make the property more marketable to future tenants.
To get your property to a C-rating on the EPC could cost as much as £17,000, a figure that some may find a step too far. The government states that the average cost to achieve this could be just under £5,000, however it all depends on the type of property and the current EPC rating it holds.
If the costs to bring your home up to a new more efficient rating seem too high or you are perhaps concerned about the fines, contact our team at Gaffsy. We buy any house, regardless of its EPC rating, condition or location. As cash house buyers, this means you can have an offer on your property from us and sell your house fast, with cash appearing in your account within just seven days.