Landlords Go Green

More and more renters are asking us about the EPC rating of properties. The green credentials of a property are a defining factor for todays eco-minded renters. It not only helps them do their bit for the planet, but it also saves money on bills! It is therefore no surprise that the sustainable landlords are racing ahead in the rental game and are most likely to attract high income tenants that are willing to pay a good rental price and stay put for longer!   

Its not just tenants that are demanding sustainability from the rental market. By 2025, it will be mandatory that all rental properties have an EPC Rating of C; a huge leap from todays E rating requirement. And, when the new Liverpool Landlord Licensing Scheme is introduced in April, properties with a EPC Rating of C or higher will get a discount. It pays to be green!

Our marketing manager Jane is also our sustainability champion and says landlords should start taking action now and not put it off until later.  She said: "Becoming more sustainable is without a doubt going to have a huge impact on some landlords but it will prove beneficial in the long run. At the moment, we are advising our landlords to review their EPCs and look at the list of recommendations for improvements and the indicitive costs. Where required, action plans should be put into place to get the changes implemented. By starting it now, the costs can be spread out over time to make it more manageable."

Research recently carried out by Shawbrook Bank revealed that up to 23% of landlords surveyed had an EPC rating of D or below and that many landlords were unprepared for the changes in regulations. You can read the full report and research HERE.

Jane added: "We are already working with a number of landlords to improve their EPC ratings, particularly those with older properties who are going to be hit the hardest with this new regulation. For instance, we are currently working with one landlord to get bespoke double-glazed windows installed into an apartment within a Grade II listed neo-classcial building in the city centre. It was a fabulous apartment but it was draughty and tenants were not staying past their first tenancy period."

From quick wins to more complex projects, we list some of the things you can do to start climbing the EPC ladder.  

LED Lights

Replacing bulbs in the house with LED lights is a quick and easy win. Not only are they better for the planet, but they also last five times longer than the traditional halogens. Tenants will also thank you as it will help cut their electricity bills. You could go a step further and install smart lighting which uses motion sensors to trigger the lights when someone enters a room and automatically switch off after a period of inactivity.

Upgrade your boiler.

Heating systems make a huge difference to a property’s EPC rating. Switching to an old boiler to a new, energy-efficient model could improve your rating by up to 40 points. It would likely set you back £1000 to £3000 but the long-term benefits would definitely be worth it. You could also go for the air source heat pump option which is great for well insulated houses. There are Government Grants for this which you can apply for before 31 March and you can find out more HERE. Incorporating a smart thermostat is another addition and will allow tenants to adjust their heating using their mobiles and be able to choose which areas of the house they heat. Happy tenants = happy landlords. We'd also recommend not including bills in your monthly rental cost as tenants will be less likely to think about their energy usage if they are not paying for the bills!

Smart Meters.

Installing a smart meter is another win for the planet as it allows tenants to see the impact their behaviours have on their usage. This means they can take action to live more efficiently. Team it with a well-maintained, energy-efficient boiler and it will be even more eco-friendly.

Good Quality Insulation.

Poor insulation spells trouble for your energy bills! You can lose as much as 25% of the heat through your roof so it is worth checking what you have in place. If you have nothing installed, or if the existing insulation is 150mm or less, then we would recommend you add another layer to bring it up to 270mm. Wall insulation also makes a difference but whether you would need the cheaper cavity wall insulation, or the more expensive solid wall insulation will depend on the age of your property. The Government sometimes have grants for energy saving initiatives and you can find out about those HERE.

Upgrade your windows.

Double or triple glazing is a must! Good quality windows can reduce heat loss, making rooms easier to heat and therefore cutting energy bills! It is important to check the energy rating of your windows before you install. You can also boost the performance of your existing windows by adding coatings on the glass or by adding a rope caulk seal to better insulate the windows (also works on floorboards and skirting boards). Improving your windows could bump up your EPC by up to 10 points.

Low-flow showerheads.

As a landlord, you can help water usage by quickly installing inexpensive low-flow showerheads. These aerate the water that comes out of them, giving the feel of a normal shower with normal pressure but using only half the water.

Dual-flush toilet converters.

Another inexpensive and simple way to save water (up to 40-50%) is to add a dual-flush toilet converter. They can be a little fiddly to install but they are much cheaper than installing a dual-flush toilet and well worth it in terms of environmental impact.

Eco-friendly appliances.

When you need to change an appliance, make sure you swap the old one for a more energy-efficient model. As tempting as it is to go for the cheapest model, we recommend you don’t as it might not be the best option for the planet and could also bring you trouble down the line in terms of repairs.

Recycling Facilities.

Make sure sufficient recycling facilities are provided, with the number of bins that are appropriate to the number of occupants at the property. This helps encourage the proper disposal of waste and creates a nice environment, free from overflowing bins. Landlords simply need to contact their local authority to ensure the appropriate recycling bins and containers are provided.

Go Paperless.

It may not impact your EPC, but landlords can help save the planet by going paperless and this is one of the key benefits of using the services of LPS. From inventories to tenancy agreements, we store all our documents in our digital My Area system which can be accessed by landlords 24/7. With no need to print out and manually sign, you will be saving time as well as trees.

The property market is without a doubt a very competitive place to be and if you want to succeed you have to stay ahead of the game. Being proactive is good for you, your tenants and the planet!

If you would like to find out how we can support you in improving your EPC rating then please contact Vicky, our maintenance manager, on 0151 236 7771.