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Reasons to be Eco-friendly in Your Rental Property
Increasing numbers of landlords are aware of the effects of climate change, as well as increasing utility bills. As such, they are making a conscious choice to be more environmentally friendly.
Others are put off because they think it will add to their outlay and doubt whether it will increase the appeal of their property.
But as gas and electricity bills are a big part of tenants’ budgets, and grants are widely available towards financing home improvements, more landlords are becoming converts to the advantages of a ‘green’ rental property.
What Make a House Environmentally Friendly?
In 2008 Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) were introduced with the aim of increasing the quality of energy efficiency in rental properties. And, in fact, it is actually a legal requirement for private landlords to provide a copy of the property’s EPC certificate to tenants.
The EPC rating is also usually included in property listings and, if yours is good, can give you an edge in a competitive market.
These certificates give an indication to tenants how much their utility bills are likely to be. Higher ratings mean lower bills and which is, of course, a big plus for any tenant.
Being environmentally-friendly and having a high EPC rating is also a good move for landlords because it justifies a case for increasing the rent (since tenants are saving on heating costs).
How to Become Energy Efficient
Older buildings can be a challenge, compared to their double and triple glazed rivals. That’s because although traditional and historical styles are lovely, those period windows were not built with energy efficiency in mind.
The good news is that this can be resolved by installing secondary glazing or shutters, which will boost EPC ratings and insulation.
Don’t rely on an aging boiler which is likely to fail at the worst possible time of the year ie winter, and eat up cash in repairs.
Think of the cost of a modern replacement as an investment, and offset the price through lower maintenance payments. In addition, the much-improved energy efficiency means more points on your EPC.
A simple step to heavily reduce bills is to insulate the loft and cavity walls. Your local authority might have grants that can help towards the cost of this.
Low-flow or low-flush toilets reduce water usage, six litres per flush versus 13 litres consumed by older versions. And that’s another saving, this time on water bills if you live in England.
It’s surprising what a difference money-wise can be made by replacing existing light bulbs with low energy or eco-bulbs, and which are just as effective as traditional bulbs.
Research Grants and Allowances
Becoming eco-friendly doesn’t have to make an initial dent in your bank balance. It’s worth taking time to look into what grants, allowances and tax break are available to help with costs.
Housing will play a critical role in cutting greenhouse gas emissions by contributing to the UK government’s pledge to a reduction of up to 80% by 2050. To meet this target, legislation was produced covering new developments. However, it is recognised that older properties, which are the majority of the market, will require a lot of work and this will be supported through grants.
Before considering any sustainable refurbishment explore the possibilities of financial support from the Green Deal and Renewable Heating Incentive. These are just two of the schemes available for all kinds of work you may have in mind, including solar panels.
The latter have the reputation of being expensive, but feed-in-tariffs, available since 2010, allows for people generating their own power through panels or wind turbines, to benefit from regular payments from energy providers.
To take the sting out of the outlay in installing solar panels you can apply for loans which cover the particulars of each individual installation.
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