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Tenants' energy expectations on the rise

Posted on 2016-03-10

Over the next few years, there are a range of energy efficiency measures being introduced which will require a minimum standard in rental properties.

From April, tenants will be able to ask their landlord to improve the energy efficiency of their rental property if it does not have an energy performance rating of band E- or higher.

And then from April 2018, all rental properties will have to have an energy performance rating of band E- or higher or it will be illegal to let them.

These measures seem to have gone under the radar somewhat as changes to mortgage interest tax relief and the incoming stamp duty surcharge have been receiving most of the attention, but they remain vitally important.

We've looked at what landlords need to do in more detail, which you can read here.

Tenants' expectations

As well as your legal obligation to get your property up to scratch, it seems tenants too are placing increased importance on energy efficiency.

A study recently conducted by found that 80% of 500 tenants see double glazing as a top priority for their next rental home.

What's more, a fifth of those taking part said that cost-effective central heating is a must.

PropertyLetByUs' study cites figures from the EU which show that the UK's homes are some of the most expensive to heat in Europe.

It says that single glazing in particular is responsible for many cases of damp, condensation and mould.

The report also suggests that approximately one million UK tenants are spending at least £1,000 above the average energy bill each year due to their property's energy inefficiency.

Just last month, a report was released by the All Parliamentary Group for the private rented sector – which is made up of MPs and Peers. It suggested that the energy efficiency measures are too 'complex' and could lead to 'a large number of properties' unlikely to meet the 2018 deadline.

The cross-party group concluded that there's work to be done and landlords need to work with local authorities, landlords and energy companies to identify tenants who will benefit most from energy efficiency improvements.

It also suggests that one way of tackling the problem could be to offer landlords incentives for implementing energy efficiency improvements through being able to offset costs against rental income.

“The Government has set ambitious targets for improvements to the energy efficiency of private rented housing and rightly so,” said the Group’s Chairman, Oliver Colvile MP.

“To meet these, much clearer information is needed for both landlords and tenants to understand their rights and responsibilities and the help available to improve the energy efficiency of the rental housing stock.”

It's clear that energy efficiency in rental homes is high up politicians' agenda and it's clear that tenants can benefit financially from staying in an insulated, efficient property.

What can landlords do?

The most common forms of energy efficiency improvements revolve around insulation, be it cavity, loft, solid wall or floor insulation.

Other popular measures include installing energy efficient lighting and utilising smart meters.

It's also important to make sure that all appliances are in full working order and as efficient as possible. This video from the Energy Saving Trust explains what's required in more detail.

As outlined above, double glazing is important to tenants and it's also a vital component in making any home energy efficient.

The future of quality housing

Having a rental property with a high level of energy efficiency which incorporates many of the features outlined above is likely to increase your chances of finding tenants quickly and standing out from the competition.

And if tenants are warm, comfortable and happy that the property is as energy efficient as possible, they're more likely to stick around for longer – which is the scenario that the majority of landlords are looking to achieve.

As tenants' energy efficiency and general housing expectations increase, those landlords with quality accommodation – which is well-equipped – are more likely to reap the benefits of minimised void periods and less hassle.

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