Over the past decade, all across the globe, people are becoming increasingly environmentally conscious. Renters are no exception, and the cost-of-living crisis has increased the demand for energy efficiency in the short term.
Whether you're a homeowner or a tenant, almost everyone prefers a property that saves energy and minimises environmental impact.
Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent energy crisis, tenants (like everyone else) have seen their energy bills soar, and the effects of climate change worldwide have become even more apparent.
Last November, Our Market Survey found that over three in every four renters felt that cost-of-living increases would have a moderate to significant impact on their ability to pay the rent. One in four renters ranked this as their top concern.
This fear of mounting bills is one of the main reasons tenants are willing to pay a premium for eco-friendly properties because it will help them reduce energy costs.
What are the rules on energy efficiency?
Every home in the Private Rented Sector (PRS) must be assessed and rated for energy efficiency. And at the start of every tenancy, renters must be given a copy of the property's Energy Performance Certificate. The minimum rating allowed for landlords letting property is 'E', but this will increase to a 'C' by 2025 for all new tenancies (although a firm date is yet to be set by Government) and by 2028 for all existing tenancies.
Yet more efficiencies are in the pipeline, with the Government reportedly planning to implement a minimum rating of 'B' by 2030.
So the appetite for 'greener' rented homes is not just coming from the tenants; the Government sees these improvements as an integral part of its goal to achieve Net Zero by 2050. Their figures estimate that our built environment accounts for around a quarter of the UK's greenhouse gas emissions.
What are tenants looking for?
Tenants' 'green' expectations have risen over recent years.
There are many eco-friendly features which tenants may expect. These include double-glazing, recycling, good insulation, LED lightbulbs, smart meters and low-flow showers.
The extremely eco-conscious may even be looking for features such as solar panels.
But why are tenants more eco-conscious than the rest of us?
They are generally younger, and their demographic is the most environmentally aware. According to the Office for National Statistics, the 25-34 age bracket forms the majority of tenants in the PRS in the UK. And why should landlords take notice? After all, you'll be investing the money. You'll be improving your EPC rating ahead of time; if you offer rental with utility bills, you'll save money with smart tech, and you'll be able to charge more in rent.