It’s not long before the tougher EPC guidelines, encouraging landlords to boost their properties energy efficiency ratings, come into place. This needn’t be time consuming or costly, Crawford Moxley of Surrey Assessors gives his expert view on how this can be easily achieved.
As of April 2018, all rental properties must have an energy efficiency rating of at least an ‘E’, to comply with the new EPC guidelines. On the surface, this may appear to be just another inessential rule, but in fact these lenient guidelines make sense in many ways.
To clarify from April 2018, this will apply to all new tenancies, whereas from 2020 it will apply to all landlords, regardless of the time the existing tenant has been in the rental accommodation.
Let’s begin by taking a quick glance at the bigger picture, focusing on the underlying objective which is to protect the environment.
This stricter benchmark is all part of the Government’s Green Deal initiative, which aims to establish a healthier environment for us all by reducing carbon emissions. So what best place to start than your home, or rental property, even? After all, we all run an annual MOT on our cars and the regular upgrade for our phones and computers, so why not our homes. In comparison, our homes and rentals are prone to the most wear and tear, so running a health check to assess it is functioning well only makes sense.
The concept it really simple; by creating a healthier home we will live more comfortably and healthy, all the while protecting the wider environment. While the bigger picture focuses on the community, there are direct advances to you as the landlord and property owner. In simple words, a warm home creates a more welcoming environment, attracting more prospective tenants incentivised further by offering them a lower living cost if they were to proceed with the let. Understandably, tenants do not want to fork out vast amounts each month for utility bills. While a lower EPC may give you a competitive advantage over other rentals, when a rental has been secured, your now welcoming and affordable rental property may also help achieve longer tenancies, thus giving you greater security in a steady income.
Crawford Moxley of Surrey Assessors is all too aware of this situation, having met many landlords and property owners when carrying out EPC assessments. Understandably, none of us want to fork out significant sums of money to update a rental, but to a home dating back to say the 1920’s what we see as basic, is most certainly a modern convenience. To such properties, a simple measure such as upgrading the single glazed panels to double glazed windows could instantly make a positive impact upon your EER rating instantly.
Crawford advised us of some inexpensive measures landlords can take that can make a huge impact on an EPC rating.
Check seals around windows and doors
This is certainly a do it yourself job even the most inexperienced DIY-er can do. Firstly, assess your windows and doors for broke sealant or airs of draft, then fill out the gaps using a sealant gun or tape. This impactful procedure is a very inexpensive fix, with the sealant tape costing as little as a few pounds.
Another possible DIY job. This is another inexpensive fix, with loft rolls costing approximately £20 each, which can then be rolled out across the loft. Government grants have been known to be available for this procedure, but are variable from council to council, so it may be worth doing some research to see if an incentive is available to you.
Radiator Thermostatic Valves
Individual thermostatic valves will give you greater control of how much energy resource is used in each room and inevitably would make a difference to the EPC rating.
Switch to energy efficient light bulbs
Simply replacing the light bulbs around the home can make a significant impact on your EPC rating and is another inexpensive job. Such light bulbs are expected to last longer also saving money in the long run.
Cavity wall insulation
Dense walls will always lose less heat, instantly affecting your EPC rating. Government grants have formerly been known to fund this procedure, but you can appoint independent companies who fill the cavity walls around your home with polystyrene beads.
Upgrade boiler system
Upgrading your boiler to a condensing boiler system can make a significant difference to an EPC rating, as heating takes up 60% of our energy bills. A larger heat exchanger recovers more heat and sends cooler gases up the flue and is, therefore, more efficient. There are a lot of choices available in the market, with boilers of EER rating of A+ available.
Upgrade electric storage heaters
Most apartments only benefit from the supply of electric heating, with some electric storage heaters creating expensive running costs. Some storage heaters can come with a control system and retain more heat than other models, meaning less heat is wasted throughout the day and more heat available when it is needed.
Hot water insulation jacket
A hot water tank will lose heat quickly, meaning proper insulation is very important. Insulation jackets can cost as little as £20 and you can install them over the tank yourself, proving this to be another inexpensive way of saving energy.
Renewable sources of energy
Renewable energy is energy generated from natural resources—such as sunlight, wind and rain. Many new homes are now constructed to incorporate this, while Government grants have known to be available for solar panels. There are many options here, usually this comes with one large outlay of cost, so it may be worth considering if your local council are running any incentives.
A smart meter
A SMART meter helps identify how much energy you have consumed to help you control how much you use and make your home more efficient. The effectiveness of this tool will be dependant on the attentiveness of your tenant, so this may not always be an option worth exploring. You can contact your energy supplier to find out how to get this installed in your home.
There are pros and cons to everything, so while these small changes may come at a cost, they could have a positive impact on the value of your rental property and inevitably prove to be options worth exploring. It may be worth getting a quick assessment of your property to identify which changes would be most impactful, our lettings team can also put you in touch with Crawford of Surrey Energy Assessors.