Why energy efficiency is 'vital' for landlords

by Rachel Crook

Heating and energy bills are always likely to increase in homes across the UK during the winter.

This is no different for those properties rented out by landlords and there are many reasons why thinking about energy efficiency and how improvements can be made to their premises is important to them.

The National Landlords Association (NLA) has listed five main reasons why it believes energy efficiency is an important consideration for anyone letting their house.

It may be that landlords want to think about this before they draw up any tenancy agreements and type up a letting inventory.

Firstly, the overall value of the property can be greatly increased if it is given some care and attention over time.

Energy efficiency improvements can help to reduce the risk of damp, condensation or mould growth and this little bit of extra effort can have many positive implications.

Not only will the improvements be demonstrated whenever the landlord chooses to sell, but its value will be maximised as a well-maintained property will be more attractive to potential buyers.

There is more good news for landlords as the government provides money for those with a rental agreement to make these improvements.

Covering cavity wall and loft insulation, dry-lining for solid walls, draught proofing and hot water installation, the Landlords Energy Saving Allowance enables landlords to claim back up to £1,500 per dwelling.

Another benefit to be gained from considering energy efficiency is the happiness of the tenants, something many landlords are likely to be aware of.

Elizabeth Brogan, senior policy officer of the NLA, said: "Long-established landlords will know that high turnover and long void periods cost money and anything that can reasonably be done to reduce this cost should be considered."

Therefore, by taking measures to reduce the fuel bills their tenants have to pay, landlords are more likely to see them want to remain in a property for longer.

If these reasons are not temptation enough, it is now a legal requirement for landlords to provide an energy performance certificate (EPC) for any rental agreement drawn up after October 1st 2008.

This must be produced by an accredited energy assessor and shows the current rating as well as any improvements which could be made.

Mr Brogan explained: "Landlords have to make the EPC available to all prospective tenants and have to provide a copy to the final tenants before the tenancy agreement is signed."

Landlords face a fine of up to £200 if an EPC is not drawn up for a property.

Finally, the NLA reminds people that those searching the property market for a home to rent will be thinking about how much they are potentially going to have to pay for bills.

This could be especially true during the current economic downturn when many people are counting their pennies.

Therefore houses with a modern boiler, good insulation and reasonable energy charges are likely to be snapped up quicker than any dark, damp dwellings.

EPCs give a home a rating from A to G, depending on how energy efficient it is.

Published on: January 7, 2009

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