On 1st April 2018, new Minimum Energy Standards (MEES) were introduced and as a landlord or agent it is important that you’re aware of the changes.
Since 2002 it has been compulsory that all properties in the UK, whether they are being bought or rented, have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). Moreover, it is now unlawful to grant a new lease for properties that have a EPC rating below E (unless the property is registered as an exemption) and it is therefore more important than ever to ensure everything is done to produce a positive EPC rating.
Here are some simple ideas on how you can improve your property’s EPC rating.
What is an EPC?
An EPC rates how energy efficient a property is on a scale between A-G and lasts for 10 years. The most energy efficient properties with the lowest bills are in band A, and the least efficient are in band G.
The certificate also gives a description of the property’s impact on the environment and better-rated homes will have less impact through Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions.
Average Ratings and Costs
The average property in the UK sits within bans D-E for both the energy efficiency and environmental impact ratings.
In a recent survey E.ON found that one in five landlords expect to spend between £1,000 to £4,000 on improvements on their property over the next five years to ensure energy efficiency within their properties. However, improvements do not need to be so costly and there are great ways to improve your EPC rating for less money.
Improve Your EPC
As a landlord or agent, it is important to look for ways to improve a property’s EPC rating. The reports come with recommendations on how to do so and when combined with suggested listed below you can easily improve a property’s energy efficiency in order to save money and help the environment.
Insulation is arguably the most effective method in making a property more energy efficient.
If your property’s walls were build before or around 1920 then they are likely to be solid and can be insulated from either the inside or outside, although the latter is the more popular option. However, if your property was built after the 20s then it is likely to have cavity walls (double external walls with gap between) and these can be filled with insulation.
It is also important to consider window insulation as up to 10% property’s heat can be lost if these areas are not properly dealt with. Double glazing is a popular method of insulating windows and has benefits that include reduced heating bills and a reduction in condensation and noise. Although not quite as effective, a less expensive alternative is secondary glazing which involves fitting a pane of plastic/glass inside the existing window to create a layer of insulating air. This method also allows landlords to keep organic features such as sash windows and can be an attractive option for older properties.
You may also want to consider the simple and relatively inexpensive introduction of roof insulation. It is suggested that the depth of insulation should be at least 270mm, and it is worth noting that if yours is below 90mm you could receive funding to have the roof filled or topped up.
Central Heating Systems & Controls
Another effective way to enhance a property’s EPC rating is replacing an old, inefficient boiler with a newer, more effective version. Although this method is a little costly to install, it has a long payback period and will have a long-term positive impact.
Whether you install a new boiler or keep an older version, you can also introduce modern controls such as a room thermostat, or individual, thermostatic radiator valves or boiler programmers to improve EPC Results.
Renewable technology is also a great way to improve a property’s EPC rating. There is a wide range of tech and systems on the market and you may want to consider solar PV, solar thermal, heat pumps and biomass.
Solar PV is one of the most popular renewable technologies for a domestic residence and can be seen on many homes around the UK. Solar provides a great boost to EPC ratings, and it is not uncommon for installation of this technology to improve a EPC score by a whole rating band. Although not as effective as solar PV it may also be worth considering solar thermal which heats hot water directly, rather than creating electricity.
Changing lights over to energy efficient bulbs can also add a couple of points to your EPC rating and the process is relatively cheap to do!
Benefits of a Good EPC: Renting & Tenants
A good EPC rating has obvious environmental benefits and will reduce the cost of bills, both of which are great selling points when trying to find new tenants.
Changes to improve a property’s EPC rating are also beneficial to current tenants and are a great way to display your interest in continuously improving the property and ensuring it’s a great place for a tenant to live. By making these changes you’re not only benefiting your property in the long term but also creating a more positive relationship with your tenants and therefore reducing the risk of any disputes.
After spending time and money to improve your property’s EPC rating it is important that you set the standard to which your property should be maintained and returned at the end of the tenancy with a comprehensive, detailed inventory report.
Here at Assist Inventories we offer property inventory services for landlords and agents who require the security of a robust property inventory report. For more information please get in touch.