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Energy Efficiency

With the winter almost entirely behind us (fingers crossed) as we move into the latter stage of February many people may be tightening their belts for the next few months after receiving very high energy bills as a result of the very cold, and rather arctic, weather we have had over the past couple of months.

However, it’s still not that warm and so heating will have to be a necessity in many cases in order to keep warm and comfortable.

Bill Paying

Furthermore, if you’re a landlord that usually covers the cost of your tenants’ energy bills then you could be in for a bit of a surprise upon receiving the bill.

Many landlords however do leave their tenants to take care of the energy bills themselves. This can be simpler a lot of the time as the tenants are then left to their own devices in order to budget correctly to cover their bills.

On the other hand, it can be a big advantage to a landlord to include the cost of all the bills within the monthly rent. This way the tenant knows what they’re paying each month without having to worry about fluctuations in bills.

Non Payments

Also, if you let to students, it is almost one hundred per cent simpler to include all the bills within the rental price as students, one may find, will fall behind with bill payments which at the end of the day will become a very stressful situation for the landlord.

If you manage the bills then you can set a monthly allowance for your tenants. It would be a good idea to monitor whether your tenants are being fair and reasonable in what they use as well.

Monitoring Appliances

It would also be worth looking at the appliances within the property in order to analyse if they are energy efficient, and more importantly, that they are working properly and without fault. If you discover that a particular appliance is not working properly, then it may be possible to claim for a repair on your landlord insurance.

Hopefully, with the weather warming up, energy bills will now begin to drop each month, however it is still vital to check that your property is efficient as this will be beneficial for the environment, the tenants, and you as a landlord.

Landlords faced with the possibility of fines

Property investors with an interest in landlord insurance will be more than a little worried by developments at one Ministry in Whitehall today. Energy and Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne has decided to try and get his name in the headlines for more positive reasons and decided to make his target the landlords of the UK.

Minister looks to enhance his reputation

After weeks of negative press the energy minister has come out fighting and announced that landlords who fail to bring their properties up to energy efficiency set standards will face massive fines. He hopes the announcement will cement his place amongst the favourites in the “Green lobby” and will restore his reputation with his Liberal Democrat colleagues.

Thousands of properties affected

The measures he announced in parliament today could mean that as many as three quarters of a million homes in the private letting sector will have to be upgraded before 2018 and if landlords don’t comply then they will have to take their punishment. Exactly what the punishment will be has not been decided yet but Mr Huhne was talking tough. He had to be really, because a leaked memo suggesting his Cabinet colleagues would prefer to ignore his offices demands that the nation cuts greenhouse gases by 60% before 2030.

Big business expected to fund loan scheme

The “green deal” as Mr Huhne described the measures will be dependent on homeowners taking out cheap loans from sources yet to be identified, but thought to be big business corporations. The cash sum is thought to be a maximum of £10,000 a property and would be spent on insulation projects such as double glazing, loft and wall insulation.

Bill will not be plain sailing for landlords

Many environmentalist organisations welcomed the move saying rented homes should have to meet a decent level of insulation but the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) said there would be a danger that some landlords would be forced to cover their properties with empty property insurance if they could not afford to pay for the required improvements.

It is clear that despite the rhetoric of the minister today, many details of the bill have yet to be ironed out, and many interested parties placated.