The government has placed a lot of emphasis on saving energy in houses as it not only helps the environment but also means that energy bills cost less. And soon they will be introducing the Green Deal that will enable landlords to improve the energy efficiency of their homes by providing free upgrades that are then paid off through electricity bills. If a landlord chooses to take part in the Green Deal, then their homes will be assessed by a registered Green Deal provider or assessor who will then give them information on how their property can save energy, which can include installing insulation, draught proofing or installing modern heating appliances.
The improvements to the property are completely free to the landlord as it is the tenants that pay for the upgrades through their energy bills. Whilst some may automatically think this is unfair, it in fact benefits the tenants as the improvements mean that the bills will be lower, so the situation is a win-win for all, especially if the landlord receives a cheaper landlord insurance policy for having the energy efficiency of their houses at a high standard. Research from the Association of Residential Lettings Agents has shown that landlords are already becoming more aware of energy efficiency, as sixty one per cent of landlords no longer have properties with an Energy Performance Certificate Rating of F or G, which is an increase of 11% from the year before.
Managing director of the ARLA, Ian Potter, commented on the research results and said: “EPCs have attracted considerable scrutiny in the past but it would appear that landlords are now paying increased attention to the efficiency of their properties.” The research also showed that by the end of 2012, 58% of landlords said that they were aware of the government’s plans for increasing energy performance in private rented housing, which is up from 48% the year before.
Mr Potter said: “This understanding is complimented by rising awareness of the split incentive offered by the government’s Green Deal proposal for the private rented sector. However whether this awareness translates into uptake remains to be seen. Increasingly savvy tenants are asking to see a property’s EPC or even ask about previous bills therefore it is prudent for landlords to have a clear picture of the performance of their properties.”