Pressure is starting to mount on landlords to ‘green’ their properties. Those who fail to make their properties energy efficient may find that they will not be allowed to let their properties out at all in the future. The introduction of Energy Performance Certificates already means that leaky, costly-to-run properties may be hard to let. But, despite this, many landlords are still failing to take advantage of government help to get their properties up-to-date.
The Green Deal
The Green Deal scheme is designed to help homeowners, whether landlords or owner-occupiers, to make energy-saving improvements to their properties without having to spend money. Improvements are paid for using loans, which are then paid back via the property’s energy bill. Repayments are guaranteed not to be more than the savings made on bills.
It seems like a win-win situation, especially for landlords, as tenants would usually pay back the loans as part of their energy bills. But research shows that only a third of landlords plan to use it, or allow their tenants to. Most of the rest were undecided, with one-in-five saying that they would definitely not use it.
Many landlords may not want to use the Green Deal because they are unsure of how the scheme works, or because they don’t realise that they need to make improvements. They would be wise to get on board now, and take advantage of it before it is too late. According to the National Landlords Association (NLA) “The Government has made it clear that there will be consequences for those who do not voluntarily improve the energy efficiency of their properties by a specific time, so there is no excuse not to comply with the cost-neutral scheme”.
The NLA has launched its own scheme to help landlords get on board. Whether they choose to use the NLA scheme or negotiate the Green Deal themselves, it just makes sense for landlords to improve their properties while they can. High rental demand means that some may feel they will never struggle to get tenants, but the housing market can and does change quickly. Adding insulation and double glazing to your property will also up its value when it comes time to sell on.
Landlords should stop seeing energy efficiency products as an added extra, but a necessary part of being a landlord and maintaining a property. And unlike landlords insurance or letting agents fees, this is one thing that won’t cost money.