Energy bills have been soaring recently and the cost-of-living crisis is biting for many people too. This is having a huge impact on all of us, whether we own our property or rent.
But there are plenty of energy saving measures that landlords can take to help their tenants reduce energy costs. And this helps the landlord as well as the tenant.
First, landlords must ensure their rental property meets new Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) regulations by April 2025 – bringing their EPC rating up to a minimum C standard. Failure to do this could result in a fine of up to £30,000 from 2025.
Secondly, any measures that landlords can implement to improve the energy efficiency of their property will ease tenants’ stretched budgets and possibly encourage them to renew their tenancy in the future – if they vacate, a good EPC rating should make the property easier to rent.
There are many measures landlords can introduce to keep tenants warmer in winter and reduce energy bills and many are not as expensive as you might think.
Install a smart meter to measure gas and electricity usage. Tenants can see how much energy they are using, which electrical appliances are using most and where they can cut back.
Compare how much electrical appliances cost to to assess running costs and consider replacing older appliances to reduce consumption and save money.
Fit a smart thermostat. This allows tenants to heat the property more intelligently and more efficiently. For example, they can reduce energy consumption by turning heat off if they’re going out after work – all from an app on their phone.
Provide tenants with energy saving advice – they may not realise how much they could save.
Simple tips include:
Reduce the thermostat by a degree or two
Only use washing machines and dishwashers at full capacity, using lower temperatures and eco settings where possible
Don’t leave electrical devices on stand-by
Turn off lights where possible
Take showers rather than baths
Install energy efficient lighting. Lighting is often overlooked but low-energy LED lightbulbs cut energy bills. They’re more expensive to buy but they use 90% less energy so replacing just one ‘old style’ incandescent light bulb with a new LED bulb can save up to £7 a year. Multiply that by the number of light bulbs in the property and it quickly adds up!
Draught-proofing keeps out cold air and is cheap and easy to fit using DIY products.
You can find DIY kit such as self-adhesive strips to draught-proof windows and doors (including the letterbox and keyhole), and in older properties fireplaces, loft hatches, floorboards and skirting boards.
A lot of heat is lost through an uninsulated hot water tank and pipework. Fit a cylinder jacket (easily bought from a DIY store or online) that is at least 3 inches thick and insulate accessible hot water pipes with foam tubing. Fit reflective panels behind radiators to prevent heat loss through external walls.
Older boilers are inefficient and more expensive to run than newer models so consider upgrading to a more efficient condenser boiler, or even an electric or biomass boiler. This is an investment but will offer tenants considerable savings long-term and improve the property’s EPC rating.
Upgrading windows and doors with double or triple glazing offers significant cost savings – new double glazed windows will provide draught-proofing, making the property warmer and reduce condensation. It will reduce noise levels too – ideal if the flat is in a busy area.
Many newer apartments will already have double glazing but older properties will definitely benefit.
If double or triple glazing cannot be fitted, for example in a listed building, secondary glazing is a good alternative.
A well-insulated home is easier and cheaper to heat. Most modern apartments are well insulated but if you own an older, top floor flat, loft insulation is a cheap way to reduce heat loss through the roof.
Cavity walls with an inner and outer wall and a cavity between, do not retain heat well so cavity wall insulation (filling the cavity with insulating material) is really effective, cheap to install and long-lasting.
There are many ways landlords can help their tenants reduce energy consumption. Some are surprisingly cost-effective while others may mean some investment and be part of a longer term energy efficiency plan.
But they all represent a win-win for landlords. They will help them achieve a C standard EPC certificate by 2025, ensuring the property meets the government’s new EPC regulations and they will also help tenants save money.
If you use our property management service, we can arrange an assessor for you to provide a full report on your property and make appropriate recommendations.
View all posts by Benham & Reeves