Everything you need to know to be an eco-friendly landlord

Making your rental property more eco-friendly isn’t just better for the environment, it makes it more appealing to tenants too. 

In fact, 42 per cent of tenants say that they take a property’s environmental credentials into account when making a decision about where to live. This figure increases to 63 per cent for tenants who are living in high rent accommodation.

If you’re trying to attract high income tenants, young professionals or eco-friendly tenants, making your property more energy efficient is a great place to start. 

Thankfully, the world is now getting greener with plenty of options available to help landlords create an eco-friendly home. Modern appliances, new building materials and smart home technology can all reduce both your environmental impact and your tenants’ bill, a win-win situation.

In this piece, we’ll cover everything that you need to know in order to become an eco-friendly landlord including:

  • How to improve your Energy Performance Certificate rating
  • Eco-friendly outdoor spaces
  • How to make an older property more energy-efficient
  • Smart home tech for greener homes

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How to improve your Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating

Everything you need to know to be an eco-friendly landlord

Firstly, while investing in smart green tech is a good way to help you on your eco journey it is little use if your property has poor energy efficiency. Therefore, it is a good idea to make sure that your property is compliant with energy efficiency standards. 

The Domestic Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard Regulations state that every rental property in the UK needs to have a valid EPC with a grade of E or higher. 

An EPC assesses your property’s energy efficiency, makes recommendations for things you could improve and gives you a rough idea of how much those improvements will cost.

Here are some factors to  take into consideration:

  • Are the walls, floors and loft well insulated?
  • Are the windows single, double or triple-glazed?
  • How energy-efficient are the boiler, plumbing and radiators?
  • When was the property built and what structure and materials were used?
  • Are any electrical heat sources (such as plug-in radiators or fan heaters) in use?
  • Does the home use modern, energy-efficient lightbulbs?
  • Are there a lot of draughts from doors and windows?

Landlords that don’t have a valid EPC or score below an E could be fined up to £5,000. It’s also worth noting that EPCs only last for ten years before they need to be renewed. 

If you’re unsure of the status of your EPC or you’ve misplaced your documents you can search the registers of EPCs for England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland – there are regional differences. 

You can also find detailed advice on how to improve your EPC rating here. This includes:

  • Upgrading all of your light bulbs to LED bulbs
  • Investing in insulation for the walls and roof
  • Replacing any single-glazed windows with double or triple-glazed
  • Providing your tenants with a smart meter
  • Installing modern white goods, utilities and appliances
  • Installing modern toilets with a ‘low flush’ option
  • Installing water-saving shower heads 

For more information on all of the above, check out our previous post.


Outside the home

Everything you need to know to be an eco-friendly landlord

If you have a garden, providing a composting bin is another low-cost way to help your tenants reduce their environmental impact.

Most councils will provide a compost bin for around £25 upon request. If you don’t have a garden, you could provide your tenants with a space in a nearby allotment. 

Another option is solar panelling, which can reduce your energy bills by 40 – 50 per cent. The Government is no longer subsidising their installation, but they should pay for themselves in the long-term if you can justify the initial upfront investment.

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How to make an older property more energy-efficient

Older properties are loved for their character, but not always for their energy efficiency.

Single-glazed windows, draughty roofs and outdated utilities can make older properties hard to heat and expensive to live in.

This can drive away potential tenants who would otherwise love to live in an older property.

Thankfully, there are things that landlords can do to improve the energy efficiency of older properties.

Making an older property more energy-efficient is all about the fundamentals. You need to focus on the structure of the property and the materials that are used. 

You may need to work with a building partner who specialises in older properties, and don’t forget to look into whether you need planning permission before you start any work!

We’ve shared detailed advice for landlords who want to make their older property more energy efficient in the past. Here are some of the key things to address.

Resolve any damp issues

Damp is common in older properties. It can cause serious damage if not dealt with and actually makes homes harder to heat, as the damp walls sap the warmth from the room. It’s a complex issue with a number of potential causes – see our full damp, mould and condensation guide for additional advice. 

To deal with damp, make sure the house is getting plenty of fresh air and is well ventilated. Leaving windows slightly ajar can help if it is safe to do so.

If the problem persists, check for water ingress via the roof or guttering. A slow leak in the plumbing can be another source. If you still can’t find it, your best bet is to speak to a specialist.

Everything you need to know to be an eco-friendly landlord