Finding energy for landlords is not as complicated a beast as you might think. Whether it’s your name on the account or the tenant’s, reducing energy consumption and in turn cutting down on costs is a win-win. We divulge our energy tips for landlords.
There are a various types of energy meter available, but we’ll discuss the most common.
Prepayment meters are ones in which the tenant tops up the energy supply with credit themselves. If you have a frequent rotation of tenants, these meters can be beneficial in insuring debts get paid. However, the best energy deals are not available on prepayment meters and, generally, they’re not economical nor so practical for the tenant either.
Standard meters are the most popular in the UK; they simply measure your energy consumption in kilowatt hours by a dial. When tenants move in and out, be sure to take meter readings yourself and, to avoid disputes, advise they do too. By doing this, you’ll ensure the new tenant doesn’t pick up the previous tenant’s debt. For standard meters, it’s not hard to find a cheap energy deal as the market is so competitive, but it’s not necessarily the best way to save money on your electricity and gas in the long run.
Enter Smart meters. In 2020 Britain, we recommend these and we’ll talk more about the advantages of smart meters later on.
Many measures regarding energy efficiency go beyond the responsibilities of the tenant. Whether you want to make your home more energy-efficient for environmental purposes or simply to reduce your energy bill, doing so will improve your tenant retention as a result, meaning you spend less time reviewing new applicants.
Increasing energy efficiency also reduces the risk of damp and condensation building up. Not only do these look unappealing, but damp comes with health risks. Consequently, your home will be valued lower and you might even be penalised.
As of April 2020, energy for rental properties has changed. Any property that does not meet the minimum EPC rating of an E – that is, if it’s ranked F or G – cannot be granted a new tenancy. Yet it goes beyond just the new law. A strong EPC score will attract a more competitive rental market, in turn potentially increasing the property value itself. White goods are also assessed on the EPC scale, so try to upgrade any appliances with low efficiency ratings too.
If you want to make your home more efficient, you should aim to better insulate it. That includes: making certain your loft is thoroughly insulated (which also helps keep your home cool in the summer); upgrading to double – or even triple! – glazing; and blocking any nasty draughts. And don’t forget either that good, trusted curtains work their magic when it comes to heat retention (plus making it much cosier for your tenants), though just know it’s worth spending that little bit more on good quality ones for maximum effectiveness.
How long have you had your boiler? If the answer is more than fifteen years, then it’s probably time it took retirement. Old boilers simply aren’t as energy efficient as newer models, so when it comes to saving energy, upgrading is worth the investment. Plus, it’ll reduce the risk of any dangerous gas leaks as well as cutting back on your emissions; this not only puts your tenant’s mind at ease, but it’s also a great USP for your property.
As a landlord, you should know that it’s now actually the law for all new boilers to be what are called condensing boilers, so make sure yours is.
Undoubtedly, Smart meters are the way of the future. Installations are rising across the UK, so keep ahead of the curve and get one installed. Smart meters will allow your tenants to accurately see how much energy they’re consuming and keep their bills down to a minimum. In general, most people are au fait with smart technology and how to use it, and those who aren’t will likely be happy to learn if it means they save money on their energy bills.
If installing efficiency measures doesn’t at first hand appear cost-effective, then there is funding available to help you. All of the methods we outlined earlier (insulation; new boilers etc.) could be subsidised by the government’s Green Deal. This scheme helps homeowners make energy-efficient adjustments to their property.
You could also install solar panels or other renewable technologies to generate your own electricity. Not only does this make you self-sufficient, meaning your tenant’s energy bills will be hugely reduced, you can actually feed any surplus energy back into the grid. Which, by the way, you can be paid for – so it’s a win-win.
As a landlord, finding energy for your rental property is no different a process as for your own home. Indeed, there are certain minimum expectations you’re required to meet – such as the EPC rating – but the process is the same.
If you’re looking to save money, then switching suppliers is the most effective way. Use our energy comparison tool here at Simply Switch to compare energy deals for landlords and start reaping the benefits.