Maximising energy efficiency in UK rental properties: A quick guide for UK landlords

6 min read

The continuing delays in introducing standards for landlords to make their properties energy efficient could raise gas and electricity bills for private renters by as much as a billion pounds. 
At present, privately rented homes are covered by the Domestic Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) Regulations which set a minimum energy efficiency level for domestic private rented properties. Introduced in April 2020, landlords can no longer let or continue to let properties covered by the MEES Regulations if they have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating below E, unless they have a valid exemption in place. A compulsory upgrade to band C would help 2.4 million homes make significant cost savings while also being better for the environment.

The proposed plan would compel landlords to meet the standards for new tenancies by 2025, and existing ones by 2028, but the proposals have not yet been turned into legislation - and the government has been criticised for that.

Given that tenants pay for utilities, landlords have little incentive to make the upgrades. However, as a responsible landlord, you can do the right thing by installing energy-saving equipment as soon as possible and undertaking other energy saving tips. Our landlord accountants dive deeper into this.

What are the EPC requirements for landlords?

Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) help landlords and tenants understand how energy-efficient their homes are and what improvements can be made. Every building with an EPC gets a rating from A (most efficient) to G (least efficient). 
The better the EPC rating, the lower the energy bills and, thus, the more affordable the home is. Landlords must get a new EPC rating every ten years, and it is in their best interest to optimise their rating as much as possible. All new tenants must also compulsorily be given a copy of the building’s EPC when they move in.

According to the proposed legislation, all UK buildings must have an EPC rating of at least C by 2025. This can be difficult, especially for older buildings, so setting the process in motion as soon as possible is vital.

Thanks to AI, labour-intensive tasks can be automated and completed within seconds. From reconciling bank transactions to running payroll to preparing tax documents to audits, modern accounting tools can handle it all and leave your accounting team free to take on the more analytical tasks that require human insights.
Moreover, automation ensures that these tasks are executed on time and free of errors, thus enabling these to run in the background without extra intervention.

3. Emphasis on advisory services

With things like tax filing or bookkeeping being largely outsourced to technology, your accounting team can offer more valuable strategic advice to the client. Personalised guidance on expanding and growing as a business, regardless of technology, will require a human with on-ground experience to offer insights based on market trends and historical data.

1. Smart metre

Installing a smart metre can help tenants manage their energy usage more efficiently by providing real-time information about energy consumption and costs.

2. LED light bulbs

LED bulbs are known to be more energy efficient than traditional incandescent bulbs and can last up to 25 times longer.

3. Energy-efficient doors

These are typically made with materials that have high insulation properties, such as composite materials or uPVC. Replacing old doors with them can help conserve energy.

4. Insulation approaches

Insulating the property can help cut back on heat loss. Common insulation approaches include cavity wall insulation, solid wall insulation, and loft insulation.
Cavity wall insulation entails inserting insulation material into the gap between walls. On the other hand, solid wall insulation covers the property’s exterior or interior walls. Meanwhile, loft insulation involves installing insulation material in the loft or attic space.

5. Double-glazed windows

Double-glazed windows can effectively decrease heat loss because they are crafted with two glass panes separated by a gap that serves as an insulating layer.

6. Heating system upgrades

Upgrading to an energy-efficient boiler can help reduce the amount of energy required to heat the property, which can lower energy bills for tenants. Other upgrades include installing a new thermostat or smart heating controls to manage heating more efficiently.

7. Solar panels or heat pumps as renewable energy sources

Incorporating renewable energy sources like solar panels or heat pumps into a property’s infrastructure can generate sustainable energy and decrease dependency on grid electricity, reducing energy bills for occupants and a lower carbon footprint for the property.

Exemptions to improvements

Certain properties can be exempt from the efficient energy requirements on the grounds of structural issues, affordability or mortgage lender consent refusal. If your property meets any exemption criteria, you must register it on the PRS Exemptions Register, which lasts five years.

How to help your tenants save on their energy bills

Regardless of who is paying the energy bills, reducing them will be good for everyone. If your tenants are struggling to pay their bills, there are resources you can redirect them to, such as Simple Energy Advice in England. In addition, all households in the UK should get a discount of £400 on their energy bills over winter 2022 to 2023, with extra support for lower-income households and pensioners.

Let Golding Accountancy make your property energy-efficient
By implementing energy efficiency measures, you can reduce your property’s carbon footprint and attract tenants who are increasingly looking for more environmentally friendly and cost-effective properties.
We can also help you to access the Green Homes Grant, which offers up to £5,000 towards energy-efficient upgrades for eligible properties.
Do not let high energy costs and a large carbon footprint hold you back. Let us make your property more energy-efficient today. Contact us to find out more about our landlord accounting services.
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