How energy efficient is your rental property? With an increasing focus on climate change, maximising the energy efficiency of your buy-to-let property can be hugely beneficial. With the introduction of more legislation, meeting the minimum standards in energy proves your commitment as a responsible landlord. So how can you ensure you property complies with legislation?

Since 2008, all rental properties in the UK are required to have an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate). This gives the property an overall energy efficiency rating, with A being the most efficient, and G the least efficient. An accredited energy assessor undertakes the test which consists of a visual inspection of key areas such as window glazing, radiators, boilers and loft insulation. The law does vary across the UK, but a good agent can guide you through the process and keep you abreast of any legislative changes.

On 1st April 2018, the law in England and Wales changed, which meant that all landlords are required to ensure their rental properties have an EPC minimum rating of E for new tenancies to meet the MEES (Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards). This will be expanded to include all tenancies, both new and existing, from April 2020. A digital service has been launched which will help both tenants and landlords understand the MEES, and to take action in order to improve the rating.

In Scotland, minimum efficiency standards will be gradually implemented over the next couple of years, with new tenancies from 1st April 2020 required to have an EPC rating of at least E. This will become compulsory for all rental properties from 31st March 2025. However, there are currently no standards in place for rental properties located in Northern Ireland. If your investment property does not meet the minimum energy standards, there are plenty of measures to bring them into line with the current law.

Insulation is one of the biggest causes of energy loss, and a home can lose 25% of its heat through the roofing. Insulating the loft is an effective and simple way to reduce heat loss, and you could even complete this task yourself. Any home built after 1990 is likely to have wall insulation, but any property built before this may not have insulation at all. Around one third of all heat is lost through uninsulated walls. Double glazing can also make a big difference in energy bills, as 10 per cent of a home’s heat can be lost through doors and windows.

Upgrading your current boiler is another useful way to reduce monthly costs and save energy. Although replacing a boiler is not cheap, it can prove a vital factor in ensuring your property meets the legal requirements of EPC certification. There are also plenty of easy upgrades in energy efficiency that do not come with a major price tag. Simple tricks such as fitting heavy curtains or rugs can help keep heat in the property. Foil or reflective panels can be installed behind radiators which reflect heat back towards to the room. Draft excluders also help prevent heat escaping through any gaps under the doors. Lighting also accounts for approximately 20 per cent of each household’s electricity costs, so by ensuring old light bulbs are replaced with energy efficient bulbs, much less electricity is used.

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