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Why would landlords be concerned about changes in legislation regarding lightbulbs? After all, lightbulbs are considered a consumable item so are usually the tenant’s responsibility to replace them if one or more bulbs fail. Well, what may, at first sight, appear to be a trivial matter could turn out to be a costly experience especially for a landlord with a large property portfolio. 

Saving the Planet with Light Bulbs

The UK government announced in June that from September 2021, sales of halogen lightbulbs will be banned and from September 2023 fluorescent light bulbs will be removed from sale. This is part of the UK initiative to address climate change by reducing CO2 emissions – it is estimated that the move to LED lightbulbs will save 1.2 million tonnes of CO2 emissions per year and help consumers save on their energy bills.

LED bulbs last for up to five times longer than conventional halogen lightbulbs and yet they produce the same amount of light – all of this whilst using up to 80% less power. It is expected that LED bulbs will account for 85% of sales by 2030. Some halogen bulbs lights will continue to be sold but these will be bulbs used in more specialist fittings such as G7, G9 and R7. 

From September it is also planned that sales of lighting fixtures with fixed bulbs (bulbs that cannot be replaced) will be banned – resulting in such fixtures being disposed of when bulbs fail.

What’s a Landlord To Do?

There is no immediate rush to do anything – certainly no need to panic. Most LED bulbs have been designed to fit in existing halogen-based light fittings, so it is simply a case of replacing the bulbs. Replacing all the halogen bulbs with LEDs at once could incur a significant financial outlay, but the good news is that there is no need to do anything until a bulb needs to be replaced.

Any fittings which have fixed bulbs will need to be completely replaced once the bulb has failed. An environmentally conscious landlord may feel the need to replace all halogen bulbs at once but generally, most will do it in stages. Of course, it is the tenant who will reap the most benefit from the switch to LED – the cost savings from a change to LED look to be substantial.

A 100-Watt traditional bulb when replaced with a 14W LED would provide the same amount of light for around £2 a year. By comparison, would the cost of a 77W halogen would be around £11. Longevity is the other bonus from using LEDs – a halogen light bulb will usually provide about 2000 hours of use, while an LED can light up the room for up to 25,000 hours. 

It’s not all about the Tenant.

Whilst it may be true that the tenant will be the main beneficiary of reduced electric costs due to LED efficiency and longevity, there are also inherent benefits for the landlord. There are now very good LED alternatives for just about every lighting situation. By changing to LED across a property portfolio, it may well help to push many of the EPCs up to a higher Grade, thereby making sure EPCs are within regulatory requirements and keeping finance providers happy. 

Landlords are responsible for providing a safe environment for tenants. LEDs are considered safer than other light sources and are perfect for making rental properties safer.

Low voltage lightbulbs

Because LED lights use less power to run than all alternative light sources, they can run off low voltage circuits. This means there is less of a risk of electrical shocks when the bulbs are being changed. 

They produce less heat

More of the power LEDs use is converted into light rather than heat. That means greatly reduced risk of fire, even if they’re left on for a protracted period by tenants.

Water Repellent 

In areas such as kitchens and bathrooms and outdoors, LEDs tend to be structured in a manner that resists the ingress of water (and other liquids) which otherwise could cause serious damage. It is, however, important that the appropriate bulbs are selected in accordance with regulations and IP rating. 

LEDs are mercury free 

Some traditional bulbs contain tiny amounts of mercury that constitute a danger as it can be toxic when inhaled or swallowed in any way. LEDs are free from mercury and pose no threat of poisoning when broken or dropped. This also means disposing of them is much safer. 

Everyone is a winner – even planet earth

LEDs help create safer properties and lower electricity costs for tenants and enhance the desirability of the property and increase tenant retention. Better EPC ratings and safer properties increase investment values and provide easier access to funding for landlords.

So whilst a little thing like a light bulb can have a major impact on the planet, it can also be great for landlords and tenants alike – a win-win for everyone.

Managing a property portfolio is a complex affair and even light bulbs have to be taken into account. Property inspection software such as InventoryBase can provide an end-to-end solution for landlords, encompassing inventory management, risk assessment and property inspections to name but a few of the innovative features designed to enhance every aspect of the landlord’s business.