Tenants living in private rented housing in the UK are keen to go green but, obviously, need the co-operation of their landlord to invest in such measures. One key area in which tenants would like to see improvements is that of heating control systems.
There is high demand for green measures, according to research by the Energy Saving Trust. Not only will it keep the bills down and help the planet but it should also be a good selling point when seeking new tenants. Although mainstream heating controls can save a lot of money – as much as 50 per cent – on heating bills, the new smart thermostats can reduce expenditure still further.
These smart devices are particularly appealing because you can control the heating from your phone and tablet. If you are out later than you intended, you can switch it off or delay the start time. Many systems will also control the heat in different rooms or use GPS to recognise that you are on your way home and fire up the central heating.
These smart systems are proving extremely popular, particularly as the range increases and more devices come on to the market. However, many of the systems are being bought by home-owners rather than buy-to-let landlords. In fact, the private rental sector has the highest proportion of homes which are the least energy efficient, according to research by the Department of Energy and Climate Change. The rental sector had 5.8 per cent of G-rated properties while owner-occupied homes came in at 3.4 per cent.
Landlords will need to take action to improve their energy ratings because in two years they will be unable to rent out either residential or business premises which do not meet a minimum standard. It is thought that this is likely to be a rating of E. Smart heating controls allowing tenants to manage the temperature of a property could be a positive move in improving energy efficiency. Other measures include better windows, doors and draught-proofing for example. Older or historic homes can be the hardest and most expensive in the context of managing heating expenditure, so specialist advice could be necessary with regard to improvements.
Landlords are already required to take heed of their tenants’ wishes regarding energy efficiency improvements so it could pay to start investing now rather than wait until 2018. A more efficient home is also a cheaper home to run with Friends of the Earth research estimating that tenants could save £488 a year on their energy bill if their home was improved to a least a Band E certificate. This is more than the cost of a smart thermostat.
The National Audit Office is predicting that the cost of investing in energy projects could be as much as £180 billion in the next 14 years which could force energy bills for consumers up by £117 a year during the same period. So more energy-efficient homes will be appreciated by tenants, ensuring that they do not face such a significant rise in their bills over this time.