Tenants can now ask their landlords to be more green-minded and to make energy-saving improvements to their properties.
Under the Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015, landlords are unable to refuse consent for any such requests as from April 1st.
The rights are subject to the tenant finding suitable funding for the improvements at no cost to the landlord.
Making energy efficient improvements could well benefit both tenants and landlords because they will lead to reduced bills as well as being good for the environment. Tenants may be inclined to stay longer in a property if it means reduced bills and a more comfortable home.
A National Landlords Association survey showed that 35% of tenants considered the energy efficiency of a property when looking for somewhere to live. So ‘going green’ can help landlords attract new tenants too.
There are many possibilities for improvements which will make a property more energy efficient, such as insulation, replacement windows, installing gas and solar panels.
If a tenant wants to ask for energy efficient improvements, they need to find funding and then prepare a written request.
The landlord must then decide whether there are any reasonable grounds for refusing consent. They may want more advice or evidence before making a decision or they may wish to make a counter proposal. However, a landlord needs to move fast as they are required to respond to the request within a month.
Obviously some tenants cannot put in a request for improvements. If they are moving out or being evicted, for example, any such request would be void.
If tenants feel that their landlords are not complying with the regulations, they can take them to a tribunal.
The move goes hand in hand with a further regulation which sets out a minimum energy efficiency standard for rented properties.
The regulations come into effect in October and will be applicable to new lets and tenancy renewals from April 1, 2018, and for all privately rented properties by 2020. It means that properties need at least a minimum energy rating of E.
Landlords will need to upgrade their properties by these dates where necessary or risk a fine of up to £4,000.
So these requests from tenants for improvements to boost efficiency can help landlords to meet these impending regulations.
Whilst being positive moves to improve the quality of rental properties, this is yet another set of rules with which landlords and property management companies must comply.
With the ever increasing back office duties and administrative tasks required to ensure that landlords and management firms do not fall foul of any new rulings, it can make sense to automate as many of these tasks as possible.
Specialist software such as Inventorybase is available to help manage rental properties. You can access this online and offline from your phone or laptop.
You can thus keep contracts and all correspondence with tenants, including any energy efficient requests in one place, for ease of management and retrieval.