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Landlords must go green
4:00pm Tuesday 5th March 2013 in Lifestyle
Black Country landlords have been warned that they must go green under new laws or they won’t be able to rent out their homes.
If they do not improve their properties’ energy efficiency, says local energy adviser Colin Priest, up to one in ten buy-to-let homes will be ineligible to be let in five years’ time.
Colin, who lives in Quarry Bank and works for green energy company Noreus, said that owners won’t be allowed to rent out properties with the two lowest efficiency ratings of F and G under new laws coming into operation in April 2018.
Also from 2016 landlords cannot refuse tenants’ “reasonable” requests for green measures, such as improvements to insulation.
The Government is still deciding on whether the ban will take effect on a set date or whether properties with an F or G rating can continue to be let until the end of an existing tenancy.
In a questionnaire published last month English Housing Survey said 11.4 per cent of homes in the private rented sector were rated F or G in 2011 for energy efficiency.
This compared to only two per cent of local authority homes, 1.6 per cent of housing association properties and 8.2 per cent of owner occupied homes.
“Landlords should plan ahead now to turn their properties green and to save more money,” said Colin, “as the Government has made it clear that there will be consequences for those who do not improve the energy efficiency of their properties voluntarily.”
The number of buy-to-let investors is growing with latest figures showing they borrowed £16.4 billion in total last year, 19 per cent more than the previous year and the total number of buy-to-let mortgages outstanding at the end of last year was 1.45 million.
However, help is at hand. The National Landlords’ Association has launched a scheme similar to the Government’s Green Deal whereby energy improvements to the property are paid for by a loan.
This is repaid by a supplement on the property’s electricity bill which is cancelled out by a drop in energy bills, thus ensuring there is no net cost to tenant nor landlord.
To help landlords Colin is offering to carry out an Energy Performance Certificate from just £75 and also a free thermal imaging camera survey to show where they can reduce their energy bills. The camera reveals air leaks and moisture in cavity wall insulation, water problems in flat roofs, defects in pipes or under-floor heating systems and inefficient seals around door and windows without having to cut into plasterboard or concrete or search through the attic.
“Up to 60 per cent of heat lost in a home is through the roof and the walls,” said Colin, “so landlords should start by spray foaming the attic with the environmentally-friendly Icynene Insulation System which reduces heating bills by up to 50 per cent and saves up to £600 a year every year.” For more details about energy-saving or to book an Energy Performance Certificate or a free thermal imaging survey call Colin on 0845 474 6641.