From April next year, tenants will have the right to ask their landlords to approve energy efficiency measures under the Green Deal and while this may seem attractive the scheme has its drawbacks, not least that the Government has just decided to stop funding the Green Deal Finance Company.
Green Deal improvements were funded by repayments through the energy bills applicable to the property. If the benefits of the improvement outweighed the cost of making them then they suited Green Deal requirements.
But it was always much better to make these improvements yourself as an investment in your let property rather than use the Green Deal scheme which may have restricted which energy companies tenants could use in the future as not all providers were part of the scheme. While this may seem insignificant, consumers are growing more energy aware and may have resented having their opportunities to switch curtailed, particularly as a measure in the recent Budget was for switching to be made possible within 24 hours.
At Carter Jonas, approximately seven per cent of our lettings properties fall into EPC Bands F and G, possibly limiting their lettings potential. Landlords therefore need to start paying attention to the need to upgrade. It’s true that exemptions from the new rules will apply and all listed homes fall outside the EPC requirement but it’s never a good idea to rely on a loophole that can subsequently close.
My recommendation is that where tenants ask to have an energy urvey done you allow it to go ahead but then consider whether or not it’s to your advantage to implement the improvements yourself so you retain control. It may also be that the work can be completed at lower cost than any Green Deal scheme contractor may have offered and there was always the right to refuse improvements that were not cost effective.
Where listed buildings are concerned, it’s worth bearing in mind that the feature that has led to the listing may not actually be within the living space.
Garden walls and dovecots are among the many reasons a property can be listed and the doves are less likely to be worried about the energy-saving potential than the tenants!
If this affects you, then see how you can improve your property’s energy performance independent of anything a tenant may want to do. The appeal of living in a listed building is sufficient for many people to sign a tenancy agreement without question.
But how much better is it if your tenant not only feels warm-hearted towards the building because of its listing but also is actually physically warmed by its energy-saving features?
Partner Head of Residential Lettings
T: 020 7518 3234