Sustainability and green issues have been on the agenda more than ever lately, with the recent COP26 summit in Glasgow seeing world leaders make a number of commitments to combat climate change and reach net-zero targets.
It’s a topic that is becoming increasingly important in the lettings sector too, with a higher demand for carbon-friendly homes and a greater emphasis on landlords to bring the energy efficiency of their homes up to the required standard.
But according to recent research, there could also be considerable financial benefits to providing tenants with a greener home.
A recent survey claimed that tenants are willing to pay more for greener homes, with some 98% of those who responded saying they would prefer to rent a home ‘optimised to increase energy efficiency, reduce energy costs and minimise environmental impact’.
Over half (53%) were willing to pay more for a greener home, with just over a half of these happy to shell out 10% more on rent. Meanwhile, a further third said they would be willing to accept a 5% increase in rent, and one in 12 would even be happy to see a whopping 20% rise.
The research also found that most renters (85%) would be happy to consider a ‘green lease’ in order to improve the green credentials of the private rented sector. With clauses designed to make sure that tenants and landlords collaborate to enhance a home’s energy efficiency, green leases can also help reduce costs and environmental impact for all parties.
Additionally, the survey found that tenants already have certain expectations about their rental homes before they move in, expecting them to perform well on several fronts when it comes to sustainability.
Nearly all of those responding (95%) would expect their property to have double glazing, while 92% would anticipate the home to have loft or wall insulation.
Some 73% would like (more energy efficient) LED lightbulbs, with 92% expecting recycling bins as standard.
When it comes to technology, over half of tenants (56%) expect to see smart meters and 38% would hope for smart thermostats. Exactly 50% would be expecting dual flush toilets, and 26% expect solar panels and ground source heating.
Fortunately, there are a number of steps – some small and easy, some more significant/expensive, that landlords can take to improve the energy efficiency and sustainability of their homes.
These range from installing a smart meter, upgrading to LED lightbulbs if the home currently has more inefficient ones in play; installing draught excluders where necessary; increasing the insulation of the property (huge amounts of heat can escape through poorly insulated walls and lofts) and lowering water usage (and water bills) by putting in place an energy-saving shower head or dual flush toilet.
More expensive improvements include installing solar panels, air source pumps and more energy-efficient boilers. They will cost in the short-term, but could pay back handsomely over the long-term as the government continues to target the PRS in terms of greening the UK’s housing stock.
Improving the green credentials of your home isn’t just good for the environment. As the above research sets out – it could also be good for your bank balance in terms of higher rental income - improving your chances of strong rental yields each year.
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