Ultimate guide to having an eco friendly property

Today, more than ever before, there’s a huge focus on the impact we have on the environment. The world is getting greener – and it’s about time.

Both major political parties have made pledges to make the UK carbon neutral within the next 30 years. Over the last decade, the laws around energy efficiency in rented properties have tightened and there are now minimum standards. For the vast majority of private landlords, this means you cannot now let a property unless it has a minimum rating of ‘E’ on the Energy Performance Certificate and there are fines of up to £5,000 if you don’t achieve this rating, subject to some exemptions.

It’s also important to realise that these are minimum standards – a level of energy efficiency that a rented home cannot fall below – and there is a lot more you can and should do to go over and above this basic level. Indeed, current government proposals mean that by 2025 it may be a legal requirement for newly rented properties to have a minimum ‘C’ rating.

The more energy efficient and eco friendly you can make your property, the better it is for the environment and the more desirable it will be to tenants that want not only low energy bills but also a low carbon footprint. And although there will be an initial outlay on your part, you should reap the financial returns within just a few years.

In this guide, we’ll explain what you need to do to make sure your property complies with the law, both now and in the near future, and that it’s as eco friendly as possible, so you’ll have no shortage of tenants who’d love to make it their home.

There’s a lot of information here, but you can skip ahead using the menu below:

What is an eco home?

An eco home is, in simple terms, a property that has a minimal impact on the environment.

The best eco homes have been designed and built using the most sustainable materials, then fitted out with the latest energy-saving devices so they require minimal energy to run.

Of course, most landlords aren’t letting brand-new eco homes!

But there are plenty of options out there to help you make the kind of changes to your property that would improve its carbon emissions and ecological impact, while complying with the law and meeting tenants’ needs.

Solar panels, modern appliances, new insulation and smart home technology can all improve your property’s ‘green’ credentials and appeal, while reducing your tenants’ bills – a win-win situation.

Why today’s tenants are looking for eco friendly homes

Tenants want a home that’s warm, comfortable and cost-efficient to keep that way. But there are also an increasing number who want to make sure they’re keeping their carbon footprint as low as possible and conserving resources for the good of the planet.

Climate change is a particular concern for millennials, up to a third of whom could be renting indefinitely.

According to one private rented sector tenant survey, 42 per cent of tenants say they take a property’s environmental credentials into account when making a decision about where to live – rising to  50 per cent for tenants in London. Among high-rent tenants paying between £1,350 and £1,600 a month, this figure increases to 63 per cent.

In another survey, of 1,000 25 to 40 year olds (half homeowners, half renters), 49 per cent said they would be more likely to buy or rent an eco-conscious home.

When asked if they would be prepared to pay more for sustainability features, 28 per cent said they would pay up to 20 per cent more and 22 percent would pay a premium of up to 30 per cent.

So, if you’re trying to attract high-income tenants, young professionals or eco friendly renters, it’s time to focus on how you can make your property more energy efficient.