Property ladder

All of us want to save energy and reduce our electricity and gas bills, but much of the advice and schemes that are available to help people do this are aimed at homeowners. These include free insulation schemes, boiler replacement offers, window improvement schemes and general advice surrounding improving the home to avoid draughts and leaks. Many tenants feel that they simply have to put up with whatever the landlord has provided and make savings where they can.

However changes are about to come into effect (from April 2018 for new builds and lets and for existing from 2020), that will make it a legal obligation for landlords to offer a minimum standard of energy performance for their properties. This will insist that a property must meet an Energy Performance Certificate level of E – giving tenants a standard that at least gives them something to rely on.

In the meantime, it is worth noting that from April 2016 it became illegal for a landlord to refuse to allow tenants to carry out energy savings improvements on their properties – as long as the tenant is willing to pay. A number of conditions have to be met, but if you are willing to get the work properly done, the landlord should agree.

The landlord can also take advantage of a number of relief schemes to allow them to have the property insulated and improved. This is set against their tax obligations and can improve their property enough to allow them to charge more rent. This may not seem like a win for you as a tenant, but is still an incentive for the landlord to have work carried out. The key here is to talk to your landlord and see what they are willing to do.

If all else fails, there are a number of things you can do that is cheap and will not materially change the structure of the home – ensuring you don’t cause damage that might end up costing you more.

● Use heavy drapes or curtains in the winter that fall all the way to the floor. These will keep out draughts from the windows.
● Invest in some rugs if you have wooden floors. Much of the heat lost in your home is due to leaky floors.
● Use all available systems to avoid using too much hot water or heating. This means thermostats and timers. If yours don’t work well, ask for them to be replaced.
● Ask your landlord if you can have a smart meter installed – this will help you to see the amount you are using
● Try adding reflective backing to your radiators to reflect heat into the room.
● Add removable secondary glazing to your windows. This is easily found in DIY stores and involves simple adhesive films that stick to the existing window frames.