3 ways to go green in the lettings industry

18 January 2021

The recovery plan for Covid-19 is seen by many as an opportunity to reinforce and boost the UK's commitment to bring its greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050 - and here are just three ways the housing market can play its part in 2021.

In 2019, the UK became the first major economy to pass laws to end its contribution to global warming by 2050, while 2020 saw calls for tackling climate change to be included in planning for a post-pandemic future. Energy in housing accounts for 14% of total UK emissions, according to the Committee on Climate Change - which means there’ll likely be a strong knock-on effect for rental energy standards to meet net zero goals, with the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards just the beginning. Going green may require investment but there are opportunities to be had.

Offer a green energy supplier to tenants

Sustainability tops the agenda for many tenants. Research by YouGov shows that millennials are more likely than any other generation to say that they would pay extra for eco-friendly or sustainable products. Your landlords can boost the appeal of their property for tenants, in line with their expectations, with the offer of a green energy or electricity supplier.

If you offer a utility switching service to change to this green provider, you’ll also make the tenant’s move less arduous so it’s an easy win to keep them happy - and hopefully in your landlord’s property for longer. Some companies can even automate this service, to make the switch hassle free for everyone involved.

 

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Encourage your landlords to upgrade and renovate

Landlords are already required to boost all tenancies from an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of F or G to at least E since 1 April 2020. This involves spending up to a maximum of £3,500 towards improving rental properties, whether insulating the loft, roof or walls, upgrading the boiler, installing low-energy lighting, and so on.

The government also set up the Green Homes Grant in 2020, offering vouchers of up to £5,000 (or up to £10,000 for low-income households), to put towards the cost of installing energy efficient improvements, such as insulation, in your residential property. Vouchers should be redeemed and improvements completed by 31 March 2022.

If your landlords invest in updates, you’ll have the chance to create a unique selling point for the property as an energy efficient rental. Build-to-rent homes already have the advantage of being designed around the modern renter so landlords who update their properties will be better placed to compete in this new and challenging market.

You and your landlord’s costs will also be reduced. Better insulation, for example, will mean less damp so less maintenance, happier tenants, and a higher house value; statistics show that house prices can grow up to 14% when improving energy efficiency ratings to A/B.

Be digital-first in your day to day

You can reduce your paper trail to support the government’s net zero goals, and to create new ways to work more efficiently. This will translate to lower costs for you, and create a more streamlined process for both your landlords and tenants.

From e-signing, online payments and digitised documents to virtual tours, video conferencing and webinars - combining the different options available can minimise the number of physical documents you’ll need and reduce the number of in-person meetings, as per the government's guidance during the pandemic. You’ll be saving time and reducing your carbon footprint.

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