My fake lawn just doesn’t cut it with tenants
Cosmetic improvements are all very well but a fuel-efficient flat with lower bills is the priority for London renters, says Victoria Whitlock
windows with double glazing, providing efficient boilers and ensuring good insulation, especially in walls and lofts.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that there are several funding options available, including loans from the Green Deal Finance Company, which are repaid by tenants through their electricity bills; the Energy Company Obligation, and local authority grants.
Landlords who can’t get funding to cover the entire costs of the improvements can apply for exemption from prosecution. This is also the case for landlords with listed buildings and properties where the fuel efficiency rating remains below Band E despite making all the recommended improvements. Of course, once the property is fuel efficient, warm in winter and cheaper to heat, it should be easier to rent, and tenants might stay longer if they’re more comfortable and their bills are lower.
Government figures show that improving a property’s energy efficiency rating from G to E will save a tenant £1,150 a year. That’s got to be appealing. And improvements can even increase a property’s resale value. My flat already has double glazing, a new boiler and a pretty decent Band C energy rating, so there’s not much more I can do except hope that my recent refurbishments attract tenants.
MAYBE I shouldn’t have gone in for little luxuries such as underfloor heating and easy-to-maintain plastic grass but let’s hope someone appreciates them — and can afford them, too.