Nearly nine out of ten (85%) private tenants are concerned over increases in domestic energy costs, while 42% claim to be very concerned, according to new research on current attitudes to energy efficiency, conducted by the Energy Efficiency Partnership for Homes (EEPH).
Clearly feeling the squeeze, caused by rising energy costs, 9% of respondents have already taken action into their own hands and decided to go as far as to change properties to find somewhere more energy efficient to rent.
When tenants were asked about the perceived value of Energy Performance Certificates (EPC), nearly nine out of ten (88%) said that the EPC would be useful when looking for somewhere to rent and nearly a third (32%) said it would be very useful. Nine out of every ten private tenants said the EPC could have an impact on their choice of property. A quarter would actually use it in the first instance to narrow down properties whilst a further quarter would narrow down properties on other factors but then use the EPC to help make their final decision, (the remaining 40% would use it to decide between two properties that had equal appeal to them based on other attributes).
Mark Brown, Partnership Director of EEPH comments on the rising importance of energy efficiency within the private rented sector:
“With the upcoming introduction of mandatory EPCs for all rented properties this October, it was important for us to investigate the current attitudes of private sector tenants in England and Wales. We all know that utility bills are increasing but this research shows the real impact this is now having on this sector, people are actually making decisions based on the need to reduce their outgoings and energy efficiency is clearly a significant factor.”
Underlining the growing importance of energy efficiency in the tenant’s search for a property, the research showed that when it came to choosing a rental property, estimated energy bills were considered a major factor, rated just behind key aspects such as location, rental cost and type of property.
As a member of the Energy Efficiency Partnership for Homes Group, the National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS) is keen to help tenants improve their efficiency.
Caroline Pickering, Chair of NALS believes EPCs will help both landlords and tenants in the long term: “As this research shows – the certificate could prove to be incredibly useful in the decision making process as an EPC provides the tenant with a clear indication of the energy efficiency of their accommodation which can only be a selling point for prospective tenants. It is a “win-win” situation for tenants, landlords and lettings agents.”
“To help people reduce the amount of energy they use we have developed a free leaflet which details some simple yet effective tips on ways to reduce your energy consumption it includes measures such as replacing boilers over 15 years old to increase efficiency, and increasing heat retention by fitting a hot water tank jacket and installing double glazing.”
For information on EPCs: www.energysavingtrust.org.uk and www.communities.gov.uk/epbd
Energy Performance Certificate Helpline on 0845 365 2468