Today's young people are arguably more environmentally aware than ever, so should buy-to-let investors be more eco-friendly?
Original article published by Buy Association (2018)
The latest environmental issue hitting the headlines has been the global use of plastic, which has already begun to be reduced in the UK with measures such as banning plastic straws and introducing plastic carrier bag charges, and the importance of eco-living has been highlighted as a result.
In terms of housing, there are plenty of ways to make a property more eco-friendly and sustainable, starting with how it's built in the first place. An increasing number of homes today are constructed using locally sourced "green materials", which can provide an added benefit of reducing emissions from the home and lowering the carbon footprint, as well as the installation of solar panels and the use of other renewable energy sources.
Benefits for tenants
While living a green life is not just the reserve of young people, it seems they are more likely to make more eco-friendly lifestyle choices, with a Guardian survey finding that two-thirds of millennials buy as many eco-friendly products as they can.
It could therefore be beneficial to property investors and buy-to-let landlords to bear this in mind if young professionals and millennials are their target market - or even just to attract a wider range of tenants by using any environmentally friendly assets of the property as a selling point.
While most landlords won't be building a home from scratch, adjustments can be made to any existing home to make it more eco-friendly. Single glazed windows can be replaced with double, all windows and doors can be draft-proofed, and insulation can be added to both the walls and the loft to prevent heat escaping - all of which will also raise the EPC rating, which must now reach a minimum of E to be legally rented out.
Go eco-friendly for added appeal
Replacing appliances and lightbulbs with more energy efficient ones will also make the property more green. Or, for investors and landlords who can afford to spend more money, things like ground source heat pumps and solar panels could also be added to a property to ramp up its eco-friendly credentials, and systems can even be installed to collect rainwater for laundry. Increasing the amount of natural light in a property, perhaps by changing or adding windows or skylights, can also reduce the home's energy consumptions as less artificial light will be needed.
Each landlord's circumstances and lengths they can go to make their property more green will be different, but any measures taken to ensure a more eco-friendly house should be mentioned in listings and to any potential tenant in order to increase the home's appeal to the target renter - and it could prove financially beneficial in the long run.
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