How landlords can create a sustainable property portfolio

From increased energy costs and utility bills on the rise, to changes in legislation around energy efficiency in homes, landlords are being pushed to make changes to their buy-to-let properties in order to stay on the right side of the climate conversation and avoid wasting money on bills. As a landlord, you want to take pride in your property portfolio, and today that means opting for sustainable choice as much as possible. 

A sustainable property has the potential to attract more tenants, keep them in the property for longer to reduce tenant turnover, and can help you achieve higher rental yields, so it’s certainly time and money well-spent. With that in mind, here are a few ways you can create a sustainable property portfolio and reap the rewards, from small upgrades to bigger investments. 

The benefits of a sustainable home

There’s rising demand for eco-friendly properties, so in making these changes, you’re more likely to attract tenants seeking this kind of property. In fact, research suggests that tenants would be willing to pay as much as 20% more for homes with smart features and eco-friendly credentials. That means that if you do decide to make larger changes to the property, you could see a return on investments fairly soon. 

Not only does a sustainable property appeal to tenants but it also helps you bring down your carbon footprint, and improves your reputation as a landlord. The government is looking to incentivise property owners to improve their EPC ratings, and landlords that can make changes now will be in a better position when those regulations come into effect. 

Install smart meters

Smart meters are the ideal way to minimise wasted utilities, helping tenants to keep track of the energy they use. These meters can be programmed to come on at set times of day, whether you’re home or not, which keeps your carbon footprint at bay and keeps the property comfortable for tenants when it matters most. Many smart meters can also be managed remotely, so you can change the settings on a particularly warm or cold day, depending on your needs. 

Generate renewable energy

Renewable energy is a fantastic way to make a property more sustainable, and it’s now easier and more affordable than ever to utilise greener forms of energy in a home. The obvious choice is solar panels, but there are alternatives you may not be aware of that can create a more eco-friendly property for your portfolio. For example, you may install a biomass boiler if you have the outside space for one, or an air source heat pump, which can be a really efficient way of heating a property without reliance on fossil fuels. Renewable energy produced on the property can be an appealing solution for tenants, especially if it helps to bring their utility costs down. 

Implement an EV charger

Sustainable transport is an important part of any sustainable building, and alongside encouraging occupiers to use public transport, or walk and cycle, property owners can install EV chargers to make the space more eco-friendly. Just as with renewable power, charging points can make the property more appealing to eco-minded tenants, whether they are considering getting an electric vehicle in the future or they already have one. With the government’s plans to incentivise EVs in the next few years to reach their carbon emission targets, having a property with a charger already in place will be an attractive proposition for those looking for a home. 

Paint with environmentally friendly products

It’s easy to overlook decorating when it comes to creating a sustainable property, but paint is just as important as any other element of the home. If you’re thinking of freshening things up with a lick of paint, consider zero VOC paints that have been shown to improve the air quality and minimise the concentration of contaminants entering the atmosphere. 

Double or triple glaze the windows

While upgrading your windows may require significant outlay initially, it’s certainly not a waste. In fact, it can have a huge impact on the sustainability of your home by keeping it warmer in the colder months, as well as increasing the security of your property. Double or triple glazing can cut annual heating costs in half, so while it does require a bit of spending upfront, it’s an investment that’s worth making if you’re serious about making your buy-to-let more sustainable.  

Insulate the property

Insulation is an essential in keeping a home warm, cutting heating costs and making your tenants more comfortable — all while making your property portfolio more energy-efficient. There are several ways to do this, from cavity wall insulation that is a bigger and pricier job but one that’s altogether more successful, to hanging heavy lined curtains, sealing doorways and gaps around windows, and making sure that any gaps in floorboards are plugged to stop draughts coming through. Another option is to insulate your loft, where a lot of heat loss occurs. 

When it comes to creating a sustainable property portfolio, there are various changes you can make depending on your budget and timeframe. In updating your property to be greener and more eco-friendly, it can help to attract higher rental prices and more interested parties, so it’s worth doing your research into how far your budget can stretch in order to gain these benefits. 

Written by Agency Express guest writer Annie Button