All-inclusive rent packages are increasing in popularity as landlords respond to demand for no-fuss solutions from students, who want to know exactly how much will be paid out in bills each month so that they can budget more effectively.
Although all-in packages are a successful tool for attracting tenants, they do add an element of risk for landlords whose profits could be affected by out of control energy bills. Therefore any steps that can keep bills down and maximise profits are well worth considering.
Karl Tulloch from national property repairs and service provider Rightio, provides landlords with his top ten energy-saving – and profit enhancing – tips.
- Install an A-rated boiler. If you replace an old G-rated boiler with a modern A-rated boiler, you could save up to £340 a year on a property’s energy bills, according to the Energy Savings Trust. Heating costs make up about 60% of the average property’s energy bills, so install the most efficient boiler possible – don’t settle for anything less than an A-rated boiler, which offers over 90% efficiency.
- Fit the right showerhead. If the shower takes hot water directly from the boiler or hot water tank, a water efficient shower head will reduce the property’s hot water usage while retaining the sensation of a powerful shower.
- Bleed the air out of all radiators. Trapped air pockets reduce the efficiency of a property’s radiators, meaning the boiler needs to be on for longer to adequately heat the rooms. Tenants on an all-inclusive package will comfortably leave the heating on for as long as it takes the rooms to be heated, so failure to carry out this cost-free measure could have a significant impact on overall profits.
- Have an annual boiler service. Ensuring that the boiler is working to the manufacturer’s specifications helps prolong the life of the boiler as well as reduce the risk of expensive repairs. A service will also make the boiler more efficient, as the service engineer will remove any soot which may be coating the heat exchanger surfaces, as well as making adjustments to ensure an optimum efficiency air-to-fuel combustion ratio.
- Consider a power flush for the boiler. If a property’s boiler cuts out, makes banging noises, or the water fluctuates between hot and cold, it’s very probable it would benefit from a power flush to remove sludge from the system. This mucky build-up causes blockages and makes it harder for the water to circulate through the pipes and radiators, meaning the boiler has to stay on longer, work harder and so cost more money to run. Even if the unit’s boiler is fairly new, sludge can significantly impact on its efficiency.
- Insulate the property’s tanks, pipes and radiators. According to the Energy Saving Trust, fitting a British Standard jacket around the cylinder will cut heat loss by more than 75% and could save around £25-£35 per year, per property.
- Keep the heat in by fitting draught excluders to the doors – draught proofing a property will save around 10 per cent on the property’s annual heating bill.
- Consider installing a modern programmable thermostat as these can be set to switch off when tenants are out during the day, avoiding wastage.
- If the unit is on a water meter, consider fitting water-saving taps and toilets throughout the property. Alternatively, tap inserts – which aerate the water flow – and a toilet Hippo – which saves some of the cistern’s water – offer a more cost-effective solution. These make no discernible difference to the water pressure enjoyed by tenants but will deliver significant savings.
- Save electricity with energy efficient lightbulbs. Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) are the most cost-effective option for everyday lighting requirements. Replacing a traditional light bulb with a CFL could save as much as £50 over the bulb’s lifetime – the savings to be made across an entire property are substantial.
Finally, it’s worth remembering that taking a few simple measures to improve a unit’s energy-efficiency can not only deliver significant returns on investment, but an energy-efficient property is also a warmer, more comfortable one which is an attractive proposition for prospective tenants, helping to ensure units are let year-on-year.