The Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) has come up with some tips to help tenants ‘identify key property features that could help keep them warm this winter.’ As a landlord, it might be a good idea to check you have the answers before the questions are asked.
Ask about insulation. When viewing a property, be sure to find out what kind of insulation is installed and how recently this was put in. While factors like loft insulation may not be immediately visible, they can make a huge difference to a property’s heat retention, especially if the property is a period conversion rather than a new build.
Look at a copy of the EPC. An energy performance certificate (EPC) should be available for prospective tenants’ consideration as part of the viewing process. This can give a good indication of how energy efficient a property is. The closer to ‘A’, the more likely it is to hold in heat and register lower utility bills.
Don’t forget the boiler. A new boiler can make a significant difference to heating bills; therefore it is always worth asking when the model was installed. This can also be a factor if there are multiple showers in the property, which can be a drain on hot water levels. All boilers should be regularly serviced by a certified gas fitter, and be sure to check the legally required documentation before signing any tenancy agreement. If the boiler has not been checked recently, ask the landlord to agree to a check-up before you move in.
Paying the bills. While many landlords will state that electricity and gas suppliers should not be changed in the tenancy agreement, it is always a good idea to check. If they do allow you to change supplier, it is always possible that you could find a cheaper deal, meaning there is less pressure to use the heating sparingly.
If you are not permitted to change supplier, asking the current tenants about their experiences of running costs is a useful way of getting a broad idea of how much bills will be in a property, especially if there is a marked increase during the winter months.
Double glazing and curtains. Many properties lose heat through windows, so always check the glazing in each room. Single glazing or larger windows can often make rooms colder, and this should be a key consideration for winter months. Curtains can be one solution to this problem, but are only effective if they are reasonably thick and are fitted to the window. For added warmth, be sure to ask the landlord or letting agent if they are happy for you to p