A Guide To Sustainable Renting: Our Top Tips

Jane Fairhurst, lettings manager here at Seymours Guildford has been doing some research and with energy prices rising along with our worries over climate change, realises that it is more important than ever that tenants and landlords approach sustainable renting with vigour. Tenants may have little control over the space they live in, but lots can still be done to reduce the negative impact we have on the environment.

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Similarly, there are plenty of things a landlord can do to ensure their tenants have the ability to live in a climate-conscious environment. With legislation around energy efficiency also getting ever stricter, landlords need to ensure they are making necessary adjustments to their rental properties.

With proper consideration, your changes could also protect the sales value of the property and give you more leverage to continue letting in the future. This type of improvement is necessary to help your tenants and provide the best possible home for them.

Sustainable Renting For Landlords

Jane mentioned that “energy efficiency is becoming increasingly important for people looking to rent. They are aware of the costs associated with rental properties, so spending more than they need to on bills is going to be extremely off putting. Compulsory energy certificates make it easy to see how efficient a property is and nowadays this can make or break a tenancy.”

When trying to save alongside paying rent and bills, people are going to be looking at efficiency ratings more closely to help them save money as well as have a more positive impact on the planet. So what can you do to make your property more sustainable?

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Water Flow Restrictors

This is a great way of reducing bills and saving on the amount of water used each day by tenants. They are designed to decrease the amount of water ejected to 2.5 gallons a minute. Your tenants will be grateful for the water and money saved, but be careful if you’re in an area with low water pressure – you could end up with a trickle. 

Update Your Appliances

There will be certain things that come as standard with a rental property. You might expect them to bring their own furniture and occasional white goods, but starting with the boiler could save you money and increase the building’s efficiency. 

A more up to date boiler will often use less energy to heat the same amount as an old one. So, if the boiler is over 10 years old, it is definitely worth investing in an upgrade. Similarly, if you are providing washing machines, tumble dryers or dishwashers – investing in a new, more efficient model will help your tenants with sustainable renting and cutting costs. 

Draft Excluders

This is a really easy job that can be done during the day while your tenants are at work. Draft excluders will allow you to conserve heat and make the property feel warmer overall. This way, nothing is lost to old or misshapen doors and windows. As a result, you will be saving energy when heating the home and your tenants may find they don’t need radiators on for so long.

If you want some more tips on keeping your home warm, our sales manager Simon Kelso also had some tips in this blog last month!

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Especially in two-storey homes – it is important to conserve as much heat as possible and trap what you can to keep as many rooms as possible warm with as little energy from the radiators as possible. 

Loft insulation works by trapping heat below the roof before it has a chance to escape. This will keep those top rooms warmer for longer and mitigate the need for constant heating. Insulation also prevents cold air from entering the property. In the winter this can be a lifesaver and will stop the pesky chills that require you to bump up the thermometer from October to March.

The Tenant’s Guide To Sustainable Renting

When you don’t own your own home, it seems like there is little you can do to change the impact you have on the environment. After reading the points above, you can make use of things put in place by your landlord and be more conscious of the energy you’re using throughout the year, but what else can you contribute?

The good news is that there is more to do than you think. Eco-friendly living isn’t just about solar panels and home renovations. There are plenty of people you can talk to and considerations you can make before signing your tenancy agreement to help push you in the right direction. As lettings manager, Jane has spoken to many tenants about where to start. Some of her advice includes: 

Location, location, location

Whether you’re looking to buy a home or let a flat, the area you live in is important for many reasons. You want to be close to work, good schools, local amenities and fun things to do. But when it comes to sustainable renting, the location can be an easy way to have a say in how conscious you’re being about the environment. 

Firstly, you may want to consider how close it is to public transport – making it easier for you to avoid the car when you have to commute or make long trips. Similarly, how plausible is it to walk to the local shops, school or work from where the property is? While public transport is a great alternative to reduce your carbon footprint, walking or cycling is even better.

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Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

Next, you’ll want to think about the building itself. Landlords are required to provide a new EPC every 10 years. Taking a look at the energy rating of a building before living there can help ensure you are making the most sustainable decision. Ratings run from A to G and you’d obviously want something on the higher end where possible but the minimum requirement will be a listing of E for all domestic and non-domestic properties. 

Also, if you conduct viewings – take note of the facilities and appliances the property will come with. If they look old and tattered, you could see if they are able to be upgraded for more efficient models and a condition of your contract. If this is not possible and you are unable to bring your own – it might be worth moving on to the next one.

sustainable lettings

Recycling Zero Waste

Nowadays, reduce, reuse and recycle gets drilled into our heads from the moment we start school. But there are still people out there not making the most of the facilities we have on hand. When you move in, check what the protocol is for local recycling and make sure your plastics, glass and other materials are all clean and ready to go in the correct bins or be taken to your local recycling plant. 

Most areas have some sort of recycling process now, so making use of it is a great way to introduce sustainability into your home. Although, if you fancy a challenge – try living as close to a zero-waste lifestyle as possible. Buying loose foods from the grocery shops rather than pre-packaged and investing in reusable containers rather than cling film or foil. Anything you can contribute to reducing the waste being produced will better the environment. 

Go Green

This could mean anything from investing in houseplants to starting your own kitchen herb garden! 

For starters, house plants make excellent decor and are rent friendly without the need to hang or attach to walls. As well as this, they naturally aid in purifying the air which is great for the environment and reduces the need for electronic filters that could raise energy consumption. This would be a great start to fighting off pollution and decreasing your carbon footprint. 

Growing your own food is also a great way to take on that zero-waste challenge! Even if you’re limited on space, small herb pots and plants like chilli or bell peppers are easy to sit on the windowsill and pick at whenever you need them! With your healthy, unpolluted air and plenty of sunlight – they’ll thrive!

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Thinking Of Sustainable Renting? Contact Seymours Guildford

Developing good habits when it comes to eco-friendly living can be hard, but whether you’re a tenant or a landlord there are plenty of easy changes you can make to kickstart the journey. 

As a landlord, it is your responsibility to provide a suitable living space. This now also means making it the most efficient it can be and providing tenants with the ability to live efficiently where possible. Whether it is small changes like adding draft excluders or making a bigger impact with home insulation – you will be making a positive contribution to the environment.

Similarly, tenants often have little say in what goes on with the property itself. But by making a conscious effort to live better and do small things to improve the process – you are positively contributing to the sustainability of your rental property also. It may take time to form those habits, but baby steps are the way forward! Don’t forget to talk to your landlord too and share ideas. You may be able to work together. 

With over 30 years of experience in the county and with 20 dedicated branches dotted throughout the area, our expert agents can secure you the right price for your rental.

Sell or let your property with the experts today: choose Seymours Estate Agents.

If you would like free-market advice or need an instant property valuation you can trust, get in touch with the team at Seymours Guildford Lettings & Management using our contact form or call one of our 20 dedicated branches here!