How to improve energy efficiency and save money
Updated: 22 May 2013
Improving the energy efficiency of your property could be beneficial for several reasons. It could:
- increase the value of your property
- result in lower maintenance and repair
- reduce running costs for tenants thus increasing their disposable income which could, in turn, make rent payment less of a problem
The Housing Executive is Northern Ireland’s Home Energy Conservation Authority with the responsibility to improve the energy efficiency of all housing stock irrespective of tenure. The Energy Savings Trust Advice Centre gives all householders (home owners and tenants) high quality independent impartial advice on:
- heating systems
- insulating your home
- grants to save energy
- cutting fuel bills
- reducing CO2 emissions
- paying for fuel
- help with fuel debt
- energy audits
- low energy lighting
- use of appliances and any fuel related issue
You should also make your tenants aware of these issues as it could save them money on fuel bills and tenants are likely to stay longer in a warm comfortable home with low running costs.
For further information and advice on any of the above contact the Energy Saving Trust Advice Centre.
The Landlords Energy Saving Allowance (LESA)
LESA is a tax allowance which lets landlords claim on their tax return against the cost of buying and installing energy saving items. To find out more about LESA, talk to your accountant or tax advisor, or visit www.hmrc.gov.uk
Refuse storage and collection
Refuse containers should be provided in sufficient numbers, both internally and externally to meet the needs of the occupants. Refuse containers located externally should be sited on hard standing surface with suitable access.
The local council will make special collections for bulky items such as old furniture, refrigerators, mattresses etc. Contact your local council office for details about special uplifts.
Gardens and boundaries
Overgrown gardens with rubbish, damaged fences and walls have a detrimental effect on a neighbourhood and are a great cause of concern to local residents.
Try to ensure that gardens are kept tidy particularly during the summer months and that any damaged fencing is repaired or renewed without delay.
Common access ways to the rear or side of a house should also be kept clear of obstructions such as overgrown hedges, leaning fences or accumulations of refuse.
An oil leak in or near your property can be a health risk and pollute the environment. If there is a smell of oil in your home you should immediately contact your local council's Environmental Health Department for advice.
You should advise your tenant of the necessary procedures and contacts in the event of fire or fuel spillage.
A clean tidy house in good repair will rarely experience any major rodent or insect infestation. If problems do occur however, your local council may carry out treatments for pest control.
For further advice and information contact the local district council.
Energy Performance Certificates
Landlords must provide prospective tenants with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) for the property that is being let.
EPCs are valid for 10 years and can be reused as many times as required within this period.
Further information on EPCs and how they can be obtained can be found on the Department of Finance and Personnel website at www.dfpni.gov.uk