With the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) coming into play last year, it's now more important than ever to ensure the insulation and heating of your rental property is up to scratch. One key way you can do this is to ensure your loft's conversion meets these standards.
Here are some tips for landlords who may need to review their property's energy efficiency.
As a landlord, you'll always be looking for ways to add value and get the most for your rental property, and one popular way of doing so is to add a loft conversion. According to research by Nationwide Building Society, these home developments can add over 20% to your property's total value, so it's no surprise that landlords across the UK are implementing them.
But, with up to 25% of heat being lost through the roof in an uninsulated home, your loft conversion could land you in trouble, especially now Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) have been implemented to regulate property's energy perform. Here, I will be sharing my top tips for ensuring your rental's loft conversion meets MEES.
Make sure you understand MEES
Before you begin making any changes, it's important to understand why MEES is important for the private rented sector. From 1st April 2019, it became a legal requirement for landlords of homes deemed too cold in both England and Wales to pay up to £3,500 (including VAT) to improve the insulation and heating in their properties before they are occupied. This is the case whether you're looking at renewing a current tenancy or you've got new prospective tenants interested and applies to all homes that are rated below "E" on their Energy Performance Certificate.
The MEES regulations have actually been in force since 2018 for bottom banded homes (those graded F and G), but the minimum investment amount was only specified this year. And, with these regulations set to tighten over the next year or so, it's important that you begin works on improving your home's energy efficiency now, so you don't miss out on earning an income from your property.
Insulate your loft to prevent heat escape
Converting your rental property loft into additional space can be an exciting project, especially when you get creative with it. But, as lofts are notorious for suffering temperature dips due to ineffective heating and poor insulation, it's important that you pay particular attention to your conversion to ensure you're adhering to MEES.
Prior to the construction process, you should work with your contractor to find out what type of insulation will be best for your space. Not only will this be kinder to the environment and make it cheaper to run and therefore more desirable to tenants, but it'll help you to meet the requirements of MEES. This could include having insulation fitted between and over the rafters (the sloping timbers on the roof) or having insulation foam sprayed between them.
Install additional heating measures
While insulation is a great foundation for trapping in the heat that rises in your rental home, for your loft conversion to be a liveable space for your tenants, you may need to incorporate additional heating measures.
Just like any other room in your rental home, your loft will benefit from using your existing central heating system to warm it. Adding radiators into the space is a good way of doing this, but you need to be aware that some systems may need to be upgraded to cope with the additional output.
If you've opted for non-carpeted flooring in your loft conversion, you might also want to consider underfloor heating to ensure your loft conversion meets MEES. This works by getting copper pipes put under your floors which pump warm water around and can spread heat through the room. This is a particularly good option if you're working with a small loft space where radiators may take up too much room. While most underfloor heating systems will need to be supplied from the boiler, you can also get some that won't need to be. These are electric mats which can be laid, covered and plugged in.
Use energy efficient window glazing
To make it a liveable space, there will need to be enough natural light, and you can achieve this by adding windows. There are many different options you can choose, but many homeowners and landlords opt for roof windows as they sit effortlessly on the slope of your roof and generally don't require planning permission.
All windows are given a letter rating according to their overall thermal efficiency, air leakage and solar gain, with A++ and A+ being top of the pile. But, as well as thinking about the grade, it'll also be important that you think of the thickness of your glazing. I'd advise going with triple or quadruple glazing. These are the most efficient for insulating breezy lofts as they are specifically designed to offer heat insulation and feature a high-grade glass to lock it in.
Ensuring your loft conversion meets the new standards is incredibly important, so take my top four tips on board to keep it well insulated and heated for your tenants.
David Knight at Roof Windows 4 You.
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