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Opportunities to boost rental yields in light of new energy-efficiency rules

The start of this month brought some significant changes for residential buy-to-let landlords. They will now need to ensure their rental properties have a minimum energy performance certificate (EPC) rating of E before new tenants move in.

It’s vital that landlords are aware of the new rules - particularly because councils will have the power to impose fines of up to £5,000 – and that those who have invested in buy-to-let homes take necessary action if the property’s energy rating is below the required standard.

However, these latest changes leave options open for savvy investors to improve their homes for their tenants, while boosting their rental yields. Some landlords, for example, have bought homes that are less energy-efficient and have worked on them to bring them into line so they meet the new standard EPC rating.

Specialist lenders like ourselves, can provide the finance needed to do this, through short-term loans, and we recently launched a new product to support investors carrying out refurbishments, in response to an increasing demand from investors buying properties in need of light renovations, such as improving their energy efficiency.

Borrowers can take out our specialist refurbishment bridging loan for amounts of between £26,000 and £5 million, with further advances available to cover 100 per cent of the refurbishment cost. Another option may be a second charge loan, which effectively sits behind your “first charge” mortgage, and is one way to release equity that has been built up in a property to be used on improvements. In both cases they can refinance through a traditional buy-to-let mortgage, provided by specialist lenders such as ourselves, once the work is completed.

It is important for landlords or property investors to take financial advice to find out what options will best suit their personal requirements. However, at a time when profits are being squeezed in the buy-to-let sector following tax and regulatory changes, landlords need to ensure they are making the most of their current and future investments – and providing quality upgrades for the right price to energy-inefficient properties can really add value.