Farmers and landowners renting out residential property should start looking at how they can improve energy efficiency as part of the government’s flagship Green Deal, says Strutt & Parker.

The government initiative, which is seeking an 80% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2050, comes into effect on 1 October. As a result, now is the time to take advantage of various energy deals being offered across the country.

“Approximately 25% of carbon emissions come from residential property and energy prices are predicted to rise ahead of inflation over the next 10 years,” said Strutt & Parker land agent Laura Hardy.

“With this in mind, it is really important that homeowners build energy efficiency into a long-term plan and we hope that the Green Deal and other initiatives will help.”

As a starting point and something that should be considered a top priority, look at loft insulation and whether or not the property is capable of having cavity wall insulation, Ms Hardy said.

Many organisations, including the Yorkshire Energy Partnership, run free loft and cavity insulation schemes for homeowners and privately renting residents. It was worth looking into these schemes sooner rather than later as many were only available until autumn.

“Looking into these kind of options now will save time and money later, particularly when you consider that homeowners will not be able to let their properties with an Energy Performance Certificate rating of less than E after 2018,” said Ms Hardy.

“Proactive steps should be taken now to raise the EPC rating or homeowners will face last-minute action to mitigate rental voids come 2018. Acting now will give landlords six years to bring properties up to scratch, spreading both costs and labour.”

It was expected some properties might be exempt from these requirements, including a large number of rural properties where common energy efficiency options failed to bring the property up to standard, she added.

“Rental income from residential and commercial property is the lifeblood of many rural estates and useful additional income for farmers and landowners across the country,” said Ms Hardy.

“With tenants looking to make savings and significant costs involved in implementing energy efficiency measures, there is no doubt that this will have a major impact on rental income in the future.

“It is important for farmers and estate owners to act now and build energy planning into a sensible, affordable long-term strategy.”

Gemma Mackenzie on G+