A blog by Francis Ogilvy
In the aftermath of a grim Autumn Statement and public sector strikes, here are two pieces of good news!
- Chalmers & Co is offering a free rental property appraisal for let or under-used properties to help landowners increase their property returns.
- The new Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) means that you could be paid for generating energy, rather than the other way round!
The rural sector is fairing arguably better than most – but this seems to go in cycles. It therefore seems sensible to make hay whilst the sun shines.
Free rental property appraisal
You can read a case study on a recent cottage renovation and extension project. Chalmers & Co re-let the property just 2 weeks after the modernisation was completed; the rent and capital values more than doubled – not a bad investment! We are offering a free rental property appraisal because we believe there are better returns to be made on rural properties than many realise.
• compare current rental and capital value valuations with those that could be achieved with a bit of work
• sketch design options for improvements with budget costs, through our architects department.
Improvements could range from a upgrading kitchen, bathroom or heating installation, to a reorganisation of the internal layout and even an extension. Where possible, grants for insulation and external landscaping works would be included in the project.
The Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) arrives!
The Renewable Heat Incentive is intended to ‘revolutionise the way heat is generated and used’. It has also been described as the biggest revolution in the forestry sector since the chainsaw. Certainly it is a massive opportunity for rural businesses, farmers and domestic landlords – not only to save on heating bills but also to get paid for every kilowatt hour of heat generated. It is the heating equivalent of the Feed-In Tariff (FIT), and recent experience would suggest that there is significant merit in getting in early with an application.
The RHI is currently open only to non-domestic users as they are deemed to consume the most heat. We will be applying for the RHI for our own office which is heated by a wood pellet boiler. Chalmers & Co will also be applying for the RHI for clients who have biomass boilers with district heating schemes (serving more than one user per boiler).
Could it work for you?
- Can you get either a tanker of wood pellets or a trailer of wood chips to a nearby fuel store, preferably existing?
- Do you heat more than one house?
- Do you have a supply of timber?
If you answer is ‘yes’ to even only one of these questions, it is certainly worth pursuing to investigate the benefits of 20 years of receiving payments for heat consumed using a renewable source in the face of escalating energy pricing for fossil fuels.
A stick to catch out landlords: do your properties only achieve Band E for their Energy Performance Certificate?
Various grants have been on offer for energy efficiency measures for several years – the latest offer is anticipated through the Green Deal. All these offers are worth considering because a “stick” is out there to catch landlords whose let properties do not meet energy efficiency standards in the future. The most likely measure is the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).
Already mooted in the Energy Bill is a proposal that by 2018 residential properties will only be able to be legally let if they achieve an EPC of Band E or above. In our experience of doing EPCs, nearly half of our clients’ properties have ratings of Band E, F or G so would be outside this standard.
Making the changes is worth planning for now as in most instances, they will not be straightforward – or cheap! If you are clever, however, the recently launched Renewable Heat Incentive (detailed above) will provide the best form of pay-back – better even than the enhanced rental that comes with greater energy efficiency.
Why use Chalmers & Co?
Chalmers & Co is one of the only local chartered surveying practices with three professional departments which work together to bring you all-round property advice:
- Lettings & Estate Agency: Having been East Lothian’s premier lettings management company for the last 30 years, we have a wealth of knowledge in the rental market. We understand the market and the features that best appeal to prospective tenants.
- Architectural Services: Now with an established architectural team, we have considerable experience in finding creative property solutions to draw out character and value. Our daily work includes obtaining the necessary consents and getting the right builder at the right price.
- Property Management & Consultancy: Our rural land management team is responsible for the estate management of some 10,000 acres across the Lothians and is immersed in our rural community. Asset management is our business, ensuring the long term viability of our clients’ properties.
For renewable energy advice generally, we have teamed up with a professional consultancy who advise on renewable energy across the board. They seem the best around for offering independent and practical advice at a sensible cost, covering wind, hydro, biomass and solar energy solutions.
All three in-house teams will contribute to the FREE report offered to ensure you get the right professional advice with no obligation to take any further action. If you would like to take us up on this offer, please do call or send us an email.