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Finding the right person to...fit new windows in your rental property

Posted 24/05/2022 by Your Move
Categories: Landlords, Lettings
Person holding toddler looking out of the window

Does your rental property currently have single glazing or older secondary glazing? If so, you may need to upgrade it in the next few years, given that the Government is considering raising the minimum EPC rating for privately rented homes from ‘E’ to ‘C’ in 2025.  

One way to improve energy efficiency in properties is to fit modern, double-glazed windows and doors. But who should you get to supply and fit them – and what else do you need to know about new glazing installations?

How do I find a reputable supplier?

There are three main routes you can go here:

  1. Choose one of the biggest and most recognised glazing specialists, such as Everest or Anglian
     
  2. Buy from a well-known DIY store, such as B&Q or Wickes
     
  3. Use an independent, local double-glazing firm

In a survey carried out by Which? in 2021, around 45% of respondents said they used an independent double-glazing firm. And if you’re a landlord who’s looking to build a portfolio locally, then you may prefer to work with a local company – and you might even find a contractor who’s willing to source the glazing for you at a trade price.   

If you do decide to work with an independent glazing company, there are three key questions to ask:

1. Has it been around for at least 10 years?

You need to be as sure as possible that whoever you choose has a stable business is stable and isn’t likely to go bust midway through the job!

  • Search the Companies House website to check how long the company has been in business
  • Check that its accounts are up to date and have been filed on time

  • Check whether it’s had a change of company name or if any of the directors have links to dissolved or liquidated companies – in which case, it may be best to steer clear

2. Does it have a good reputation?

  • Ask neighbours and friends who live locally for recommendations - were they happy with the work, the product and the price?
  • If you’re a member of a landlord association, find out which companies other landlords in the area have used

3. Is it on a 'trusted trader' register?

Two of the best to search are the Which? Trusted Trader register and Checkatrade. It gives you peace of mind that background checks have been carried out on members and you can read customer reviews.

What qualifications and memberships should I look for?

The main representative organisation for the industry is the Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF). So, whether you’re looking for a company or a contractor, they should be a member of the GGF.

Then the Fenestration Self-Assessment Scheme (FENSA) is a government-authorised scheme that monitors building regulation compliance for replacement windows and doors – this is a subsidiary of the GGF. If you use a FENSA Approved Installer, you can be confident that they’re regularly assessed to make sure standards are maintained.

What certification or guarantee should I have for the work?

As long as you use a FENSA Approved Installer, you’ll get a FENSA certificate once the work has been completed. This guarantees three things:

  1. Your glazing installation complies with Building Regulations
     
  2. The installation is registered with the local council
     
  3. The installation company’s warranty is guaranteed by FENSA

When you come to sell the property, you’ll need to provide your buyer with this certificate.

Note: It’s your responsibility to make sure all window and door installations comply with Building Regulations and are registered with the local council. (Building Regulations have applied to all replacement glazing since 2002, with external windows and doors categorised as a ‘controlled fitting’ that must meet certain standards.) One big benefit of using a FENSA installer is that they handle all that for you.

What if I don’t use a FENSA Approved Installer?

The reality is that any reputable installer should be registered with FENSA – there’s really no reason for them not to be. However, if they’re not:

  • There’s no guarantee the work will comply with Building Regulations
  • Not all installers will register the installation with the council
  • If the installer doesn’t offer a building regulations compliance certificate, you’ll have to pay for the work to be inspected by building control
  • You should ask the installer to confirm - in writing - that they’ll rectify any non-compliance issues that come up, at no extra cost to you
  • You’ll have to check that the installer has a sufficient level of insurance in case there are any problems

Whose responsibility is it to fix broken windows in a rented property – landlord or tenant?

Regardless of how the damage was caused, it’s your responsibility as the landlord to make sure the property remains safe for your tenant.

So, whether a window’s been cracked or broken through storm damage, vandalism or even accidentally by the tenant, you’re responsible for having it repaired. This should be done as soon as possible, as broken windows leave the property vulnerable to the elements and are a serious security risk for the tenant.

If you have home emergency cover on your insurance policy, that gives both you and your tenant 24/7 access to approved contractors. So, even if a window gets broken in the middle of the night, it can be dealt with right away.

If the tenant admits to breaking the window or you can prove that it was their fault, you should be able to recoup the cost of repairs form them. You can either ask the tenant to pay at the time or make a deduction from their deposit at the end of the tenancy. If you do want to deduct the cost from the deposit, make sure you retain proof of payment in case the tenant challenges it.

If you’ve got any questions about installing double glazing or you’d like our advice on what type of product would be most appropriate for your rental property, just get in touch with your local Your Move branch and chat to one of the team.

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