Property maintenance: Focus on replacing windows
Having good, well-fitted windows in your Buy to Let can improve your property’s value and help ensure it is let legally.
- They help keep your property watertight. This help to meet your legal obligations to maintain a property in a good and safe condition. It can also improve the property’s value
- Newer windows are likely to have more secure locks, helping to reduce insurance costs and meet the need to offer a safe property.
- Improve the property’s energy rating on the EPC. The minimum energy rating is currently ‘E’, however in the future the government would like it to be ‘D’ (2022) and even ‘C’. So, it’s worth considering making the best improvement you can afford now, to ‘future proof’ the property.
Installing energy efficient double or triple-glazed windows also means your tenants will have a home which may mean lower utility bills, less likelihood of condensation and more peaceful. This may mean they are more likely to stay, reducing voids
Some manufacturers show an energy efficiency rating of ‘A++’ to ‘E’, with A suggesting they retain the heat well. This scheme is run by the British Fenestration Rating Council (BFRC) and the minimum acceptable rating to satisfy building regulations is ‘C’.
Costs vary, depending on which type of window you have fitted. The cheapest is UPVC, which can now come in a range of colours and even wood-effect finishes. Prices vary according to quality and locality. Costs could be from £400-£500 for a window of 60cm x 90cm and £525-£750 for a larger 90cm x 120cm window.
As an example, a three-bedroom house with 12 varying in size windows is likely to require between £5,250 and £7,500 investment. Many companies offer a ‘lifetime guarantee’ against decolourisation and the failing of the sealed units, so it should be a one-time-only investment.
Aluminium windows are slimmer and more lightweight than UPVC, so they’re slightly more expensive. Aluminium is naturally longer lasting and will never rust, peel or flake, so they require very little maintenance. But there’s really no need to choose this option over UPVC - unless you’re especially concerned with having the sleekest possible look for the property!
At the top end of the cost spectrum are timber-framed windows, which can be as much as three times the price of UPVC and do need more maintenance, as the wood naturally degrades over time. However, if you look after them, they should stay in good condition for at least 30 years. But unless your buy to let is a listed building, there’s really no need to go for this more expensive option.
One important thing to note is that replacement windows will almost certainly be more airtight than your original frames. That means if there’s not much general ventilation in the house, condensation may build up, despite the better heat control of the glass. To keep condensation to an absolute minimum, particularly in a House in Multiple Occupation, consider installing a ventilation system.
Always use a contractor who is a member of the Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF) as they will have signed up to a consumer code, so they should supply and fit good windows for you.