The quality of the windows in your Buy to Let impacts your investment in three important ways:
- Good, well-fitted windows help keep your property watertight. Not only does this matter in terms of your legal obligation to maintain your property in a good and safe condition, but it can also have a positive effect on the capital value.
- They are more secure than older windows, particularly as strong frames can support excellent locks.
- They can make a significant difference to the energy rating on the EPC. The minimum energy rating is already ‘E’ for new tenancies, extending to existing tenancies from April next year, and the government would like it to rise to ‘C’ eventually.
So, rather than being tempted to simply ‘patch’ any problems, it’s worth considering the best upgrade you can afford now, in order to ‘future proof’ the property.
What to consider:
Installing energy efficient double or triple-glazed windows also leads to a much more comfortable home for your tenants:
- There are fewer draughts and cold spots
- A lot of external noise is blocked out, so it’s more peaceful
- Condensation build-up on the inside of windows can be greatly reduced.
Some manufacturers show the energy efficiency of their windows (i.e. how well they retain heat), using an energy-rating scale from ‘A++’ to ‘E’, in a scheme run by the British Fenestration Rating Council (BFRC).
The minimum acceptable rating to satisfy building regulations is ‘C’.
In terms of cost, the most reasonably-priced double-glazing is UPVC. And these days, far from being the cheaper-looking white frames, they are now in a range of colours and even have wood-effect finishes. Prices vary, depending on where in the country you are and which floor the window is on (as scaffolding may be required), but UPVC is around £400-£500 for 60cm x 90cm and around £525-£750 for a larger 90cm x 120cm window.
For a three-bedroom house with twelve windows of various sizes, you can expect to pay between £5,250 and £7,500. Look for a ‘lifetime guarantee’ just in case the windows decolourise or the sealed units fail.
Aluminium windows are likely to be more, but they don’t rust, peel or flake, so maintenance is minimal. However, unless you’re especially concerned about the look of the windows, it’s unlikely you’ll need this option.
Depending on your property, you may need or prefer timber-framed windows, but bear in mind these can cost up to three times more than UPVC and they will require additional and regular maintenance too, as the wood naturally degrades over time. If well maintained they could last for around 30 years.
When having windows fitted, always use a contractor who is a member of the Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF). That means they have signed up to a consumer code, so you should receive excellent customer service.