With the Government pledging to raise the minimum EPC rating for privately rented homes from ‘E’ to ‘C’ in 2025, many landlords are going to have to make some improvements to their property to improve its rating.
2025, many landlords are going to have to make some improvements to their property to improve its rating.
If your property currently has single or older secondary glazing, one way to improve the energy rating is to fit modern, double-glazed windows and doors, which if you check with one our agents, may even increase the value of your property.
But where should you be sourcing it and who should you get to carry out the fitting?
How do I find a reputable supplier?
You could simply go to one of the biggest and most recognised glazing specialists, such as Everest or Anglian, or buy from a well-known DIY store, such as B&Q or Wickes. But around 45% of respondents in a recent Which? survey said they used an independent double-glazing firm and if you’re looking to build a portfolio locally, then you may prefer to work with a local company. You may even be able to find a contractor who can source the glazing for you at a trade price.
There are three key checks to make on an independent company:
- Has it been around for at least 10 years? You can search the Companies House website to check how long a company has been in business and see its accounts. Check whether it’s had a change of company name or if any of the directors have links to dissolved or liquidated companies. You want to be as sure as possible that the business is stable and not likely to go bust midway through the job!
- Does it have a good reputation? Ask neighbours and friends who live locally for recommendations and if you’re a member of a landlord association, find out which company other landlords in the area have used. Were they happy with the work, the product and the price?
- Is it on a ‘trusted trader’ register? Two of the best to search are the Which? Trusted Trader register and Checkatrade – you can read customer reviews and have peace of mind that background checks have been carried out on members
What qualifications and memberships should I look for in a contractor or glazing company?
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, its worth ensuring they are a member of the GGF.
The well-known subsidiary of GGF is the Fenestration Self-Assessment Scheme (FENSA). This is a government-authorised scheme that monitors building regulation compliance for replacement windows and doors. By using 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?
Provided you’ve used a FENSA Approved Installer, you’ll get a FENSA certificate once the work has been completed. This proves that your glazing installation complies with Building Regulations and is registered with the local council. It also guarantees the work by insuring the installation company’s warranty.
When you come to sell the property, you’ll need to provide your buyer with this certificate.
Note: Building Regulations have applied to all replacement glazing since 2002, with external windows and doors categorized as a ‘controlled fitting’ that must meet certain standards. And it’s your responsibility to make sure all window and door installations comply with Building Regulations and are registered with the local council. The benefit of using a FENSA installer is that they handle all that for you.
What could happen if I don’t use a FENSA Approved Installer?
There shouldn’t be any reason why a reputable installer wouldn’t be registered with FENSA, but if you did decide to use one that wasn’t:
- 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 may have to pay for the work to be inspected by building control
- You’ll need to have the installer confirm in writing that they’ll rectify any non-compliance issues that come up – at no extra cost to you
- You must ensure the installer has a sufficient level of insurance in case there are any problems
As a landlord, it’s your responsibility to ensure a property remains safe for your tenant, regardless of how any damage was caused. So, whether a window has been cracked or broken through storm damage, vandalism or accidentally by the tenant, you are responsible for having it repaired.
This should be done as soon as possible, as broken windows not only leave the property vulnerable to the elements, but it’s also a serious security risk for the tenant. If you have home emergency cover on your insurance policy (Alex might be worth mentioning/linking if they can get this on your policy), that means both you and your tenant have 24/7 access to approved contractors. That gives you peace of mind that even if a breakage happens in the middle of the night, it can be dealt with right away.
If you’re able to prove that the broken window was the tenant’s fault – or if they freely admit to causing the damage themselves – then you should be able to recoup the cost of repairs. You can either ask the tenant to pay at the time or you may decide to make a deduction from their deposit at the end of the tenancy. In that case, make sure you retain proof of payment in case the tenant challenges the deduction.
If we manage your rental, you can be sure that all the contractors and installers we recommend and engage for glazing work are FENSA approved. And if you have any questions about installing double glazing in your property or would like our advice on what type of product would be most appropriate, just get in touch with your local Reeds Rains branch and one of the team will be delighted to help.