The ultimate guide to renting out listed buildings21-09-2023 | Other
Listed buildings in England carry an air of prestige. Why so? Well, buildings are only granted special ‘protected listed building’ status if they are deemed as having unique architectural or historic interest. The National Heritage List for England (NHLE) is the official register of nationally protected historic buildings and sites in England. and its records are always kept up to date.
Living in a historic listed building in 2023 appeals to certain types of tenants in England. Therefore, landlords of such properties shouldn’t be short of people wanting to pay good money to rent there.
In our ultimate guide, we at CIA Landlord Insurance go into more detail about renting out listed buildings and why you need landlord insurance for listed buildings.
What is a listed building?
There are around 400,00 registered listed buildings in England. But what exactly is a listed building and how are they defined? A listed building is regarded to have national importance and be worthy of protection. The key decision maker when it comes to adding a building to the list of registered entries is the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport, who also has the power to remove or amend a listing.
The 3 Grades of Listed Buildings in England:
- Grade I – of exceptional national, architectural or historical significance, e.g. Buckingham Palace in London
- Grade II*- buildings of special national interest
- Grade II – buildings of special architectural or historical significance (the majority of listed buildings in England)
A landlord with a listing building in England is most likely to be a Grade II. In fact, 91.7% of all listed buildings are in this class. If you think your property might be listed but you’re not sure, check the National Heritage List. If you do find that your property is listed, what does this mean in terms of restrictions and legislation?
Which areas have the most listed buildings?
The breathtakingly stunning towns and countryside of England are filled to the brim with quirky listed buildings. So, where should be top of your list when searching for the perfect listed building to rent?
- London (19,379 listed buildings)
- Devon (19,206 listed buildings)
- Kent (17,347 listed buildings)
- Essex (14,014 listed buildings)
- Suffolk (13,455 listed buildings)
- Gloucestershire (12,988 listed buildings)
- Cornwall (12,627 listed buildings)
- Wiltshire (12,325 listed buildings)
- Oxfordshire (12,215 listed buildings)
- Somerset (11,760 listed buildings)
Interestingly, the majority of listed buildings in England are located in the south of the country. Many popular holiday destinations including London, Devon and Gloucestershire feature on the top 10 list. This proves that some of the most desirable locations in England are filled with listed buildings. This means that property prices are likely to set you back a fair few pennies.
What should a landlord know when renting a listed building?
Renting out a listed building can be a profitable business – but it’s not quite as straightforward as unlisted residential properties. Here are a few of the key factors that you should be aware of when renting a listed building…
What restrictions are there on a listed building?
Owning a listed property means there will be additional control over the changes you are allowed to make to both the interior and exterior of the building. Sure, you may own the property. But there will be controls in place that restrict you from doing certain things.
For instance, if you want to carry out an extension that will have an impact on the character or appearance of the property, you must first apply for listed building consent from your local planning authority. Of course, all listed buildings are different. What you can and can’t do will be different for each. Nevertheless, the rules applied to listed buildings are relatively strict, and it’s better for landlords to air on the side of caution.
What property maintenance is required on a listed building?
Some listed buildings date back as far as the 1400s. Inevitably, landlords of homes in buildings that date back as far as this will have a fair amount on their plate when it comes to taking adequate care of home maintenance and repairs.
Landlords renting listed buildings to tenants must do their bit to stay on top of maintaining the indoor and outdoor space of their historic properties to ensure they don’t end up falling into disrepair and becoming a bottomless pit of money. Nobody wants to take on the hassle of paying their hard-earned cash to rent a property with a leaky roof or other significant repair and maintenance concerns that can’t be fixed, regardless of the heritage and amazing history that a building may have behind it.
Rental tenants can grow impatient if they feel a landlord is failing to uphold their share of the bargain. Therefore, it’s in your best interests to do all you can to get maintenance and repair issues sorted as swiftly as possible. Demonstrate to them that you genuinely care.
It is crucial for landlords to prioritise the health and safety of the tenants living in their properties. Never lose sight of your legal obligations and responsibilities as a landlord, including repairing:
- Structural issues
- Sanitary fittings (baths, sinks etc)
- Heating & hot water systems
- Damage caused by failed repair jobs
Repair and preservation grants
If you are a landlord with a listed building, you may be able to apply for repair and preservation grants from Historic England. Historic England is a public body sponsored by the UK government’s Department of Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport that champions taking excellent care of England’s historic environment.
Through Historic England, landlords renting out homes in listed buildings can apply for grants to go towards helping with the repair, conservation, and improved future management of their properties. Covering the repairs of homes in listed buildings can be an expensive business, so it’s most certainly worth a shot to try and see if you can get a grant if possible.
Do listed buildings have higher energy costs?
During the cost of living crisis, covering the energy costs to heat homes has become increasingly difficult. Older properties and listed buildings, however, often cost more to heat and run than other types of property. Whether your tenants pay for their own bills or whether it’s included in their rent price, it’s important to maximise the energy efficiency in these properties to help trim down those bills and reduce usage.
But what are the best ways to do this? For starters, you could switch to LED light bulbs over halogen, incandescent, and CFL bulbs. You could also explore using solar-powered energy solutions to help heat your home and as a power source for cooking and using your electronic devices. Solar power is also a considerably cost-effective alternative to go for.
Older properties tend to struggle to retain heat. This can be pretty unpleasant for your tenants come winter. In fact, an average of 9,700 deaths each year are caused by living in a cold house. Whilst this is an absolute worst-case scenario, it reinforces that insulating a listed property is nothing to take lightly. As a landlord, it is your responsibility to provide your tenants with somewhere safe and comfortable to live. So, what can you do to help?
To insulate a property, you could consider:
- Investing in thick curtains and carpets
- Installing double glazing if possible or draught-proof the windows
- Getting the boiler serviced regularly
- Bleeding the radiators regularly
Listed building landlord insurance
All landlords require reliable building insurance to help cover them financially in the event of any damage to their property. Having a robust comprehensive building insurance policy is especially important for landlords of properties in listed buildings. Repairs and maintenance can cost exorbitant prices. Plus, you may need to be mindful of using certain materials that might not be as readily available, along with ensuring that any repairs and changes won’t alter the original aesthetics of the building too much.
So, what does listed building insurance actually cover? Listed building insurance for your buy-to-let property will cover you for:
- Accidental damage
- Property Owner’s Liability
- Loss of rent
- Theft damage (depending on the policy)
Natural disasters such as flooding, severe storms, wildfires, and more.
It’s much better to be safe than sorry to protect your listed building property. Do your best as a landlord to find an appropriate listed building insurance policy for you. After all, climate change is giving us more unpredictable weather events than ever! Speak to us here at CIA and we’ll find you the perfect listed property insurance. We also offer a price guarantee, so we’ll beat any like-for-like quote. Just be aware that we cannot insure Grade I listed buildings.
Why rent out a listed building?
Sure, renting out a listed building might result in a little more care and attention from you as a landlord, but these special properties can be a real joy to own. Here are just a few of the benefits of renting out a listed building.
Listed buildings can often be found in some of England’s most desirable locations that serve as a real throwback to our past rich English history. There is a reason why the rental market is always so active in England, and why so many people travel from all corners of the globe to set up a new life here. It’s a nation with a great quality of life and some real gems in terms of beauty and fun sites to visit.
Regardless of the state of the economy, recessions, the cost of living and so on, rental properties in certain historic destinations in England will pretty much always be in demand and appealing to renters. After all, the term location, location, location is used on a daily basis in the property sector for a good reason! Listed buildings in England are notorious for being spell-binding and picturesque, so imagine the pull of living in one of them for rental tenants.
Worried about the consequences of tenants not taking proper care of your rental property? Renting a listed building may present an exciting opportunity to attract older and more settled tenants who you’ll most likely be able to rely on to respect the space.
Of course, the best way to find reliable tenants is to follow the correct tenant screening process. This is important whatever the type of property that you are renting out, but especially with a listed property that requires a little more care and attention. Screening your tenants provides the foundations of a long, happy and stable tenancy, so ensure that you take the time to find the right people to reside in your property.
Plus, with a listed building that offers something unique, you may be able to charge a little more rent.
Less red tape is required
Everyone knows that being a landlord can come with a long line of red tape and there are many legal obligations to meet certain requirements and provide certain certificates. And whilst there can be restrictions and controls to adhere to when you own a listed building, there are some rules that you can avoid.
For instance, In regular circumstances, landlords absolutely must provide EPC certificates for their rental properties. However, landlords aren’t required to provide EPC certificates for listed buildings as per the Energy Performance of Buildings Regulations 2012 for England and Wales. If compliance with certain minimum energy performance requirements would unacceptably alter the character or appearance of a property, then it is not necessary.
Being a landlord of a property in a listing building can come with a number of challenges. Fixing repairs and carrying out general maintenance for a building that’s extremely old can feel like a struggle at times. The worry of entrusting a special property to tenants that you probably don’t know can feel daunting.
However, there are also many pros to being a landlord of a property in a listed building. Being responsible for keeping a little slice of England’s heritage going is a great honour, and offering someone else the opportunity to enjoy your property is incredibly rewarding.
Don’t leave difficult situations to chance when renting out a listed building. Compare listed building insurance with CIA and make sure your property has suitable cover to ensure your success as a landlord. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01788 818 670 to find out more.
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