Private landlords might be able to rise above their competitors by applying basic energy-efficiency improvements to their properties, research has suggested.

A survey by Halifax Estate Agents found that two in five homes in England and Wales fall into band D when rated under the energy performance certificate (EPC) scheme.

Some 44 per cent of properties fell into this band, with few homes occupying the top rungs in terms of energy performance, the study found.

It added that 58 per cent of homes could potentially be increased to a band C rating, if their owners invest in basic energy-saving solutions.

"Better loft and cavity insulation would raise the energy efficiency rating of a home, commented Martin Ellis, chief economist at Halifax Estate Agents.

The study took place between October 2007 and September 2008, before all landlords were legally required - from October - to present an EPC before tenancy agreements were signed.

Under the Landlords Energy Saving Allowance, private landlords can claim tax-back on the cost of energy-efficiency improvements worth up to £1,500 per property.ADNFCR-2002-ID-18989471-ADNFCR

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