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Green Homes Grant Scheme For Landlords

Green Homes Grant Scheme For Landlords

Green Homes Grant Scheme For Landlords

 

Introduction

The recent Green Homes Grant Scheme announced by the Government will come as welcome news to many landlords and property owners.

Forming part of Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Summer Economic Update, the £2bn Green Homes Grant Scheme will be open to private landlords as well as owner occupiers and is expected to benefit over 600,000 households, saving occupants an average of £300 per year.

A further £1 billion will be spent on making public buildings such as schools, hospitals and social housing more efficient. The whole package is expected to create over 100,000 jobs and help towards achieving the UK’s 2050 net-zero carbon target.

 

What can the money be spent on?

The grants can be spent on energy-efficient home improvements such as installing loft, wall and floor insulation, fitting double glazing or green heating upgrades.

How does it work?

From September, homeowners and landlords in England can apply for funding that covers at least two thirds the cost of energy improving works, up to a maximum contribution of £5,000. The scheme is open to anyone who would benefit from eligible energy improvement measures but will only last for 12 months.

This means that for an improvement costing £4,500 a landlord would pay £1,500, while the Government would contribute the remaining £3,000.

Landlords will be able to apply for a Green Homes Grant through the Simple Energy Advice website.  After answering some basic questions about their property, applicants will be recommended eligible energy efficiency measures, along with local accredited suppliers in Dorset. These contractors provide a quote and once the work is approved, a voucher for the Government’s share of the cost will be issued and final payment made on completion of work by the accredited supplier.

Low income households will not have to contribute anything to the cost and could receive vouchers for up to £10,000 of improvement works. However it is not yet clear if the means testing will be based on the occupant’s or landlord’s circumstances.

The government hasn’t said how long it will take for an application to be approved or a voucher issued so we recommend that interested landlords begin the process early on to give them the best chance of meeting the deadline and securing funds.

 

Benefits for landlords

The scheme appears to be a ‘no brainer’ for eligible landlords for the following reasons:

  • Happier Tenants – leading to longer tenancies
  • Higher Rents
  • More Attractive Properties – when the time comes  for your Letting Agent to re-market and find new tenants
  • Greater Capital Values – making it easier to release funds and further expand a Buy-To-Let property portfolio
  • MEES compliance

 

MEES

All of Harker and Bullman’s Fully Managed Landlords are unaffected by the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) regulations preventing the lowest rated ‘F’ and ‘G’ properties from being let. This is because we worked with our clients early on to identify problem EPCs, recommended suitable improvements and appointed appropriate contractors, thereby ensuring all the properties we managed were compliant before the April 2020 deadline.

However, the Green Homes Grant Scheme will still be of benefit to Harker and Bullman’s landlords and will further improve homes making properties more marketable and appealing.

The data communications consultancy Resonance has released the findings of its research on 19 million Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) showing the extent to which the energy-saving improvements are required.

Resonance has revealed that a worrying 45% of homes across the nation are rated as ‘Very poor’ energy categories in one or more of the EPC categories:

  • Very poor wall insulation – 26%
  • Very poor loft insulation – 18%
  • Very poor lighting efficiency – 17%
  • Very poor window glazing – 7%

 

So there is clearly room for improvement! However in our experience the energy performance ratings of homes in Wimborne and East Dorset would show more favourably.

 

Great news for Landlords

Ben Beadle, chief executive of the National Residential Landlords Association, said: “Improving the energy efficiency of rental housing is good news for tenants, landlords and local economies. We encourage all landlords to make use of this as it will mean housing standards are improved, tenants will save money and it will reduce carbon emissions across the whole sector.

His thoughts were echoed by David Cox, chief executive of ARLA Propertymark: “Since the withdrawal of LESA (Landlords Energy Saving Allowance), we’ve been calling for a simple grant scheme to help private homeowners and landlords make their properties more energy efficient. Today’s announcement is a big step forward to ensure that they can take the necessary steps to do this and ultimately create a greener property sector in the UK.”

 

Update 3rd September 2020

Now that the dust has had time to settle, there is more information and clarity surrounding the Green Homes Grant scheme. Details about the exact works Landlords can get financial help with can be found by clicking this link.

Alas and unlike first announced, the scheme does not cover new gas boilers. However, other heat sources like solar thermal energy are covered, as are many types of insulation. Double glazing and heating controls are covered, but only in conjunction with other works.

 

What next?

Landlords and property owners will need to be confident that that they are dealing with properly qualified and reputable contractors, and that all work will be carried out to an acceptable standard. Please therefore contact Ben at Harker & Bullman on 01202 889088 for up-to-date advice and to ensure you are taking the best long term decisions for you and your rented property.

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H&B Office

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