It’s certainly been an interesting few weeks for landlords.
Alongside the Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s announcement that property buyers in England and Northern Ireland would be given a stamp duty ‘holiday’ until March 2021, the head of the Treasury also revealed details of a new Green Homes Grant.
Green home grants: What are they?
The Green Homes Grant scheme was revealed by Rishi Sunak on July 8.
A scheme aimed at improving the energy efficiency of homes across the UK, landlords and homeowners can claim grant vouchers to the value of £10,000 to undertake work that improves the efficiency of their properties.
What is energy efficiency?
Put simply, energy efficiency means using less energy to perform the same task.
That task could be turning on a light, running a fridge freezer or running a boiler.
So, if you’re using an energy efficient light bulb, you’re using less energy compared with a standard bulb, but the end result is the same – the bulb lights up your room.
Energy efficient homes: What home improvements can you make?
A host of energy efficient home improvements are covered under the Green Homes Grant scheme, including:
- Loft insulation
- Floor insulation
- Heat pumps
- Double and triple glazed windows
- Energy efficient doors
How does the Green Homes Grant scheme work?
The Green Homes Grants are available to homeowners and landlords in the form of vouchers that can be used to improve a property’s energy efficiency.
The property owner makes an online application for a voucher to undertake specific work and details are then forwarded to an accredited local supplier.
The scheme is split into two categories, primary and secondary, and you must install at least one measure from the primary category to qualify for the Green Homes Grant vouchers.
The primary category includes:
- Loft, cavity wall and under-floor insulation
- Low carbon heating such as air source heat pumps, ground source heat pumps or solar thermal
Once you have applied for at least one piece of work from the primary category, you will be able to claim a Green Homes Grant for a secondary piece of work, which includes:
- Double or triple glazing
- Energy efficient doors
- Heating controls, such as thermostats and smart heating controls, and insulation
Work from the secondary category can only be claimed up to the value of the subsidy for work under the primary category.
So, if you claim £1,000 for work in the primary category, you can only claim the same amount towards work in the secondary category.
Other rules for the scheme are:
- Homes wishing to install double or triple glazing under the Green Homes Grant scheme must be replacing single glazing
- Those wishing to install an energy efficient door under the scheme must be replacing a door installed prior to 2002
Once your application is approved, the government will issue a voucher to pay for a portion of the work.
How much are the Green Homes Grant vouchers worth?
Green Homes Grants see the government pay for up to two thirds of any energy efficiency home improvements, up to £5,000.
So, if you wanted to replace your property’s single glazing with new, energy efficient double glazing at a cost of £3,000, the government would pay £2,000 and you would pay £1,000.
Lower income households looking to make improvements could be eligible for up to £10,000 in vouchers, with 100% paid by the government.
How to apply for a Green Homes Grant voucher
Applications for Green Homes Grants are expected to open in September and can be made on the Simple Energy Advice website.
To apply, you will need a quote for the work from an accredited supplier.
Should I apply for a grant as a landlord?
If you’re a landlord and your rental property would benefit from some energy efficient home improvements, then you should make use of the Green Homes Grant scheme.
Since April 2018, landlords starting new tenancies must ensure their property carries at least an ‘E’ rating on its Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).
Since April 2020, this Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) legislation applies to all tenancies, with properties rated lower than ‘E’ not legally permitted to be let.
Fines of up to £4,000 can be issued to landlords who breach the regulations.
So, with all that in mind, if your rental property is hovering uncomfortably close to that magic ‘E’ rating, you should consider a Green Homes Grant to boost its energy efficiency.
When does the Green Homes Grant scheme end?
The scheme ends in March 2021, running for six months from September 2020.