The Green Homes Grant – a government scheme to improve the energy efficiency of UK property by providing homeowners with vouchers towards environmentally-friendly improvements – is now in motion.

Part of a £3 million investment to cut carbon emissions, the Green Homes Grant is expected to help over 650,000 owner-occupiers and landlords, as well as saving households up to £300 on their annual energy bills. 

It went under the radar as it was announced alongside the headline-grabbing stamp duty holiday in Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s summer economic update in July. However, it’s highly likely to be an important scheme for boosting the energy efficiency of the UK’s housing stock.

As such, here at Key Property Consultants, we outline the potential benefits for landlords and why energy efficiency is now an important consideration for those in the private rented sector.

What are the advantages of the Green Homes Grant?

As of September 30, landlords can apply for up to £5,000 worth of vouchers to make improvements to their home and, in turn, make it more energy efficient.

Vouchers are worth up to two thirds of the overall cost of the work, and you will need to cover the other third yourself. To qualify, you will need to install either a solar thermal system, an air or ground source heat pump, or insulate a solid wall, under-floor, cavity wall or roof.

You must also install one of the following: hot water tank/appliance tank or thermostats/heating controls; double or triple glazing/secondary glazing, when replacing single glazing or energy efficient doors.

As an example, the government pointed to a landlord installing cavity wall and floor insulation worth £4,000 and taking advantage of a Green Homes Grant voucher worth £2,680 – reducing their cost to only £1,320.

Equally, the improvement could slash a tenant’s carbon footprint by up to 700kg per year, saving them around £200 on yearly energy bills. This is the perfect opportunity for landlords trying to attract new renters to your home while also boosting your home’s energy efficiency.

How can you apply for vouchers?

With the Green Homes Grant scheme now live, energy improvement works can begin immediately. 

To benefit from the grant, you must fill out an online application form and get a quote from a government-approved supplier before receiving a voucher towards the cost of the work. Of course, you will have had to check your eligibility first.

You must remember to appoint the services of a local tradesperson who is TrustMark approved or Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) registered.

The Simple Energy Advice (SEA) website has also been launched, further supporting landlords by providing info and advice on which improvements are most suitable for your rental homes.

Beware, though, as some items are not covered by the voucher. These include building a new extension or conversion to your home, insulating a conservatory with no fixed heating and installing a new fossil fuel boiler.

Be sure to only commit to complete work once you have received confirmation that your voucher application has been accepted. You must also ensure the work is scheduled to be completed, and the voucher redeemed subject to its terms and conditions, by March 31 2021.

Why is energy efficiency so important in the PRS?

The Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (also known as MEES) were introduced in April 2018, which legally obliged landlords to provide a rental home with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of E or higher.

This legislation was extended to all privately rented properties in April 1, meaning it is now unlawful to let a property – whether it is a new tenancy, a renewal or an existing one – which breaches the requirement to have a minimum EPC rating of E. 

There has been speculation that the minimum EPC rating for rental properties could rise further to D or C in the near future, making it even more crucial that you are clued up on your property’s energy efficiency.

People have also become more aware of their carbon footprint and environmental impact in recent years, and today’s tenants are more likely to be young, politically engaged and climate conscious. Therefore, an energy efficient home which bolsters their green credentials is likely to be high on their list of priorities.

Other than environmental concerns, though, energy efficient homes tend to have lower energy bills, which will be a major consideration for tenants if bills aren’t included. Landlords who take this matter seriously from the beginning will benefit from a larger pool of would-be tenants who will be willing to stay for the long-term.

At Key Property Consultants, we can provide more help and guidance throughout your lettings journey. For more information, please get in touch with us on 0203 793 2033 or email us at info@keypropertyconsultants.co.uk.

If you wish to see how much rent you could be charging each month, you can also request a free and instant online valuation.

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