What Do Landlords Need to Know About the Green Homes Grant Scheme?
It is not often that private sector landlords get to pick up government grants, but the Green Homes Grant Scheme allows just that. As the UK has now committed itself to a net-zero carbon target by 2050, the race is on to reduce emissions in the home. One of the solutions is to provide grants of up to £5,000 to go towards performing certain improvements that will help in this aim.
To achieve net-zero carbon emissions, the country must remove more carbon from the atmosphere than it pumps into it. This means using less and less carbon until the natural carbon sinks like the sea and forests can take care of it all. In practical terms, the government wants us to use our gas boilers less and look for alternative ways to heat and light our homes. This is where the government Green Homes Grant comes in.
What is the Green Homes Grant Scheme?
The Green Homes Grant scheme is open to residents of England and encourages homeowners and landlords in both the private and social sectors to make energy-efficient improvements to their properties. You can claim vouchers worth up to £5,000 to go towards two-thirds of the cost of the installation.
This might include seeking out a low carbon heating solution, installing double glazing, fitting insulation into the loft and walls, and any other approved modification.
The approved measures are split into primary and secondary categories. To qualify, you must take at least one primary measure.
Primary measures are:
● Insulation: solid wall, cavity wall, underfloor, loft, roof and others.
● Low carbon heat: air source heat pump, ground source heat pump, biomass boiler, and so on.
Once you have your primary measure in place, you can apply for secondary measures. They cannot cost more in total than the primary measures, though.
The secondary measures of the new Green Homes Grant are:
● Windows and doors: draught-proofing, secondary, double or triple glazing to replace single glazing, replacing pre-2002 single glazed or solid doors with energy-efficient doors.
● Heating controls: Thermostats or insulation for hot water tanks, appliance thermostats, smart thermostats and more.
The voucher covers labour, materials and VAT and you must have the work carried out by a TrustMark-registered installer who has joined the government Green Homes Grant scheme. You cannot carry out the work yourself, nor can you employ anyone in your household or close family to do it.
What Landlords Need to Know
You may be aware that there is a low-income support grant too. This is for households receiving certain benefits and pays for 100% of the work, up to £10,000. However, this is not available to landlords.
As the Green Homes Grant 2020 is technically classed as state aid to landlords, you must check you remain within the legal limit. This currently stands at €200,000 over any three-year period. As long as the voucher will not push you beyond that threshold, you can still be eligible for the grant.
Only you can claim the voucher for your property. A tenant is not eligible, but they may look into the types of measures that would fit the property and suggest improvements to you. Of course, you are not bound to comply, but you might consider improving the efficiency of the property whilst the scheme runs. The current end date for the vouchers is the 31st of March 2022.
Why Landlords Should Consider the Government Green Homes Grant
As the government boosts its drive to cut carbon emissions, it is likely they will turn to the minimum Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) ratings for rented properties. Currently, your property must score an E or above to fit in with guidelines, but the minimum rating will surely increase over the next few years. Anything you can do to make your property more efficient could have a positive effect on your EPC rating, and so it makes sense to act whilst there is a decent grant available to pay for most of the work.
If you are interested, the government suggests you check your eligibility before working out which measures will fit your home and applying for the Green Homes Grant 2020.
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