In July, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, announced his plans to rescue the UK economy as we moved out of the COVID-19 lockdown. One of the initiatives, the Green Homes Grant, will give property owners up to £5,000 to make environmentally-friendly improvements to our homes. Jeni Browne explains how it'll work and what work is eligible for the vouchers.
The Government have set aside £2billion to help homeowners and landlords in England improve the energy efficiency of their properties, in turn creating thousands of jobs in the insulation and double glazing industries.
UPDATED - August 2020: The Government have now released how you can access the scheme and given more details on what work is eligible.
How does the Green Homes Grant work?
A seemingly new and (hopefully) improved version of the coalition government's 2013 'Green Deal', the Green Homes Grant offers you up to £5,000 to cover two-thirds of the cost of making environmentally friendly improvements to your property. For lower-income households, the Government will cover the full cost of work up to £10,000.
What types of improvements will the Green Homes Grant include?
The Government has now released a full list of the improvements which are covered by the Green Homes Grant. Despite the initial announcement, the scheme is not as simple as it initially seemed.
To qualify for the scheme, you need to install at least one 'primary' improvement.
- Insulation, including solid wall, cavity wall, underfloor, loft or roof insulation.
- Low carbon heating, such as air-source or ground-source heat pumps, or solar thermal systems, which provide renewable ways of heating your home.
Those of you who have these measures already installed in your property, you can apply to use the vouchers to install 'top-ups.' For example, you can use the scheme to pay towards the installation of additional roof insulation, so it meets the required level. (But you can't replace what's already there!)
If you are installing low carbon heating, the Government also requires you to have adequate insulation in the property - although this can be installed at the same time as the new heating system.
Only those installing at least one Primary Improvement will be able to use the scheme for one of the following Secondary Improvements:
- Double or triple glazing, or secondary glazing, but only if you currently have single glazing – it won't cover replacement double glazing.
- Energy-efficient doors, where you're replacing doors installed before 2002.
- Heating controls and insulation, including appliance thermostats, hot water tank thermostats, hot water tank insulation, smart heating controls, zone controls, delayed-start thermostats and thermostatic radiator valves.
It is crucial to note that you will only receive funding for Secondary Improvements up to the level of funding you've received for the primary measures. For example, if you received £800 roof insulation, you could only receive a maximum of £800 towards any of the Secondary Measures listed above.
Who can get Green Home Grant vouchers?
The Government confirmed in August that every owner-occupier property is eligible (including long-leaseholders, park homes and shared ownership properties), along with landlords of private rented and social domestic housing. New build properties and non-residential properties (commercial) do not qualify for the scheme. What defines a new build property is yet to be outlined.
To be eligible for the 'higher' level of funding (of up to £10,000), you must receive at least one income-based or disability benefit. Only owner-occupied homes or park homes will be eligible - not landlords.
The scheme is only eligible for properties in England and, unfortunately, not for properties in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.
How the Green Home Grant benefits landlords
It appears that vouchers will be available per property, so for landlords, this is likely to be an incredibly beneficial scheme. In April of this year, the minimum Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of 'E' or higher became a requirement to deem a property 'rentable'. In the longer term, the Government intends to increase this to an EPC rating of 'C' by 2030. If you are yet to bring your buy to let properties up to the required EPC level or want to improve energy efficiency further, this will be a very cost-effective way of doing so.
How do I access the scheme?
To access the scheme, you will need to contact the Simple Energy Advice service (SEA) [https://www.simpleenergyadvice.org.uk/] to get advice and support on how to make energy improvements to your property. SEA will provide a list of suggested improvements, from which you can then apply for the Green Homes Grant.
The SEA will also provide you with a list of approved tradespeople who can accept the vouchers.
We expect the service to start towards the end of August, with the vouchers being issued from September onwards.
Find Refurbishment Funding Today
If the recent Government announcements have ignited or altered your property investment plans, do not hesitate to contact our expert consultants who can offer advice and help you find the right property finance! Call 0345 345 6788 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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