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Insulate yourself against possible fines

By Eamonn Hogan on 25/08/2014 with comments

The revamped Green Deal scheme was rolled out recently to what is hoped will be a far more enthusiastic take up than its predecessor. It was predicted that 10,000 property owners would embrace the energy-saving initiative by the end of 2013. That forecast turned out to be spectacularly wrong and after 13 months just 1,754 people had signed up.

The new scheme does seem to be much simpler and more generous. A key difference is that some of the approved works qualify for grants – in other words, you don't have to pay anything back – although many remain accessible only through a Green Deal loan. Property owners who install energy-saving measures within the first 12 months will be able to claim grants of up to £1,500. A £1,000 cashback will be available to anyone if they choose any combination of two improvements from a list of 'approved measures'.

Landlords would be well advised to investigate the new Green Deal scheme since new laws that will take effect in 2018 will make it an offence to let out properties with very low or poor F and G energy efficiency ratings.

As from April 2016 tenants will be able to demand that their landlord makes improvements to the property's insulation and the law will be such that a landlord will be unable to refuse any 'reasonable' requests to carry out work to implement energy efficiency measures made by tenants.

That’s a significant issue for landlords as figures from the English Housing Survey suggest that 11.4% of properties in the private rented sector are rated F or G thanks principally to a lack of basic insulation. Only 38% of privately rented properties have cavity wall insulation (where it is feasible) and more than 12% of homes in the private rented sector have no double glazing.

The government is consulting on whether properties with an F or G rating can continue to be let until the end of an existing tenancy beyond the deadline date. Landlords of older private rental properties in particular ought to start thinking about energy efficiency measures that can be put in place before their tenants demand that they take that action.

Since the new Green Deal is going to be serviced on a first come first served basis, now is the time to start making enquiries!