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News: Green Homes Grant farce - landlords may throw in the towel

Mon, 01 Mar 21

A call has gone out for the overhaul of the Green Homes Grant scheme, which so far has left thousands of landlords and owner occupiers without hoped-for funding for energy improvements. 

As part of its Net Zero greenhouse gas target for 2050, the government is proposing to increase the required Energy Performance Certificate for private rented homes from the current E to a C for all new tenancies by April 2025, and for all existing tenancies by 2028.

The Green Homes Grant system was seen as the key provider for this measure for landlords. However, delivery hitches have led to the entire scheme falling into disrepute. 

The Times has been told the scheme has so far issued only 22,165 grants out of a target 600,000 and is likely to end imminently - some time in March, this month.

It was launched in September and Prime Minister Boris Johnson recently pledged to extend it, rather than scrap it, as part of his 10 point plan to tackle climate change. And a survey from the National Residential Landlords Association suggests 43 per cent of landlords are interested in applying for a grant.

However, over the weekend Angus Stewart - chief executive of online buy to let mortgage broker Property Master - has called on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to offer more support to landlords in Wednesday’s Budget. 

"We are very concerned about the noises we are hearing from landlords in respect of the forthcoming changes to the energy efficiency rules and the lack of finance to fund the improvements they will need to make” says Stewart.  

 

“Given that 67 per cent of private rented homes currently fall short of what the government is proposing, the race is on for landlords to find the money and tradespeople to do the necessary work.

“In a recent survey of a sample of our customers only 13 per cent thought the government’s new targets for private rented homes were achievable. Around a third thought the cost to them of meeting the new targets would be between £5,000 and £10,000 per property.  

“We welcomed the setting up by the government of the Green Homes Grant scheme, but funding is capped at £5,000 per property and applying for a grant is difficult and locating an approved tradesperson to do the work is not easy.

“We are asking that in his Budget the Chancellor looks at what more financial help can be made available to help landlords who want to meet the climate change challenge. Otherwise, our fear is that the number of homes for rent could fall as landlords throw in the towel." 

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