New scheme provides insulation grants for let properties
Landlords may be able to benefit from a new government scheme designed to support people to add loft or cavity wall insulation to their homes.
The Great British Insulation Scheme, which will run from summer 2023 to March 2026, will provide a 90%-funded insulation upgrade for residential properties in council tax bands A-D in England, or A-E in Scotland and Wales, with EPC ratings of D or below.
A new Energy Company Obligation has legislated for participating energy companies to facilitate and fund these upgrades.
Applications for the grants can be made through the websites of each of the energy companies.
There are two groups of households that will be eligible for support – a low-income group, and a ‘general’ group, to which income status does not apply.
What does this mean for landlords?
Rented properties can be eligible but there are additional terms and conditions:
- Only properties in EPC bands D and E will be eligible, with F and G properties excluded, other than where they are exempt from the MEES regulations in England and Wales. This will ensure that in-scope landlords in England and Wales do improve homes to an EPC band E up to a spend cap of £3,500, as required.
- Households in England and Wales in EPC bands F and G will only be eligible if either of the following two conditions apply:
- if the property has registered a valid exemption, or
- if the property is not in scope of the PRS regulations because it is not legally required to have an EPC or it is not let on one of the relevant tenancy types (shorthold assured or regulated tenancy, or on certain types of domestic agricultural tenancies).
- Although MEES regulations do not apply in Scotland, privately rented households in EPC bands F and G in Scotland are excluded to ensure consistency with England and Wales.
- Any eligible PRS household that falls into the low-income group will be able to receive any insulation measure available under the scheme. This goes further than ECO4, where PRS households and/or their landlords need to invest into a high-cost measure before they can get loft or cavity wall insulation.
More information on the Great British Insulation Scheme
Since it began in 2013, the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) has delivered around 3.5 million measures in around 2.4 million properties. To date, around 9% of households in Great Britain have had an ECO measure installed. The current iteration, ECO4, is expected to deliver energy efficiency measures to an estimated 450,000 low-income and vulnerable households and the Great British Insulation Scheme is expected to help a further 300,000 of the country’s least efficient homes.
The Great British Insulation Scheme, which replaces ECO+, is different to ECO4 in that the income status of the owner or occupier does not impact eligibility. The energy companies have compiled a list of Trustmark approved who, following the household’s application, will call the applicant for EPC and council tax band details before visiting, assessing the property, and making insulation recommendations that best impact EPC ratings. They would then arrange a further visit for installation.
Alexander MacFarlane, Head of Building Consultancy for Strutt & Parker, urges the usual caution when agreeing to works, and recommends checking you understand fully the proposed activity the contractor recommends, particularly if you have a period property.
“Appointing an experienced property professional can help ensure recommended measures will have a genuine beneficial impact on both energy efficiency, and a reduction in heat loss without a material impact on the fabric of the property,” he says.
Due consideration should always be given to the property’s original construction and methodology to ensure any improvements made in good faith don’t have unintended consequences in subsequent months/years.
For our Building Consultancy team, impartiality means that they act in the client’s best interests at all times and are happy to have those ‘difficult conversations’ with any consultant or contractor when necessary. They are also able to make comment against statutory matters/consents to ensure all parties are protected.
You can check a property’s council tax band.
You can check a property’s EPC rating.
You can read more about the scheme.