Green Homes Cash for Landlords Scrapped

A green homes scheme offering landlords grants of up to £5,000 to boost energy efficiency buy to let homes has been scrapped. 

The Green Homes Grant was launched in a frenzy of publicity in September but collapsed a year early due to excessive red tape, a lack of installers and little interest from homeowners. 

Ministers have tried to put a brave face on the failure by repackaging the grant by setting aside £300 million for upgrades to social housing and the lowest-paid householders. 

To date, 39,000 vouchers under the scheme from 96,000 applications. The government will pull the plug on applications from landlords at 5 pm on March 31 2021, and applications already in the pipeline will be honoured in full.

Funding shrinks by more than £1 billion

Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “Upgrading the country’s homes with energy efficiency measures means we can cut emissions and save people money on their energy bills. 

“The funding boost will mean even more households across England are able to access these vital grants through their local authority. “

This latest announcement takes our total energy efficiency spending to over £1.3 billion in the next financial year, giving installers the certainty they need to plan ahead, create new jobs and train the next generation of builders, plumbers and tradespeople.” 

Although the funding figures quote big numbers, the total available has shrunk from the £2.5 billion announced by the Chancellor. The £1.3 billion earmarked green improvements only involve £300 million of new money.

The significant change is around 20 million private homes are now mainly eliminated from the program in favour of local authority schemes.

Flagship climate change policy

The Green Homes Grant was the flagship policy of a program aimed at decarbonising 30 million properties across the country to meet commitments to climate change by 2050. 

The scheme had promised landlords in England cash for the retrofit loft and wall insulation, heat pumps, draught-proofing and other energy-saving measures for tenants. Providing one of these improvements was carried out, landlords could claim more money to replace single glazing, fit energy-efficient doors and heating controls. 

The maximum Green Homes Grant was £5,000 for each property in a landlord’s portfolio. One of the problems was that DIY installations were not allowed.

Problems with builders and bookings

Instead, the work had to be carried out by registered installers, hoping to create up to 100,000 jobs. But builders were not attracted to join the scheme and claimed they laid off workers because promised contracts did not materialise, according to a report from a group of MPs sitting on the Environmental Audit select committee in Westminster. 

As a result, homeowners commissioning work could not find an installer. Homeowners also complained of difficulties in booking work and conflicting advice offered by the US company that won the contract to manage the service. 

The committee reckoned the government target of upgrading 600,000 homes under the scheme would take more than a decade as the vouchers are processed at the rate of just 156 a day. 

Green campaigners bemoan axing the Green Home Grant as a severe blow to the government’s green stimulus program and an embarrassing move as London plans to host a crucial United Nations climate change conference later in the year.

E3G campaigns director Ed Matthew said: “The demise of the green homes grant is an embarrassment before the COP26 conference and a disaster in terms of the UK getting on track to net zero carbon emissions. 

“Emissions from buildings and transport have flatlined over the last decade. If we don’t have programmes to tackle this, we have no hope of meeting the net zero target.”



View Related Handbook Page

Energy Efficiency Improvements

A tenant is allowed to reasonably ask for a relevant energy efficiency improvement. From 1 April 2018, all rented property let on assured shorthold tenancies, regulated tenancies under the Rent Act 1977 and four types of agricultural tenancy, which is to have a new tenancy must have an EPC rating of at least "E".