The Green Home Grant may not be all that it seems for landlords as government cash for energy efficient improvements comes with some strings attached.

Thousands of landlords can apply for grant vouchers worth up to £5,000 under the scheme when online applications open in September.

But there are some restrictions.

Green Home Grant will fund up to two thirds of the cost of improvements to an estimated 600,000 qualifying homes in England.

Builders, plumbers and tradesmen can only carry out the work if they have accreditation under the government TrustMark or Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS).

Landlords cannot apply for a grant to cover DIY projects.

Improvements are split into two tiers. To qualify for a second tier improvement, landlords must order a top tier project.

Business and energy secretary Alok Sharma said: “Green home improvements will save people money on their energy bills, help to cut carbon emissions, and create new work for many thousands of builders, plumbers and other tradespeople.

“Our TrustMark scheme will guarantee that building work is completed to a high standard by accredited tradespeople, ensuring consumers are fully protected.”

Green Home Grant projects

Top tier projects involve either upgrading insulation or installing low carbon heating.

This includes:

  • Solid wall, under-floor, cavity wall or roof insulation
  • Low carbon heating, such as air source or ground source heat pumps and installing solar thermal equipment

Once these improvements are agreed and funded, landlords can then pick from a menu of second-tier improvements, which cover:

  • Replacing single glazing with new double or triple glazed windows
  • Adding energy efficient doors – but only when they replace doors installed before 2002
  • Draught proofing
  • Switching thermostats to smart heating controls. These improvements cover thermostats, hot water tank thermostats, hot water tank insulation, smart heating controls, zone controls, delayed start thermostat, thermostatic radiator valves

Homes must have adequate insulation to apply for low carbon heating, but the project can include bringing insulation up to standard.

And there is another catch.

How the Green Home Grant works

Although the headline Green Home Grant up to £10,000 to fund improvements worth £15,000, this money is reserved for the poorest families.

Most landlords will qualify for the lower level maximum grant of £5,000 at most.

For example, if cavity wall and floor insulation is installed costing £3,000, the government grant is £2,000, leaving the landlord to pay £1,000.

But that would leave grant funding of £2,000 to spend pound-for-pound on second-tier improvements to match the outlay on top-tier projects.

Top-up projects are allowed, but grants will not cover replacing current installations.

The total Green Homes Grant fund is set at £2 billion by Chancellor Rishi Sunak – with £500 million earmarked for energy efficiency improvements for the poorest families.

Find out if you qualify

Landlords can find advice on the Green Home Grant funding that may be available for their home improvements through the Simple Energy Advice Service (SEA).

Local councils will manage the money for the poorest households under the Green Home Grant Local Authority Delivery Scheme.

Buy to let landlords cannot apply for Green Home Grant projects under the low-income scheme.

Aims of the Green Home Grant scheme

The government hopes the Green Home Grant will kickstart job creation and lead to homes meeting targets to make homes in England carbon neutral by 2050.

Green Home Grants and EPC ratings

The Green Home Grant will have a bearing on Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) for buy to let and other private rented homes.

Since April, landlords are barred from letting out homes with an EPC rating below E.

From 2025, the minimum rating is expected to rise to d and from 2030 to C or higher.

Find out more about EPC ratings

Finding a TrustMark trader

TrustMark is a quality assurance scheme endorsed by the government offering homeowners access to a database of businesses meeting a high standard of technical competence, customer service and good trading practices.

The aim is listed tradespeople are vetted and overseen by TrustMark, so homeowners have confidence in employing them.

Find out more on the TrustMark web site

Finding a Microgeneration Certification Scheme business

The MCS scheme operates in the same way as TrustMark but cover specialist firms involved in low carbon technologies.

Find out more on the MCS web site

Green Home Grant FAQ

The Green Home Grant is currently a last chance saloon for landlords wanting financial help to carry out energy efficiency improvements to private rented homes.

Clearly, the government is serious about reducing the environmental impact of homes and is willing to pay to ensure stringent targets are reached by 2050.

How long is the Green Home Grant open?

So far, the government has left the end date open-ended, but landlords should consider applying for grant vouchers sooner rather than later to reduce the risk of missing out on the cash.

When do applications open?

Online applications are due to open before the end of September 2020 although scoping work for improvements can start through the Simple Energy Advice Service before the end of August 2020.

Find out more on the SEA web site

How much can landlords claim?

Landlords can pick up Green Home Grant funding to cover the cost of two-thirds of energy efficiency improvements to a maximum £5,000.

Why can’t DIY or own builder jobs qualify for grants?

The scheme only allows accredited builders and installers to carry out Green Home Grant work for two reasons:

  1. Using accredited builders should guarantee a minimum standard of work and customer service
  2. Opening the scheme to any installer increase the risk of fraud and poor workmanship

Is the grant per landlord or per property?

The Green Home Grant is tagged to a property, not a landlord, so claims are available to £5,000 for each rental home