English Housing Survey shows Green Home Grant underfunded

While the energy efficiency of English homes has improved over the last decade, there is more that can be done to help landlords and householders within the private rented sector (PRS) meet energy efficiency targets.

Sustained support for PRS required

The proportion of dwellings in the highest bands of A to C increasing from 12 per cent in 2009 to 40 per cent, according to the annual survey from the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG). However, over two-thirds of homes with lower energy efficiency (D or below) could be brought up to band C for less than £10,000.

The highest costs are predicted to affect owner-occupiers (£8,579) followed closely by dwellings within the private rented sector (£7,646). This is compared to £5,979 for a social rented dwelling or £8,579 for owner-occupiers. However, vouchers made available through the scheme saw a maximum Government contribution of up to £5,000 for most cases. 

Limitations of the Green Home Grant

Additionally, data released by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) revealed that out of 100,000 applicants, there has been only a small number of pay-outs.

Since launching in September 2020, the scheme saw 113,700 applications with 10,300 measures installed and only 6,700 homes receiving money from the scheme. 

In a debate earlier in July 2021, Shadow Minister Alan Whitehead (BEIS) highlighted the UK Government’s need to build an efficiency strategy right through the next decade to ensure that by 2030 band C is the median for all properties to battle fuel poverty, with a special focus on the PRS where higher numbers of band D, E and F properties are concentrated.

Without providing landlords and homeowners with incentives and access to sustained funding, it may be unlikely that energy efficiency targets for the private rented sector and a reduction in emissions across the property sector will be met. Aside from the Green Homes Grant, private landlords have little access to funding other than their own income to make energy efficiency improvements to their properties and under the proposals for all new tenancies to be EPC Band C by 2025.

The latest English Housing Survey confirms that a long term, costed and well-funded plan is desperately needed to encourage households and landlords to make energy efficiency improvements to their properties and meet UK Government targets. 

It also clearly highlights that the Green Homes Grant scheme wasn’t offering enough support based on the proposals to improve property to EPC Band C and any revised or reintroduced scheme must be increased from £5,000 to £10,000 maximum. 

Similarly, it is vital that the UK Government move away from a one-size fits all policy and develop energy efficiency proposals that work with the different age, condition, size and location of properties across the country. This way grants and funding support can be targeted on the architype of a property rather than its tenure.

Timothy Douglas Policy and Campaigns Manager | Propertymark

Green Home Grant extensions

While the scheme closed on 31 March 2021, extension requests for the voucher can be made at any date up to and including 31 July, vouchers will be extended for 90 days or until 31 October 2021, whichever is the soonest. For most vouchers, extension requests may be granted only if work has started on the voucher measure. 

04 Dec 2020
FAQs: Green Homes Grant

The UK Government have introduced a plan to allow homeowners and landlords to apply for vouchers from a £2 billion scheme to help fund the cost of upgrading the energy performance of their homes.