Properties occupied by tenants on Housing Benefit could be eligible for energy efficiency grants to bring properties up to current standards ahead of the MEES (minimum energy efficiency standards) directive, effective from April this year.
The government is allocating a limited amount of funding for housing associations and private landlords with benefit tenants, where the current EPC rating of the property is E or below.
The grant is allocated to the tenant not the landlord, so successfully obtaining funding in this way would entail a certain amount of cooperation between the landlord and the tenant.
The scheme applies to houses only, not flats. UK energy suppliers will be contracted to carry out improvements, depending on the location and type of property, but the tenant will not need to be an existing customer of the supplier.
The scheme is a part of the Home Heating Cost Reduction Obligation (HHCRO) and the “Affordable Warmth Grant” aimed at dealing with fuel poverty in across the UK.
For example, installing a new A-Rated Boiler can reduce carbon emissions and can save tenants up to £300 per year on fuel bills for heating and hot water, and with good insulation the whole package can save the tenant considerably more.
Potential improvements covered by these grants include:
- Loft insulation
- Cavity-wall insulation
- Hot-water-tank insulation
- Draught proofing
- Gas, electric or oil central heating and hot water
Tenants can apply for the grant if they are receiving any of the following benefits:
- Working Tax Credit – with an income of less than £16,040 and which must include a disability element
- Child Tax Credit – with an income of less than £16,040
- Attendance Allowance
- Disability Living Allowance
- Income Support – which must include a disability premium
- Housing Benefit – which must include a disability premium
- Council Tax Benefit – which must include a disability premium
- War Disablement Pension – which must include mobility supplement or Constant Attendance Allowance
- Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit – which must include Constant Attendance Allowance
Improving efficiency of a property will benefit both the tenant and landlord, so it’s in both their interests to work together to see if they can obtain the funding for this.
If you think your tenant is entitled to receive this grant, you can find out more information on the Warn Front Website – https://www.gov.uk/browse/housing-local-services/landlords
There is limited funding for this and the “Warm Front Scheme” is funded year by year on a set Government budget. The budget is usually taken up quickly because of the high demand, so the money may not always be available. However, it worth a try to get it and if successful landlords and tenants will benefit substantially by reducing the cost of meeting the compulsory MEES standards.