A LandlordZONE reader has spoken of his frustration at the protracted application process for a Green Homes Grant voucher which resulted in him missing the deadline to get work done.

If follows criticism of the government’s handling of the scheme by spending watchdog the National Audit Office, which says it was delivered to an over-ambitious timetable and was not executed to an acceptable standard.

The scheme handed out grants to use approved tradespeople to make energy efficient improvements but has now closed.

Max, who does not want to give his full name, is a landlord with 20 properties in Cornwall. He was eager to use the scheme as he hoped to fit an air source heat pump in a three-bedroom semi-detached house in a village without gas where it has to use electric storage heaters.

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While Max has already forked out for solar panels and cavity wall insulation, the house is still only in EPC band D.

After getting quotations last November, he put in an application for the £5,000 grant before the 31st March deadline.

Problematic

But the process was immediately problematic, he tells LandlordZONE.

“They asked for proof of ID but then couldn’t verify it, they wouldn’t use a credit card bill to check my address, and then lost the information I sent. I repeatedly had to appeal to reopen the application.”

The scheme then asked him for a detailed breakdown of costs and wanted the contractor to provide more information who, by this time, had told Max that he couldn’t meet the November installation deadline.

“It left me no time to find another contractor,” he says. “If the scheme had looked at the whole application and listed all the information they wanted, it could have resolved the issues before running out of time. I must have spent days trying to sort it out.”

Max is now unsure whether he will bother applying to any replacement scheme and is considering offloading a number of other properties that won’t reach EPC band C.

Read more: Handling of Green Homes Grant voucher scheme slammed by watchdog

5 COMMENTS

  1. Max may have had a lucky escape – the Heat Pump would probably not have increased his EPC rating anyway and he would probably have been left with a property with an ineffective heating system that still wouldn’t be legal to rent out in 2025 if the MEES legislation goes through unchanged.

  2. I’d advise Max to instal new electric storage heaters, they are now far more efficient and can be linked to a control system to make them much more efficient.

  3. I can verify both Tricia’s EPC comments and Max’s experience with the GHG scheme.
    I have just had an air source heat pump installed under this scheme in my mother’s 1960’s 2 bed detached bungalow which is fully double glazed with cavity wall insulation and an oil boiler, with a 7 year old EPC rating of D57.
    After the installation, an updated EPC was carried out (just to comply with MCS registration requirements of an EPC less then 2 years old) and I was shocked to find that the rating had been REDUCED to E53! The heating system was assessed only as ‘average’ in EPC terms, even though the unit has very sophisticated controls and every radiator has TRV’s. So this certainly does not seem to be a viable solution to meeting the proposed MEES rental requirements. I have been told by the installer that they have seen some EPC’s which rate the system as ‘good’, but I’m not sure if this is really the case as they are obviously slightly biased. I’d be very interested to hear any one else’s comments /experience on this.
    The application process was pretty tortuous and my application was also rejected numerous times because of various identity verification requirements, which kept changing depending on who you spoke to. The individuals all tried to be quite helpful but it seemed they were interpreting the rules slightly differently.
    I’m just pleased that in this instance we didn’t have to contribute anything towards the cost, which in total was £9,300 for the units/installation, using all existing radiators (co-incidentally just below the full grant of £10,000….).
    But if I had done this as a landlord replacing storage heaters or gas, and had to contribute over £5000 (with the £5000 max grant) PLUS new radiators, and found the result was a reduced EPC rating, I would feel very cheated. If this is not a viable solution to the MEES problem / banning of gas boilers, then it begs the question: what is??

  4. Two strands to reply

    We missed the deadline to upgrade insulation a loft conversion in rested house from 1980’90’s but a few minutes- delay after delay and then a dead website result no grant

    And re epc on same estate in n devon epc rating from h to a on very same dwelling types in odd grid gas area that make a mockery of the assessments pv panels on roof and heat pumps assessed differently

    Strap line – nothing works –

  5. Oh should have added I worked as a trainer of energy assessors in 2009-10 applicants who thought it was a route to riches – in the end they get maybe £30 a survey and no way unlimited work to earn that promised £300 a day . So wary are assessments a guess – the quality of epc is worse than Terrible with my 8 properties they can vary from b to f yes on identical properties. What is the answer – guide surveyor through property – they came miss things – if it a poor result order another epc hoping he she doesn’t look at last one – it’s a joke . A joke on us

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