Getting behind the Green Deal

This week the NLA published a survey showing an emphatic waning of interest in the Government’s Green Deal scheme. Only 37% of landlords say they will definitely sign up or will seriously consider doing so, while 43% say they will not sign up. Meanwhile the latest figures also reveal that despite 71,210 assessments, only 12 homes have gone Green Deal ‘live’ (i.e. their improvements have been completed and the loan is being repaid through the electricity bills). These are worrying figures for what should be an attractive scheme. And let’s not forget another recent report: that of the UN’s climate panel, who are now 95% certain that humans are the dominant cause of global warming. The Green Deal is a good idea that has been allowed to stagnate. Rentify believe the Government can and must take measures to reverse this.

Firstly, communication could be improved. Despite spending over £16 million on administration and marketing, many people are still in the dark over the details of the Green Deal (10% of landlords say they do not understand the scheme at all). For example, many landlords do not know they can get cashback on energy efficiency improvements without signing up to the ‘full’ deal. Also, the Green Deal’s ‘Golden Rule’ states that repayments through the electricity bills must not be more than the savings from the work and so bills, in theory, should not go up. Still, 56% of landlords say they doubt whether their tenants would agree to the loan. This may be because they are not aware of the Golden Rule or it may be because the Golden Rule does not represent a guarantee. It’s based on typical energy usage and doesn’t account for future energy rises, so bills could increase. Although Rentify believe the benefits (both financial and for the environment) strongly outweigh the potential risk, this does rather sum up the general confusion.

As well as greater clarity in their marketing campaign, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) can improve the sign-up rate with stronger incentives. It is currently entertaining proposals aimed at increasing the appeal of the scheme but the specifics of these are not far-reaching enough. If they really want to increase uptake they will need bold moves such as variable Stamp Duty for properties reaching a certain standard or reduced Council Tax for those that perform well. The Government has allowed this disillusionment to grow through a lack of clarity and slow implementation and they bear the responsibility for changing this. Still, Rentify urge you not to give up on the Green Deal yet!

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