News – Green Homes Grant, Right to Rent, Access for gas safety & EICRs

This will be a regular news update for members in order to keep up with changes in legislation and relevant news items for landlords.

Green Homes Grant

If you’re a homeowner or residential landlord you can apply for a Green Homes Grant voucher towards the cost of installing energy efficient improvements to your properties. Improvements could include insulating  to reduce energy use or installing low-carbon heating to lower the amount of carbon dioxide that is produced.

Originally when the scheme was launched there was a six-month time limit to get any work done, but this has since been extended to 31 March 2022. Providing you are eligible, the government will provide two-thirds funding up to £5,000, or up to £10,000 for low-income homes. The homeowner, or landlord, must pay the other third.
This Government web page tells you about the scheme, what work the voucher covers, how to apply and getting the work done.

Changes to Right to Rent process

Government guidance states that private landlords will need to carry out Right to Rent checks in the same way they do at present until June 2021. This includes performing checks on prospective tenants from the EU, EEA and Switzerland. They can still provide their national ID card or passport as proof of their right to rent even though the Brexit transition period has been and gone.

In June 2021, new guidance will be published covering how landlords can perform right to rent checks for  EU citizens. They are required to apply to the Home Office EU Settlement Scheme in order to carry on living and working in the UK now the Brexit transition period and freedom of movement has ended. According to provisional Home Office figures to the end of January, 5,060,600 applications have been received.

Access issues for Gas and Electrical Certificates

If your tenant is not allowing you access to carry out Gas Safety certification, the EICR (Electrical Condition Inspection Report), or any other valid reasons for entry you could find yourself in an awkward situation. While tenants hold the ultimate authority to control access, you do have a right to enter to uphold your responsibilities for repairs and maintenance.

The number one course of action should be to negotiate. Even if the landlord has already tried to talk to the tenant with little success, they should try again and log every conversation/communication. Emails are a great way to establish a digital ‘paper’ trail that could work in the landlord’s favour should matters escalate at a later date.

The landlord should mention the liability for costs to the tenant if the property deteriorates because of the lack of access. They should also inform them that they, the landlord, will no longer be responsible for injury to the tenant, or damage to their property, if it results from lack of access. After all, the landlords hasn’t been able to make the necessary repairs to ensure their safety, and they cannot then be blamed for any problems that may arise because of it.

A letter has been received by our Chairman, Charles Clarke from the Minister for Housing, Eddie Hughes MP. This is a reply to an email sent by the ELA regarding landlords and access to their properties in order to carry out their obligations.  A copy of the letter can be found here