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How to improve the energy-efficiency of your property for free or at a discount

Find out about ways to fund improvements to your property, including with the Energy Company Obligation scheme.

Improving the energy efficiency of your property today could improve its value in the long run. We know you might not be able to afford the costs, but did you know you could get free or discounted improvements from the government or your tenants’ energy supplier?

These schemes could change, so keep checking regularly, or visit the listed websites for the latest information.

Take a look at the ways you or your tenant can get help with your property.

Energy Company Obligation Scheme (ECO)

Support for: Tenants

The Energy Company Obligation scheme launched in 2013 and is designed to help low-income and vulnerable households make their homes more energy efficient. As a landlord, you can encourage eligible tenants to apply for the grant if they want to.

It works through the various energy suppliers, who are now obliged to reduce the cost of heating homes. They work with their customers to find out what's needed to improve the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of every home. The energy company can then offer to do the work that's needed.

If your tenants' energy company is signed up to the ECO scheme, they could get free wall and loft insulation, and money off a replacement gas boiler, so they can benefit from lower energy bills going forward.

They'll probably qualify for the ECO scheme as long as:

  • They privately rent their home and it has an EPC rating of E to G.
  • They qualify for Universal Credit, Tax Credits, Child Benefits, or another UK benefit allowance.

Each ECO scheme runs for a fixed time period. Applications for the ECO3 scheme closed in March 2022, while ECO4 is set to run from 2022 until 2026.

Under the scheme, your tenants' energy supplier might offer to carry out the work for free or ask for a contribution towards it. You don't have to go ahead with the work if you feel the contribution is too high.

Your tenants can use Ofgem's supplier contact details to check if their supplier is part of the ECO scheme and get in touch with them.

The ECO scheme is available in England, Wales and Scotland.

The Great British Insulation Scheme

Support for: Landlords and tenants

This can give you free or cheaper insulation to help reduce your property's energy bills. This includes insulation, such as cavity wall and loft insulation.

Your property needs to have an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of D-G and be Council Tax band A-D in England and A-E in Scotland or Wales. The scheme isn't currently available in Northern Ireland.

For the latest information, including the eligibility criteria, visit Apply for support from the Great British Insulation Scheme - GOV.UK.

Boiler Upgrade Scheme (BUS)

Support for: Landlords

Are you a property owner in England or Wales? If so, you can apply for a grant to install low carbon heating systems, such as heat pumps.

The scheme is open from 2022 to 2028, and you could get:

  • £7,500 off the cost and installation of an air source heat pump
  • £7,500 off the cost and installation of a ground source heat pump
  • £5,000 off the cost and installation of a biomass boiler.

Installing a heat pump can reduce your property's carbon footprint, but it could also lower your Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating. This is because EPC ratings are worked out based on running costs as well as energy-efficiency, and electricity currently has a higher unit price than gas.

For the latest information, including the eligibility criteria, visit Apply for the Boiler Upgrade Scheme: Overview - GOV.UK.

Smart Export Guarantee (SEG)

Support for: Landlords and tenants

If you have, or are looking to install, renewable energy measures in your property, you could be eligible for the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG). This is where the SEG pays customers for any excess renewable electricity their property generates that isn't used.

The electricity can be produced by the following renewable technologies:

  • Solar panels (photovoltaic, or PV for short).
  • Wind.
  • Hydro micro combined heat and power.
  • Anaerobic digestion.

If the property has a smart meter, you could help your tenants apply for a Smart Export Guarantee tariff. You can also claim this for yourself without impacting your tenants' electricity contract. It means you'd be paid for any electricity generated by your solar panels that's not used. You might need to set up an additional agreement with your tenant. Speak to your energy supplier for more information.

Smart Export Guarantee tariffs are available in England, Scotland or Wales. They're not available in Northern Ireland.

Find the latest information and sign up to SEG.

Warmer Homes Scotland

Support for: Tenants

If your tenant has lived in your property for at least six months and someone in the household gets certain benefits, they may be eligible for the Warmer Homes Scotland Scheme. Your property must also have a poor energy rating, a floor area of 230 metres square, and a council tax band of A-F.

Visit Warmer Homes Scotland to check the eligibility criteria and for more details of the scheme.

Private Rented Sector Landlord Loan

Support for: Landlords

Government funding is available for registered private landlords to improve the energy-efficiency and heating systems of their properties, up to the value of £15,000 per property. Visit Private Rented Sector Landlord Loan to find out if you're eligible and how you can apply.

The Private Rented Sector Landlord Loan is only available in Scotland.

Nest Scheme Wales

Support for: Tenants

Nest provides free advice on saving energy, money management, energy tariffs, and benefit entitlement.

Their aim is to make Welsh homes warmer and more energy-efficient.

If your private tenant or someone in their household receives means-tested benefits, they could be eligible for free home improvements.

Find out more about Nest.

Affordable Warmth Scheme Northern Ireland

Support for: Tenants

Your tenant could get up to £7,500 to cover the costs of insulation, double-glazed windows, and heating updates from the Affordable Warmth Scheme in Northern Ireland.

They could be eligible if they:

  • Live in Northern Ireland.
  • Have a total annual gross income of less than £23,000.

As well as the above, as a private landlord, you must also:

  • Agree to the energy efficiency measures being carried out.
  • Be registered with the Department for Communities' Landlord Registration Scheme.
  • Pay 50% of the total cost of the energy efficiency measures to improve your property.

See the latest information and criteria Affordable Warmth Scheme.

Try our Landlord Retrofit Tool

Our Landlord Retrofit Tool is great for working out just how green your property is and shows how a few changes could make it more energy-efficient.

Landlord Retrofit Tool

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