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Green Building Bible, Fourth Edition
Green Building Bible, fourth edition (both books)
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  1.  
    https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/tenants-energy-efficiency-improvements-provisions-guidance-for-domestic-landlords-and-tenants

    "private rented sector tenants can request consent from their landlord to install energy efficiency improvements in the property they rent, and the landlord cannot unreasonably refuse consent. These new rights take effect from April 2016"

    Have any of the GBF landlords seen this happen in practice? I'm living in a rented house in between projects and there are a few improvements I want to make.

    Following a previous thread http://www.greenbuildingforum.co.uk/newforum/comments.php?DiscussionID=15730 , I'm understanding that landlords will be reluctant to let tenants do diy, there was talk of a "section 21 eviction asap"!

    My landlord is hands-off via a lettings agency, who I expect not to be enthusiastic about me reducing my energy consumption.
    • CommentAuthorsam_cat
    • CommentTimeMay 18th 2018
     
    As i said in the other thread, talk to your landlord before you do anything. They may be happy for you to spend your money improving the fabric of the property so long as its done right/well OR its put back to 'standard' before handing it back.
    The landlord will want to know if you are materially changing the property, and not communicating before making these sorts of changes will come across very poorly!

    If a T (tenant) approached me the LL (landlord) suggesting some improvements to the property, they were prepared to PAY for someone to do it properly and I agreed that it was a good idea then they would get permission in writing. The changes, as they are attached to the house, become the landlords property and the landlords liability to fix if they cause issues (even during your tenancy)


    [quote]16. An energy efficiency improvement can be included in a tenant’s request where it is either:
     the installation of pipes to enable a connection to the gas grid4
    , or
     an energy efficiency measure which appears on the full list of energy efficiency improvements in the Green
    Deal (Qualifying Energy Improvements) Order 2012, as set out in Annex B of this guidance.[/quote]

    So it allows you to:
    * Get a connection to the gas grid (fine by me, properties already have gas connection so non issue
    * Apply for an energy efficient measure which appears on the full list of improvement in the green deal list (Annex B)

    The green deal is defunct, but the full list from Annex B:

    (a) air source heat pumps;
    (b) biomass boilers;
    (c) biomass room heaters (with radiators);
    (d) cavity wall insulation;
    (e) chillers;
    (f) cylinder thermostats;
    (g) draught proofing;
    (h) duct insulation;
    (i) gas-fired condensing boilers;
    (j) ground source heat pumps;
    (k) hot water showers;
    (l) hot water systems;
    (m) hot water taps;
    (n) external wall insulation systems;
    (o) fan-assisted storage heaters;
    (p) flue gas heat recovery devices;
    (q) heating controls for wet central heating systems or warm air systems;
    (r) heating ventilation and air-conditioning controls (including zoning controls);
    (s) high performance external doors;
    (t) hot water controls (including timers and temperature controls);
    (u) hot water cylinder insulation;
    (v) internal wall insulation systems (for external walls);
    (w) lighting systems, fittings and controls (including rooflights, lamps and luminaires);
    (x) loft or rafter insulation (including loft hatch insulation);
    (y) mechanical ventilation with heat recovery systems;
    (z) micro combined heat and power;
    (aa) micro wind generation;
    (bb) oil-fired condensing boilers;
    (cc) photovoltaics;
    (dd) pipework insulation;
    (ee) radiant heating;
    (ff) replacement glazing;
    (gg) roof insulation;
    (hh) room in roof insulation;
    (ii) sealing improvements (including duct sealing);
    (jj) secondary glazing;
    (kk) solar blinds, shutters and shading devices;
    (ll) solar water heating;
    (mm) transpired solar collectors;
    (nn) under-floor heating;
    (oo) under-floor insulation;
    (pp) variable speed drives for fans and pumps;
    (qq) warm-air units;
    (rr) waste water heat recovery devices attached to showers;
    (ss) water source heat pumps.


    So one of the above would be allowed.

    Seems pretty clear cut, you would pay for an improvement to someone else's property... This is probably why you dont hear about it.
    • CommentAuthorsam_cat
    • CommentTimeMay 18th 2018
     
    But for eg, my existing tenants (good, clean, pay on time, quick to communicate) got in touch, they wanted to change the carpet in the hall/stairs/landing as its a nightmare to keep clean (cream), I agreed and offered to pay (as after the end of their tenancy I would have replaced, its quite old and always a pain to keep clean), they refused and paid for it all, nice carpet installed. They are very happy, I am very happy. Job done!

    Figure out what you want, talk to your landlord/agent.

    If you are moving into your own place in the not too distant future, save your money and spend it on your own place.
  2.  
    Cheers Sam, point taken on the comms, although I can see the lettings agency becoming a barrier there, there's nothing in this for them.

    I'm planning to install the insulation myself, same as I have on my previous renovations. There is no provision in these rules for the LL to specify who should install it, or even what standard it is done to... fortunately I have experience and an incentive to do a tidy job, as I will have to live in it. The LL doesn't even seem to get to agree on whether it's a good idea or not - if it's on that list and the T wants to do it, then the LL has to give consent.

    To be honest I don't think the LL will benefit from the property being more energy efficient, it doesn't seem to increase the market rent or resale value. The T (me) will benefit from energy savings and more comfort ... otherwise I wouldn't bother doing it :-).

    This is probably why the rental housing stock hasn't improved much on energy efficiency, none of the parties involved feel an incentive to do long term improvements.
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeMay 18th 2018
     
    Green Deal has been sold off, is being revived as private sector thing, tho at even higher interest rate than what killed the original.
    • CommentAuthorsam_cat
    • CommentTimeMay 18th 2018
     
    Yeah, nowt in it for landlord. The properties we let as a family all have solar, lots (nearly 2 ft) of loft insulation, cavity wall insulation, good double glazing and good UPVC doors, LED lights, modern gas boiler, TRV's on radiators etc.
    EPC is a low B in 1, mid to high C in the others so pretty good for 70s build.

    Explain/mention it to every potential tenant, perhaps 1 in 20 is mildly interested but it doesnt sway their decision in my experience. Only question was 'Do I have to do anything extra with the solar panels'. Nope, I take a meter reading at the quarterly inspection, thats it.

    Pretty much every outgoing tenant has mentioned how low the bills seemed... Funny that!
    • CommentAuthorCWatters
    • CommentTimeMay 19th 2018 edited
     
    Our tenant omitted to tell us that the solar PV inverter had tripped out during a bad thunder storm. Several months later I'm wondering why the meter read she sent was nowhere near what I expected.

    Oh and yes she still had the remote meter on the window sill right above the kitchen sink where she couldn't fail to notice it.
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeMay 19th 2018
     
    Posted By: CWattersOh and yes she still had the remote meter on the window sill right above the kitchen sink where she couldn't fail to notice it.

    Sounds like she was too stupid to notice that it was also reducing her bills.
    • CommentAuthormarsaday
    • CommentTimeMay 20th 2018
     
    I would be happy for tenants to do the work so long as they talk me through what they want to do.

    The agent is a different issue and a stumbling block.

    You have the legal right to request the correspondence address for the landlord. This is usually given out in the tenancy. You can then write to the LL and explain what you are doing and if all is ok to go ahead. You might find it is received positively.

    I have upgraded properties because i have found material changes to the insulation do have an effect on the tenant. They will stay longer in a home with proper insulation. When i started out some of the terraces were not insulated in the loft bedroom. So they were cold. I have over the years upgraded to kingspan screwed though and boarded over. This has made a positive difference and i did all the work myself so the cost was low. Possibly £300 per house.
  3.  
    Sounds like she was too stupid


    I think that sums up the problem. Landlords assume tenants are too stupid to be allowed to do any improvements to the property. Tenants assume landlords are too stupid to want or deserve to have their property improved.

    Nobody trusts each other and so it's stalemate. The tenant won't look after the property (or help the LL to claim the FITs) despite the obvious self interest.

    My neighbours are long term tenants, theyre highly educated technology types so certainly not stupid, but the system has infantalised them to the point they won't do the most basic home maintenance as that's the landlords business. I had to dig them out of the snow.

    I don't understand why the trust is lacking, the landlord has the safeguards of the deposit and the reference, the tenant has the safeguard of occupancy.
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeMay 20th 2018
     
    Posted By: WillInAberdeenthe tenant has the safeguard of occupancy.

    I think most tenants view occupancy as a threat rather than a safeguard. Certainly that's how I viewed it whilst we were renting. Equally, I didn't plan on doing any maintenance I wasn't contractually obliged to, why should I?

    Personally, I've never considered becoming a landlord - it's always seemed more grief than I want - although my sister-in-law is a landlord.
    • CommentAuthorArtiglio
    • CommentTimeMay 21st 2018
     
    In general tenants are blissfully unaware of energy use in other term than how much they’ve just put on the meter. For most £20 of gas is just a number, comprehension of how long that lasts in summer as against depths of winter is non existent.
    I’ve a 1950’s excouncil flat, with cavity wall insulation , double glazing , but the heating is via a 30 year old back boiler, however it has weather compensation that works.
    I can give the same instructions on how to get best out of the heating to all the tenants, over the 20 years i’ve had the flat, 8 lots of tenants, half wax lyrical as to cheap it is to run, the others complain it costs too much, but when asked the latter have no idea how much they’ve spent on gas over the time they’ve been there.
    Wether on that flat or the others, if there’s a complaint of problems keeping warm , first check are the hinges on upvc windows, invariably one or more is worn and window is not sealing properly, put this right and generally problem solved.
    In 25 years of letting (adding up to around 160years of accomodation) i’ve never had a tenant ask to do work, ( i would’nt let them , but if the request were reasonable i’d get it done.)
    Been asked a few times to change a boiler, always ask tenant to tell me how much gas they’ve used over their tenancy, never have i had anything back.
    In my properties ( all are high c / low d epc’s) big bills are due to tenant behaviour , I currently have a family that likes their thermostat at 25 degrees, the flat is sweltering and bills must be horrendous, tenants above think its great.
    • CommentAuthorgravelld
    • CommentTimeMay 22nd 2018
     
    Posted By: CWattersOur tenant omitted to tell us that the solar PV inverter had tripped out during a bad thunder storm. Several months later I'm wondering why the meter read she sent was nowhere near what I expected.

    Oh and yes she still had the remote meter on the window sill right above the kitchen sink where she couldn't fail to notice it.
    It's a shame for her and her bills, but I don't see how this isn't your problem - you sold a product and it didn't work.
    • CommentAuthorringi
    • CommentTimeMay 23rd 2018
     
    As a landlord, if any tenant gives me a problem by using such a "right", I always have my right to issue a S21.....

    Other then loft insulation, I would use the S21 process if any tenant tried to make me allow an improvement, due to it being VERY hard to let a property where they is an additional charge on the electric to cover the green deal loan.

    But if a tenant asked me in a nice way, and convinced me they could get all the work done at no cost to me, or the next tenant, I would consider what they said.....
  4.  
    Seriously Ringi, you should read the law about 'retaliatory eviction'. We were well down the path of renting a different place, but a brief web search revealed the landlord had tried a stunt like that and had ended up in court and in the local papers. Needless to say we pulled out before signing the lease, and it looks like his place is still sitting vacant, so we can't have been the only ones to check. If he's ruined his name as a landlord then hopefully he'll have to sell up to someone more sensible.
    • CommentAuthorCWatters
    • CommentTimeMay 24th 2018 edited
     
    Posted By: gravelldIt's a shame for her and her bills, but I don't see how this isn't your problem - you sold a product and it didn't work.


    You didn't see the lightening :-) If it hadn't tripped I'd have been tempted to tell her to switch it off.
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