Improving heating systems and insulation standards in private rented properties across the West of England
Project duration: April 2001 to April 2005
The Warmer Lets grant scheme provides money to improve heating systems and insulation standards in privately rented properties in South Gloucestershire, Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset.
The aims and objectives were to:
- To significantly improve the energy efficiency of 1.2% of total private rented stock within South Gloucestershire, Bath and north east Somerset, and 1.6% of student accommodation within Bristol
- To establish successful landlord accreditation schemes linked to energy efficiency
- To build effective partnerships and highlight the importance of energy efficiency issues within student accommodation offices, landlord organisations and local letting agents
The Warmer Lets Project offered grants for energy efficiency measures to all privately rented properties within the Bristol, South Gloucestershire and Bath & North East Somerset council areas. Launched in 2001 following a grant from the Energy Saving Trust, the scheme was extended into its fourth year, with grant money over this period being provided by the three participating local authorities.
CSE was the managing agent and dealt with all grant applications and administration of the grant funds. As part of an application, a landlord needed to complete a Home Energy Check questionnaire and Fitness Check form for the rented property.
Eligible landlords were also encouraged to join the council’s Landlord Accreditation Scheme, where applicable, and must have agreed to rent their property for two years or more following the installation of measures. If the property was deemed suitable, and the schemes terms and conditions were met, then an offer of grant was made for qualifying measures.
The grants generally provided up to 50% of installed costs, up to a specified maximum, for a selection of measures ranging from new condensing boilers to cavity wall insulation. Visits were conducted on a proportion of properties, both pre- and post-installation, in order to verify that the property was suitable and that the installation was to an appropriate standard.
The scheme was regularly publicised in order to stimulate grant applications. Activities include presentations to landlord forums, dissemination of posters/leaflets to letting agents, student accommodation agents, etc. and promotional articles in various publications.
The scheme has now closed, mainly due to changes to building regulations in April 2005, which have made high-efficiency boiler installations mandatory in most cases. During its four years, over £350,000 worth of grants were approved for over £1.2 million worth of installed measures.
Local authorities in the area are now considering the introduction of further private-rented sector energy efficiency grant schemes combined with landlord accreditation schemes.