Landlord boiler grants
Everything you need to know about Landlord boiler Grants
Ensuring that your rental properties provide your tenant with a warm home and a reliable source of hot water can be an expensive process particularly if you have older properties.
Previously the UK government required the energy companies to provide free boiler grants to enable the replacement of older boilers.
Eligibility was based on the applicant being a private tenant of rented property and who was receiving income-related benefits.
How successful was the grant for free boilers?
The scheme was hugely successful with over 60,000 happy customers receiving free boiler grants. They in turn avoided the misery of a chilly home during the cold winter once they had their free boiler replacement, not to mention the opportunity to save money on fuel bills.
Considering that the average cost of a new boiler starts at around £2,300, it’s no surprise it was a popular scheme!
All good things come to an end
Unfortunately, that part of the ECO scheme (energy company obligation) no longer provides free replacement boiler grants to landlords.
Funding to qualify for a free boiler or assistance towards its cost is now limited to homeowners rather than to someone who is a private tenant.
The homeowners do though still need to meet benefits related criteria through being in receipt of income support such as child tax credits or guaranteed pension credit.
So, with this in mind, we’re going to provide a quick overview of what the scheme used to offer tenants of rented properties. Then we’ll look at the grants currently available to provide help reduce carbon emissions, improve energy efficiency and lower energy bills.
What is the ECO scheme?
ECO stands for the Energy Companies Obligation and this government scheme was launched in March 2013. The aim of ECO is to help make energy-saving measures affordable for householders and so reduce fuel poverty.
Every major UK energy company in the UK is obligated by the Government’s ECO scheme which includes energy suppliers Scottish Power and British Gas.
They are required to provide funding for installations, such as a new gas boiler, that both cut carbon emission levels and reduce consumer fuel bills.
What improvements can be made under the scheme?
The scheme includes the opportunity for improvements to be made in the following areas:
- Replacement of an inefficient boiler with a new A-rated boiler
- Installation of a central heating system
- Cavity wall insulation
- Roof insulation
ECO has one primary obligation and that’s the Home Heating Cost Reduction Obligation (HHCRO). Funding for the free boiler scheme is then part of this obligation
Phases of the ECO scheme
The scheme began in April 2013, but since that date, it has gone through several amendments. The latest version, ECO3, was launched in December 2018. Unfortunately, this version is only open to homeowners rather than landlords.
What did ECO previously offer tenants?
Private tenants in the UK, excluding Northern Ireland, used to be able to claim a free First Time Boiler Grant under the Government’s ECO3 Scheme as long as they were claiming qualifying benefits to supplement the household income.
This meant that the applicant was the tenant who lived in privately rented accommodation rather than the landlord, though their permission was required to fit any type of boiler in the property.
The income-related benefits which provided eligibility included:
- Attendance allowance
- Carer’s allowance
- Child benefit or child tax credit
- Disability living allowance (DLA)
- Income-related employment and support allowance (ESA)
- Income support
- Universal credit, War Pensions Mobility Allowance
- Working tax credits
Who was not eligible for a boiler grant?
Tenants in the following types of properties did not qualify for a free boiler grant:
- Council-owned properties
- Housing association homes
- Local authority run housing
Additional conditions that applied to private tenants
To qualify for the free grant, the rental property also needed to have adequate loft insulation and cavity wall insulation, assuming it had cavity walls. Without these in place, the benefits of a new energy-efficient boiler would be lost because of the lack of insulation.
What did the free boiler grant cover?
The grant for tenants enabled enough funds to be awarded that a brand new central heating system could be installed. This included including a central heating boiler along with radiators, then the associated pipework and a control panel.
What did the free boiler grant not cover?
The grant didn’t cover the cost associated with connecting a gas supply to a home where that wasn’t already in place. This didn’t exclude an application for a new boiler grant but the gas supply needed to be in place first.
What free boiler grant does ECO now provide?
Now in its third iteration, ECO3 is the main scheme for supporting energy efficiency improvements in households that have either a low income or are classed as vulnerable.
The help provided may include an insulation grant and heating improvements, such as a new boiler, but both will make the house more energy-efficient and so reduce heating bills.
Who can benefit from ECO3?
You could qualify for a boiler grant through the latest version of the governments ECO scheme if the following criteria are met:
- Claiming a qualifying benefit for low-income households such as working tax credits, child tax credits and pension credit
- Your home must be on the mains gas supply
- The current boiler must be at least 5 years old for a replacement to be considered
- You must be the homeowner
If you’re a homeowner on benefits and your old boiler is broken then it can be replaced with a new boiler as long as it’s not giving any heat demand.
What type of energy improvements can I get financial help with as a landlord?
There are a number of different improvements that the energy company could offer in order to meet the ECO targets. However, in reality, most energy companies tend to focus on offering cavity wall insulation and loft insulation.
You could qualify for help with replacing older heating systems with energy-efficient boilers.
Can landlords get improvements for free?
Depending on what’s being applied for, you may get the improvement for free. However, the energy company may also advise you that there is a partial cost that you’ll need top cover. There is no payment required for the assessment of your current boiler and home efficiency levels which is undertaken by a local company.
If you’re asked to pay more than you can afford then you can decide not to go ahead with the improvements.
How do I get a free boiler as a landlord?
It’s important to remember that ECO is not a grant issued by the government. This is an obligation that was placed on the largest energy suppliers, by the government, to help households install energy improvements including the replacement of an old boiler.
This means that it’s important not to go ahead and order a new boiler and then try to reclaim the money spent; that’s not possible with this scheme.
To find out if your circumstances meet the criteria, you can check here on the Simply Energy Advice website.
What boiler grants are now available for tenants?
Although it may seem as if the Government grant schemes have now left tenants behind that’s not entirely true. This is because there is still what’s called the Affordable Warmth Obligation and that’s part of ECO.
Affordable warmth obligation
This grant provides help to replace or repair your boiler, along with other improvements that can result in homer energy savings.
Eligibility isn’t always straightforward to work out but the criteria is likely to be:
- You live in private housing either your own home or rent from a private landlord
- You have your landlord’s permission if renting.
- You receive a benefit such as Universal Credit, Disability Living Allowance or Child Benefit
- Or you live in social housing whose energy performance certificate shows a rating of E, F or G. To find this out check the energy performance certificate register.
The full list of eligibility can be found on the Affordable Warmth Obligation site.
The energy-efficient boiler for landlords
Are you now wondering your gas boiler is energy efficient or if you should see if you might be eligible for grant funding? As we mentioned earlier, the ECO scheme has resulted in over 60,000 happy customers who managed to get a free boiler or other energy-saving modifications to their homes.
But, even if you’re not eligible for one of the grants for free boilers, you might still make a substantial saving on energy bills by installing a new boiler.
That’s because the modern boiler can reach efficiency levels of over 95%. That means that very little of the fuel used by the boiler to provide the hot water is lost during the heating process. and that in turn means a lower energy bill.
So while free boilers are very nice (and don’t we all like something that’s free!) replacement boilers can still offer money savings that could actually cover the cost of the installation over their lifetime.
That’s not to mention the reduced impact on the environment.
Are you a landlord and looking to replace a boiler?
If you’re now coming to the realisation that you need a new boiler, there’s a nice and easy way of getting a personalised new boiler quote.
All you need to do is enter some basic information on your hot water and heating requirements and our database will present a range of the best combi boiler, system and regular options that are a perfect fit for your needs. And the best thing is that boiler installation could be the very next working day!