Help For Social Housing Landlords

Social Housing Landlords

English housing associations spent a combined £5.4bn on repairs and maintenance in 2020-21, according to Inside Housing’s annual analysis of their financial accounts.

The number of social landlords being stung with enforcement action for the same repair jobs on the same properties is on the rise due to labour shortages and supply chain issues, lawyers have said. These challenges mean that landlords are not getting outstanding repairs done in agreed timescales, leading to tenant solicitors issuing additional enforcement actions for these jobs because the associations have breached the terms of settlements.

Not only are repairs to housing stock having a detrimental impact on housing association accounts, but further legal action only exacerbates the problem. This clearly affects their ability to consider installing even the smallest of insulation or heating upgrades to homes.

Under the ECO4 scheme thousands of social housing properties and tenants are likely to qualify for full funding under the scheme. This means that rather than using their cash to improve the energy efficiency of their housing stock, social housing providers can take advantage of the scheme by allowing us to qualify both properties and tenants for upgrades.

What Would EcoGen Do?

We would pre-qualify properties by checking the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) against qualifying standards. All tenants living in properties with an EPC rating of D, E, F, or G would qualify as long as they are in receipt of any of the following benefits:

  • Income based Jobseekers Allowance (JSA)
  • Income related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Income Support (IS)
  • Pension Credit Guarantee Credit (PCGC)
  • Working Tax Credit (WTC)
  • Child Tax Credit (CTC)
  • Universal Credit (UC)
  • Housing Benefit
  • Pension Credit Savings Credit (PCSC)
  • Child Benefit, (within the income caps)

Should a household qualify under the scheme EcoGen would gather all necessary paperwork from the tenant and liaise with installers to maximise the number of heating and insulation measures available for the property including:

  • Air source heat pumps
  • Solar PV
  • Internal wall insulation
  • External wall insulation
  • Underfloor insulation
  • Room in roof insulation
  • Loft insulation

The ECO4 scheme is the fourth and likely final entry in the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme, which aims to support the least energy-efficient homes in the country, with a focus on low-income and vulnerable households. The scheme is designed to encourage a whole-house approach to energy efficiency, and it is set to come into effect later in 2022, replacing the recently ended ECO3.

Social housing properties can benefit from the ECO4 scheme in several ways. The scheme takes a fabric-first approach, meaning that it aims to make properties more energy efficient before considering any other measures, such as heating upgrades. This means that social housing properties can receive funding for insulation, which can help to keep residents warm in the winter and cool in the summer, while also reducing energy bills.

The ECO4 scheme also covers the installation of green heating systems, such as air-source heat pumps and biomass boilers. These systems are more environmentally friendly than traditional fossil fuel-based systems, and they can also be more cost-effective over time.

In addition to these measures, the ECO4 grant can also entitle social housing properties to Smart Controls. These are an innovative heating upgrade that allows you to wirelessly control your heating anywhere in the world on your smartphone. With UK Energy Management, the Wiser Smart Controls multi-zone system means you have independent room temperature control with the ability to schedule when heat is needed.

The scheme also has a multi-measure scoring mechanism, ECO4 is based on meeting the Minimum Requirement (MR). To do so, you must improve a property’s SAP score sufficiently to increase the EPC Band from F or G to an E, or from D or E to a C.

Overall, the ECO4 scheme offers a range of benefits for social housing properties, including funding for insulation and green heating systems, as well as innovative Smart Controls. By participating in the scheme, social housing properties can become more energy efficient, which can help to reduce energy bills and improve the living conditions for residents.

ECO4 is backed by large and medium energy suppliers. They have legal obligations under the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme. This includes companies like British Gas, EDF Energy, E.ON, Scottish Power, and Octopus Energy.

For more information please go to the government’s Ofgem website.
Ofgem Eco