Bad Business Practices, Long Term Debts, Unqualified assessors – Green Deal getting bad press
The Government heralded the launch of the “Green Deal” in January this year as a groundbreaking flagship initiative that would help struggling families cut energy bills, however, it appears that the general public are 99.9% against the idea.
The intention of the Government was to encourage millions of UK home owners to take out “Green Deal” loans in order to pay for money saving improvements to properties, such as; loft insulation, double glazing, boilers and other energy efficient measures with the aim of cutting a typical family’s energy costs by as much as £50 a month.
The loan would be repaid over an agreed timescale of up to 25 years, but the debt is attached to the property rather than the current owner, which means the debt could be passed on to any new buyer. As a result, property vendors could face demands from prospective buyers to clear any outstanding debt, which could also see them facing a charge or early repayment penalty of up to £6,000 (GBP).
- The 25-year ‘green deal’ loans could prevent you selling your property
- Debts are attached to property rather than the person who agrees loan
- Experts fear people will avoid buying properties saddled with Green Deal debt
- 58,125 properties surveyed for new energy-efficiency measures but only 152 properties have been registered on the scheme since the January launch
- Concerns over expensive charges for energy efficiency assessments and the expertise of the assessors employed to carry out the surveys.
Steve Playle, who has led consultation on the Green Deal for the UK’s trading standards officers, said: “The take-up has been appalling low. I don’t think consumers are prepared to sign a contract for ten or 15 years to pay for a bit of central heating or insulation work. ‘The difficulty that people will have in selling their home is one of my main concerns. If a buyer goes along to someone’s house and there is an eight-year Green Deal plan on it, which means you have to pay £50 a month on it for the next eight years, he is going to want that paid off before he considers going ahead. The idea that this loan is going to be transportable between buyer and seller is perhaps a bit naive. Would I buy a Green Deal plan? I don’t think I would, no.
Some companies have become Green Deal brokers, charging the property owning customer one fee and sub-contracting the work out for a lesser price.
The Government has allowed firms who want to offer Green Deal assessments and home improvements to ‘cold call’ people at home in order to try and boost take-up, triggering a surge in unwanted nuisance calls.
Complaints about cold calls related to energy efficiency now rank only second to PPI, according to the Information Commissioners Office, and 2 companies have already been rebuked and fined a total of £170,000 (GBP) for nuisance behaviour.
Mr Playle commented: “I also have a worry about the calibre of the people doing the energy efficiency assessments. I have seen a case in Surrey where four assessors have come up with different results on the same property.’
Government Energy Minister, Greg Barker, said: “This is a 20-year programme we are rolling out here. It is not one of these flash-in-the-pan schemes. The Government is offering more than £200 Million (GBP) to fund cash-back incentives to the first families who sign up to the Green Deal scheme.
I think the powers that be should look at the figures and have a re-think, 152 agreements out of 58,125 properties surveyed speaks for itself. The whole idea may be intended to help out families save on energy bills, but back handed schemes that will trap people in properties that they can’t afford to sell could create another raft of accidental or reluctant landlords forced to rent out properties because they have no other financial option, which means bad news for the UK private rented sector and all the hard work put in by proper landlords to change public perception that has hung around since the dark days of Gerald Rachman.
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