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Green Deal or No Deal?

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by Nigel Stannard

The Department of Energy and Climate Change  has recently issued the Green Deal Code of Practice and the legal framework came into force on the 1st October 2012. This means that Green Deal providers, assessors and installers can now  become authorised and put in place their systems for delivering assessments to consumers. Consumers will not be able to sign up to the Green Deal finance plan until 28th January 2013. Green Deal providers can offer plans to consumers and begin delivering energy efficiency and heating measures as a way of meeting the government’s targets for a major programme of national energy efficiency ‘retrofit’.

The scheme gives consumers new ways of funding home improvements and businesses a way of competing for energy efficiency opportunities.

However, the scheme has met with its critics; major retailers in particular supermarkets and DIY stores are seen as essential to the success of the scheme. So far not one has indicated willingness to join the scheme. Experts are saying that it is too complex and could disadvantage those on lower incomes.

From a conveyancing   perspective, this is seen as another  complicating  factor increasing yet further the searches and enquiries that have to be undertaken and potentially the costs to both seller and buyer. The proposal is that the householders ( including  tenants) will be able to sign up for various improvements such as insulation and loans are paid back by an increase in  their energy bills. The loans will be a chkarge on the property and the repayments should be offset by the energy savings.  So, purchasers will effectively have to pay for past improvements if they agriee to take it on Holwever,  it is not mandatolry for the purchasers to take on sucmh loans and if not  then thee seller  will have to pay the loan off on sale.

The complications of repayments through the energy providers and the potential problems in dealing with the loan at point of sale,  are clearly factors that could  mitigate against support for the scheme.

There will obviously be more publicity over the coming months and it will be interesting to see whether there is any change of heart by the retailers and indeed if consumers are prepared to become involved.

* Nigel Stannard is a senior solicitor specialising in Property Law

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