Tuesday, 17 July 2012

What is the Green Deal?

What is the Green Deal?

This is scheduled for introduction in autumn of this year, and will enable accredited retailers such as Tesco and B&Q to supply, without no upfront cost, quality assured services to homeowners and businesses looking to improve the energy efficiency of their property.

The full cost of the measures will be recovered through instalments on the energy bill over several years, and because the Green Deal is not a personal loan or an advance payment scheme, there is no obligation to continue paying the instalments when the owner moves home.

Qualification for the scheme depends on a simple calculation, known as the “golden rule”– whereby the predicted savings from the energy efficiency improvements to the property must equal or exceed the cost of installation.

How will it work?

Those wishing to participate in the Green Deal will require a full property assessment carried out by an independent and fully accredited advisor.  This initial consultation will provide householders and business owners with an opportunity to learn about the current energy performance of their properties and the specific measures which they would have access to under the Green Deal to improve this performance.

If it assessed that the homeowner or business owner qualifies (see above) then a comprehensive quote, clearly breaking down the total cost of energy efficiency installations for your property, the size of repayment instalments attached to utility bills, and the estimated length of the repayment period will be issued. 

This will be supervised by the accredited advisor who carried out the survey and the work will only be financed if it is carried out by approved Green Deal installers.

How will it be financed?

The finance will be through an instalment plan attached to the utility bill and which will be attached to the property rather than the individual.

Although a Green Deal finance plan requested by a homeowner or small business is not a personal loan, it is likely to be considered a fixed term credit arrangement and customers will therefore be protected under the Consumer Credit Act.

How will installation work?

Once a Green Deal finance plan has been approved, installation will be arranged and carried out by certified Green Deal providers. 

Will the Green Deal help to save money in the long term?

Only time and a track record will tell!

The current language used by the Government suggests they are also not sure of the probable outcome of the measures.   Upon being pushed by a commentator on this subject the Department of Energy and Climate Change stated: "[People] should still save money compared to what it would have cost to heat their home in that way without a Green Deal."

How will the Homeowner and Business Owner be able to monitor and track progress once the initial application of interest is registered?

We are currently working on a tracking system which can be used by the home owner and business owner to record and track key stages within the process and to create at the end of the procedure a property log book for transferring the records and information to the next owner.

For further information on the Green Deal feel free to email me

David Pett

Morgan Jones and Pett are solicitors who provide legal advice and services to clients based in England and Wales and who can be contacted on 01603877000 or via email at davidpett@m-j-p.co.uk

Monday, 2 July 2012

Sewage pipes - The importance of ownership

The Water Act 2003 which came into effect in October 2010 has left certain home owners worse off and continues to pass under the radar of may lawyers who act for those buying homes.

Up until the introduction of this new law, financial responsibility for the maintenance and repair of   the drainage pipes which connects your home to the mains sewer rested squarely with you.  If anything went wrong with the drains you and the others who share the use of the pipes would be required to meet the costs of repair.   Often this meant having to find several thousand of pounds.

The good news is that since October this responsibility has not passed to the local water authority meaning that if your house does not connect directly to the mains sewer but is part of a network connecting more than one house then there is longer any liability resting with you.   If any thing goes wrong the water authority must sort it.

Beware however as any stretch of pipe through which sewage from only your property flows will remain your sole responsibility.  You need to ask your solicitor to check this and to make sure you have a right to make use of the pipe and that if it passes through adjoining land that you have a right to access that land to carry our repairs etc.  Certain water and sewage authorities offer insurance to address and issues and this can cost as little as £5 per annum.

The downside of this is that we will all be paying more for our sewerage charges even if our drains are not automatically adopted because we connect direct to the mains.    There may also be problems if we are looking to build over a drain, for example the building of a conservatory or an extension.  If we have lost ownership then we will need to obtain the consent of the water authority.   If there is already a building situated over a pipe which is now owned by the water authority and the water authority has to gain access to carry our repairs you will if you can show that the pipe was owned by you before October claim compensation for the damage caused.

So the message is ask your solicitor if the property is connected through a network of pipes or connects direct to the mains sewer. If  it connects direct you will be responsible for the cost of repair and maintenance and you need to make sure  you find out the route of the drain and that you have a legal right of access to it.  

Morgan Jones and Pett are solicitors who provide legal advice and services to clients based in England and Wales and who can be contacted on 01603877000 or via email at davidpett@m-j-p.co.uk