The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), has warned consumers to be vigilant, when opting to let their roof space for Green Energy schemes, as doing so, could violate mortgage terms and put a property’s saleability at risk.
Many companies are now looking to benefit from the Coalition Government’s Feed-in Tarrif Scheme (FIT), by renting roof space from owners, to host solar panels.  Under the scheme, the leasing company can then sell the generated energy to power suppliers, for a profit.  However, with many Leases running for up to 25 years, often without a break clause, home owners can find themselves tied to agreements, which could put them in breach of their mortgage arrangement, discourage prospective buyers and even create structural problems with their property.  While providing home owners with additional income, the potential consequences can be severe.
Furthermore, until the Green Deal is introduced in 2012, installers are not formally accredited, meaning that insulations can be carried out by individuals, poorly qualified to properly assess the insulation process and the potential impact on the property.  With installers currently not being subject to formal regulation, the addition of solar panels, could potentially create structural problems on a property, as some roofs may not be strong enough, to take the additional weight.  It is also important, to ensure that the roof covering is in good condition, before any insulation takes place, to reduce the risk of future maintenance problems.
While the RICS, whole heartedly support the use and production of Green Energy, it is important that consumers are aware of the potential dangers, before entering into these Agreements.
RICS recommendations to consumers:

  • Always obtain your mortgage lender’s consent and seek legal advice on the terms of any Agreement, before entering into a contract.
  • If looking to sell your property within the duration of any Lease, be aware that the Lease may have to be taken on by a future buyer, whether they want to or not.  This could affect saleability.
  • If consumers sign the Agreement, outside the company’s premises, there is a 7 day ‘cooling off’ period, allowing the contract to be cancelled.
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