Ruth Mitchell

Member Article

Could solar panels devalue your home?

Consumers should be vigilant when installing green energy schemes into their homes, as by doing so they could be violating the terms of their mortgage, and risking the saleability of their property.

Increasing numbers of businesses have seen the benefits of the Feed-in-Tariff schemes, and are looking to rent roof space from homeowners to host solar panels. However, RICS is encouraging homeowners to be wary of leasing their roof space, as the deals can often last up to 25 years and cam come without a break clause.

This could not only leave homeowners tied to unfavourable agreements, it could also leave them in breach of their mortgage, discourage potential buyers and could even create structural problems with their property.

Equally, they could fall prey to rogue traders. The Green Deal will not be formally introduced until 2012, meaning that individuals with no formal accreditations could be carrying out installations - with potentially damaging consequences.

RICS North East housing spokesman Richard Sayer is supportive of the new green initiatives, but is still encouraging homeowners to be cautious.

“Many of the companies undertaking this work are relatively new and it is difficult for homeowners to assess if they are wholly competent in all aspects of the work they are undertaking,” he commented. “There are clear risks to your most important asset, your home, and now may not be the time to make a poorly judged decision.

“Take the best advice you can ideally from a building surveyor and a recognised expert in this new field of work.”

RICS are now advising homeowners to gain their mortgage lenders consent before installation, as well as considering the duration of the contract, which would have to be taken on by any future buyers.

They should also be aware of the 7 day ‘cooling off’ period, which allows the contract to be cancelled.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Ruth Mitchell .

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