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Another social landlord refuses permission for solar panels

In 2022, long-time Pension Times reader and newsletter subscriber Jack Rainbow wrote to us expressing concerns about a social housing landlord refusing permission to install solar panels. It turns out Jack's case wasn't the only one.

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Another social landlord refuses permission for solar panels
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After we heard from Jack in the second half of 2022, another reader got in touch shortly afterwards, describing similar frustrations.

Following a conversation with a lawyer, Jack, who lives in the parliamentary constituency of Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, wrote a follow-up detailing that experience and their continued frustrations at the process. Jack also noted they had not received a reply from their MP, in their case, Dr Dan Poulter.

Pension Times recently received correspondence from another reader who wished to be referred to by her forename only. Like Jack, Lesley has experienced a range of frustrations in trying to get solar panelling installed on her social property and has even spoken to an installer who was able to rubbish her landlord's concerns.

Lesley told us: "I live in a social housing bungalow, and my son has kindly agreed to pay for the installation of solar panels.

"I have contacted the landlord and have been refused permission. Their reasoning being the panels will prevent maintenance (there isn't any), and the panels will compromise the weatherproofing of the roof.

"I have spoken to my proposed installer, who has completed dozens and dozens of installs, and he says this is ridiculous and complete nonsense. They obviously know nothing about solar panel installation.

"Something needs to change. Not only are we thinking of climate change issues, but also cannot afford to heat our homes adequately."

Lesley also said she had written to her MP but had not, to date, received a response.

Questions to answer about solar panelling

Lesley's final sentence hits the nail on the head.

In a world where we're constantly hearing about the need to consider the climate while continuing to live through a cost-of-living crisis, for a social landlord to refuse permission for tenants to pursue a solution to both issues is somewhat strange. 

While there may be genuine reasons for not being able to allow a social property to have solar panels installed, both Jack and Lesley tell a similar story, and in Lesley's case has heard from an expert that the reasons given aren't particularly valid.

The lack of response from MPs – or at least someone who works in their offices – is concerning, too.

However, it doesn't appear to be the case that solar panels aren't allowed on social housing at all. Indeed, many existing and newly built social properties across the UK feature them. Perhaps it's a case of certain social landlords taking the "computer says no" approach or social housing associations wanting to be the ones who organise and pay for the installation.

But in the latter case, and as Jack alluded to, won't they always point to the cost as a reason not to do it?

Irrespective of the reason, social landlords must better protect and act in the best interests of people of all ages living in their properties.

Have you had the same experience as Lesley? Do you live in a social housing property but have been given permission to install solar panels yourself? Or has your social landlord taken care of adding solar panels themselves?

If you're a social tenant and have a story about your experience of getting solar panels installed on your property, get in touch!

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