Deal was designed to allow housing associations to keep control of improvements to their stock

Housing associations look to have won the right to prevent tenants from arranging eco-upgrades to their individual homes via the government’s £7bn Green Deal, despite the government claiming it is giving tenants the freedom to commission upgrades.

The deal, which sources say was agreed with officials at the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC), is designed to allow housing associations to keep control of the improvements to their stock. But it risks the government being accused of stopping individuals with laggard landlords being able to take advantage of the offer.

The move echoes existing tenancy agreements, which generally prevent tenants from improving homes without consent. However last week housing minister Grant Shapps announced plans under which housing association tenants can book local builders to make repairs and improvements to their homes.

Shapps said he wanted to give “house-proud residents more control over looking after their own homes”.

The Green Deal allows firms, including housing associations to borrow money to undertake eco-upgrades to homes, on the basis that it will be paid back through a cut of the reduction in the residents’ power bill.

However, Nigel Banks, head of energy at social housing contractor Keepmoat, said DECC had given housing associations a “veto” on demands for improvements by individual tenants. He said: “[Landlords] will come under a lot of pressure from tenants on this but they want to maintain control of their stock.”

A spokesperson for DECC denied the department had agreed a veto, but admitted that housing associations will make the final decision. “If you’re a social housing tenant and you ask for the Green Deal then it would be up to the housing association to decide,” she said.