* Borrowers can claim up to 600 pounds
* Payout linked to improving property’s energy efficiency
* Follows initiatives from banks including Barclays (Adds detail on initiative, background)
By Simon Jessop and Iain Withers
LONDON, March 2 (Reuters) - LendInvest, one of Europe’s biggest non-bank property lenders, plans to offer borrowers a cash payment if they make their properties more energy efficient.
The move follows similar initiatives by British banks including Barclays and Nationwide.
Under LendInvest’s new plan, borrowers can save up to 600 pounds ($765.66) on their loan if they make improvements that result in a higher Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating for the property.
The firm’s so-called bridge-to-let borrowers - those who buy a property to rent out but need to upgrade it first - will be eligible for a payout which will be taken off the loan redemption amount at the end of the term if the energy saving improvements result in a higher Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating.
Properties in Britain need a certificate, which contains information about their energy use and typical costs, whenever one is built, sold or rented.
The rating grades range from A, for the most efficient, to G, the least efficient and are valid for 10 years. Industry standards require landlords to achieve a minimum EPC rating of E on all rental stock.
LendInvest borrowers can save up to 600 pounds on their loan if they increase a rating from ‘C’ or below to an ‘A’. An improvement from below a ‘C’ to either ‘C’ or ‘B’ will receive 200 pounds and 400 pounds, respectively.
“By incentivising our borrowers to improve the EPC rating of their properties, we want to raise the bar and help the property sector improve the energy efficiency of buildings,” LendInvest Chief Executive Rod Lockhart said in a statement.
LendInvest has raised almost 2 billion pounds from investors and finance partners, including Citigroup, HSBC, Nomura and National Australia Bank and lent 3 billion pounds through short-term and buy-to-let mortgages.
Britain’s banks have been stepping up provision of green home loans. Nationwide said this month it was planning to offer preferential interest rates to borrowers who buy the most energy efficient homes.
Other “green” mortgage providers include Barclays, which offers a lower rate on energy efficient homes, and Kensington Mortgages, which is rolling out a home loan that offers a 1,000 pound cash payment for improvements made to boost energy efficiency.
$1 = 0.7836 pounds Reporting by Simon Jessop and Iain Withers; editing by Carolyn Cohn and Jane Merriman