Cherwell Energy Efficiency Project - explanation

Cherwell Energy Efficiency Project (CHEEP) Grant Explanation

CHEEP grant 

CHEEP grants were introduced in 2002 and last revised in 2020. This 2022 version reflects recent legislation introduced to improve energy efficiency of private rented accommodation (known as the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards or MEES) and the Council’s commitment to being carbon neutral by 2030.

The CHEEP grant is an energy efficiency grant from Cherwell District Council available to private sector landlords for the improvement of existing rental properties. The maximum grant is currently £5000, subject to conditions and caps for certain works.


CHEEP is available to all private sector landlords (subject to budget availability).

It is for the improvement of existing premises and cannot be used for either new-builds or new units created by conversion work.

Only a single grant is available per property in any 5-year period.

A current Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) must be available for the subject property (the Council will search the online EPC register or ask the landlord to provide a copy).


CHEEP grant is not available to landlords where they are obliged to improve their properties to meet the requirements of MEES (i.e. the property has an EPC rating of F or G); however, grant assistance will be considered if the cost of the energy efficiency works are significantly above £3,500 (which is the landlord cost cap specified in the MEES regulations). 

No grant is available if the Council has commenced formal enforcement action in relation to the subject property.

The grant cannot be applied for retrospectively, ie if works have already started.

Grant conditions

The property in question must either be tenanted at the time of application or must be let to a tenant once works are completed.

The property must continue to be available for letting for three years from the date the Council confirms works are complete; otherwise the grant must be repaid in full.

The maximum grant is £5000 but there are also caps on the contribution that can be made for certain works. These are explained in the Eligible works and grant contributions section.

Loft insulation to a depth of 270mm quilt insulation (or equivalent) must be installed in all cases where there is a standard pitched roof with attic space. Insulation of other areas, e.g. attic rooms, may be required; this will be determined on a case by case basis by the Council.

All cavity walls that are capable of being insulated must be filled. (Note: in the case of flats the Council will determine whether cavity-wall insulation is achievable.)

Once a grant is approved, works must be completed, and any invoice(s) delivered to the Council no later than 6 months from the date of approval. The grant will be cancelled if this condition is not met.

The landlord must obtain a new EPC following works to demonstrate improvement in energy efficiency, before the grant payment is made. (The Council will confirm in any exceptional cases where that is not required.)

Eligible works and grant contributions

The list of eligible works is shown below; however, grant contribution towards certain energy efficiency works that are not listed may be considered. These must be discussed and agreed by the Council before works start.

Eligible works and percentage / maximum contribution

How to apply

Complete the CHEEP Application Form and attach the requisite quotes.

What happens next?

We will make an appointment to visit the property and check what is being proposed.

We shall determine what, if any, insulation is required as part of the grant and will issue you with an approval email or letter confirming the required work and the amount of the grant. No grant is approved until you have received an approval email or letter.

You must make appropriate arrangements with the contractor(s) to get the work done.

Once all the work is finished to your satisfaction, you must pay the contractor(s) and must then submit the paid invoice(s) to the Council.

We will make an appointment to revisit the property to check the work.

A new EPC must be commissioned following works and made available on the EPC register.

Provided all is well, we will record the fact that the property must be available for letting for three years and will pay the agreed grant to you.

Minimum Energy Efficiency standards (MEES)

From April 2018, landlords of privately rented property must ensure that their properties reach a minimum energy performance certificate (EPC) rating of E before granting a tenancy to new or existing tenants. These requirements will apply to all residential private rented properties in England and Wales (even where there has been no change in tenancy arrangements) from 1 April 2020. Some exemptions do apply but these must be registered on a national database; see the Government’s MEES guidance for landlords for more details.

In addition to the MEES regulations, a landlord cannot unreasonably refuse consent to a tenant’s written request for energy efficiency improvements to their home, where these can be installed at no cost to the landlord. Further guidance is available from the .GOV website.

Cherwell District Council expects landlords of properties with an F or G EPC rating to fund improvements themselves, up to the specified cost cap of £3,500 (including VAT), before grant funding will be considered.

The Council may take formal enforcement action to resolve hazards assessed using the Housing Health & Safety Rating System (under the Housing Act 2004). This is usually the case where an informal approach has failed, and the hazard(s) remains. If formal enforcement action (in the form of a notice) is considered appropriate, the option of grant assistance is no longer available.