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  • March

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    2021
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HOME IMPROVEMENT GRANTS IN UK

HOME IMPROVEMENT GRANTS IN UK

WHAT IS IT?

If you are a homeowner or a private tenant you may be able to claim help towards making repairs, improvements, or adaptations to your home.

CAN I GET IT?

Only homeowners or private sector tenants can apply. Whether assistance is granted is at the discretion of your local authority –there are no national rules. In general, grants are paid to people who are older, disabled, or on a low income.

You may be eligible for help with the cost of repairs or home improvements if:

you are in receipt of an income-related benefit or guaranteed pension credit

and you or someone living in your household is aged 60 or over or has a disability, or a long-term illness.

RECENT DEVELOPMENTS:

  • In England, most tenancies are now subject to rules on ‘fitness for human habitation’. Landlords must ensure properties are kept in a fit state throughout the tenancy, meaning they could be required to address issues like damp, mold, and poor sound insulation. There are different rules for fixed-term tenancies granted before 20 March 2019.
  • In England, homeowners and park homeowners can get a Government grant of up to £5,000 (£10,000 if claiming certain benefits including Pension Credit and Attendance Allowance) to pay for green energy efficiency measures. You must contribute towards the cost unless claiming benefits. The scheme lasts until 31 March 2022 — all works must be completed by this date.
  • In England, there are new rules on electrical safety in the private rented sector. These vary depending on when your tenancy was granted but broadly speaking, all properties must undergo an electrical safety check by 1 April 2021, with further checks at regular intervals.

GRANTS AND LOANS:

Disabled Facilities Grant:

These grants are provided by local authorities to pay for adaptations to a disabled person’s home. This includes people with physical or mental health difficulties, hearing, sight, and speech impediments. DFGs are available for different things, including:

  • facilitating access to and from the home
  • making the home safe for you or other people living with you
  • facilitating access to a room which is used, or could be used, as the main family room or for sleeping
  • providing a lavatory or washing facilities, or making it possible for you to access or use a lavatory or washing facilities
  • making it possible for food to be prepared or cooked
  • improving the property’s heating system so it meets your needs or providing a suitable heating system
  • Facilitating access to and from a garden or enabling safe access.

Homeowners and tenants can apply for DFGs, as well as some park homeowners and occupiers of houseboats. The applicant must provide the authority with a certificate stating the disabled occupant will live in the property as their only or main home throughout the grant condition period. If the disabled occupant is a tenant, the authority requires a certificate from the landlord (if different from the applicant) to verify this.

The maximum amount of grant in England is £30,000 and in Wales is £36,000. The cost of carrying out works to a suitable standard may exceed the maximum amount.

Local authorities must decide a grant application ‘as soon as is reasonably practicable and certainly within six months of the date of application. Notice of the decision must be in writing and you are entitled to a statement of reasons if turned down. A refusal can be challenged through the complaints procedure and the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (England) or Public Services Ombudsman (Wales).

Housing Renewal Assistance:

Your local authority may provide other housing-related grants, loans, or services. These may be used to top up a DFG, speed up the delivery of adaptations, or improve the home in other ways. In law, this help is called ‘housing renewal assistance’.

Housing renewal assistance is for help with:

  • repairs, improvements, and adaptations
  • the demolition of accommodation and rebuilding costs
  • Securing new accommodation if the authority buys your current home, or decides it is not economically viable to adapt or improve it.

Help can be provided ‘in any form’, so you may be able to get grants, loans, labor, discounted materials, or temporary accommodation.

HOME IMPROVEMENT AGENCIES:

HIAs are not-for-profit organizations run by local authorities, housing associations, and charities. They support older and vulnerable people to enable them to remain in their own homes and live independently for longer.

Many run their own handyperson services, carrying out small home improvement works such as gardening, minor repairs and adaptations, safety and security checks, and energy efficiency measures. To find out if there is an HIA in your area, in England contact:

  • your local Age UK
  • your local authority housing department, or
  • Foundations — the national coordinating body for HIAs.

HEATING AND INSULATION IMPROVEMENTS:

There are two main Government schemes offering help with heating and insulation improvements — the Green Homes Grant scheme and the Energy Company Obligation (ECO). The Green Homes Grant scheme runs until 31 March 2022.

Homeowners and park homeowners can get a grant of up to £5,000 (£10,000 if claiming certain benefits) to help pay for green energy measures. Contact Simple Energy Advice for more information. ECO is run by larger energy suppliers.

You can apply to any supplier participating in the scheme, they do not have to supply your energy. They can choose the measures that are most cost-effective to install and may fund all or only part of the cost.

What kind of help you can get under ECO?

You can get help with insulation work or heating-related improvements such as the installation of ‘first-time’ central heating. You can get a broken boiler repaired or replaced if you are an owner-occupier, but not if you are a tenant. This is because landlords are responsible for keeping tenants’ boilers in repair and proper working order. You may be able to get an inefficient heating system upgraded.

GAS AND ELECTRICAL SAFETY:

If you are a tenant, your landlord must carry out an annual gas safety check and make sure electrical installations and wiring are safe. If you are a homeowner, you may qualify for a free annual safety check from your gas supplier, if you receive means-tested benefits and:

  • over pension age, or
  • live with a disability or long-term health condition, or
  • live with children under five.

If you do not live with children under five, you must live alone or with others all over pension age, disabled, chronically sick, or under 18. The check consists of a basic examination and is not a substitute for regular servicing. If you have a local HIA, they may be able to access funding for gas servicing and other measures to help reduce risks caused by dangerous gas work and appliances.

About Revite:

Revite is a true one-stop solution provider for all your architectural and construction-related needs. We invite you to experience our services first hand while maintaining a high reputation for providing quality architectural, building construction, maintenance work by remaining principled, independent, and profitable. Over 75% of new business enquires are by referral, which confirms our professionalism and expertise. With over 15 years of experience, we have proved our self as one of the UK’s best architectural and construction companies. Revite is among the preferred choice of residents. If you have any type of planning permission, architectural design, or building-related work query, please call our dedicated team for help and free quotation 01753 376991 or send us Query Online. We are always here to welcome your queries.

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