Home improvement grants
Many of us are not aware that Home Improvement Grants may be available to us and so have never considered the option of applying for a grant.
What is a Home Improvement Grant and Who is Eligible?
Home Improvement Grants are offered by local councils and are made available for people who need home improvements to improve their quality of life. The local council grants available do differ from council to council and so it is important that you contact your local council with regards to the home improvements available. Each council also has certain rules which must be adhered to and although the rules can be different dependant on that councils grants, they all must by law, not discriminate against age, sexuality, race, religion or disability.
Home improvements grants have been designed to help people who need to repair, update or modify their homes to make their life less difficult with regards to every day living. The grants do not just state that they will fit certain equipment or carry out a particular job, they in fact offer many variations to the help you. Whether it be providing you with the tools and materials to carry out the improvements yourself, or if it proves to be a better option buying a new home for you rather than updating your own home, if that proves to be the most effective way to improve your living conditions. This would be done in the form of a grant or a loan and it may be that your home is demolished and rebuilt, again this would be in the form of a grant or a loan. It all depends on your circumstances and what proves to be the best option for you along with what options your council offers.
If you are disabled or a member of your household is disabled you may be eligible for a Disabled Facilities Grant to help you update or improve your home.
Are Grants Assessed On Your Property Type?
To receive a grant it doesn't matter what type of property you live in, it could be a house, a caravan or even a boat so long as it is registered as your main residence the grant or loan application would be considered.
If you live in a property which is rented then your situation may be a little different as if general repairs are needed then this is more often than not the responsibility of your landlord, so your first point of contact should be them. If they refuse the repairs seek advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau as they may advise that they can't refuse the repairs, and so the landlord must carry them out. If you need improvements carrying out due to a disability then your landlord must not refuse to do this type of improvement, if they do, again contact the Citizens Advice Bureau as they are there to help with situations such as this and should be able to provide you with advice with regards to your rights.
What Are Your Rights When Applying For A Grant
There are certain conditions to your grant or loan which your council must abide to. For example if the council agrees to help you and offers you a loan to get the repairs done, then the council must ensure that you can actually afford to pay the loan back. The same goes for a grant if you are expected to contribute toward the costs. Also if after work has started it turns out that the costs will be higher than originally expected then your loan or grant cannot just be increased, it again must be assessed for affordability and you must agree to the new Terms and Conditions imposed.
If you are unsure what your rights are with regards to this you can always speak to the Citizens Advice Bureau after an offer has been made by your council, but before your acceptance. With regards to the length of time you have to repay your grant or loan. In some cases you will find the timescale of the loan in the Terms and Conditions, but often councils do not state what the timescale is to be so make sure you clarify this with them. Once you are aware of the timescale of the loan this must be kept to, just as you would if it was any other type of loan.