All homes require a little TLC now and again but often we just don’t have the cash to do what needs to be done. However, home improvement grants for homeowners can help make the process a lot cheaper and simpler. But is it still possible to get a home improvement grant? Here we take a look at the possible support available to homeowners who want to improve their home and living conditions.
Government Grants for House Repairs or Renovation
It is possible to get repair and renovation grants from the House Executive.
Repair grants are available for landlords, agents and some private tenants who have received either a Public Health Notice or a Notice of Disrepair from the Local Authority. There is only a short amount of time in which the grant funded work can be carried out so you can apply for the grant before it is completed but it will need to be inspected afterwards.
The Renovation Grant is for people who own or intend to buy a residential property and tenants who are responsible for maintenance. These grants are only given if the property:
- is unfit for human habitation
- is in a state of disrepair (this is only available in selected areas)
- is 10+ years old
- is not in a redeveloped area and will not be included in one within the next 12 months
- is not part of a Group Repair Scheme and will not be part of one within the next 12 months.
Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG)
Disabled Facilities Grants are available to help disabled children and adults to live as independently as possible in their own home. The grants can be used to improve accessibility in the home, restore dignity and can enable people to leave hospital and prevent people from needing to move into a care facility. The grant is not directly intended for home improvements and maintenance but if a disabled person is living in conditions which are unsafe, e.g. with inadequate heating or damaged floors they may be able to apply for help via a DFG. People who are registered as disabled can apply for a DFG via their Local Authority.
Home Improvement Agencies
There is a scheme called Home Improvement Agencies (HIAs) which is run throughout the UK by certain Local Authorities. They are not-for-profit organisations which are designed to provide help older, disabled and vulnerable people to continue to live independently with home repairs and energy efficiency measures.
This could include providing advice, making home adaptations for disabled people, home repairs or maintenance, moving furniture, minor adaptations, falls prevention measures or making homes more energy efficient through improved heating systems or insulation. These schemes are also referred to as Care & Repair, Staying Put or House Proud schemes.
The HIA schemes are mainly open to homeowners (including landlords), tenants in social housing and some private tenants may also be eligible if their tenancy agreement includes certain maintenance obligations. The HIA scheme is not means test but as each Local Authority will have a limited budget applicants on a low income and will be living in an unsafe property without help may be prioritised. To find out if you could benefit from the HIA scheme, contact your Local Authority, or visit the Foundations website which is the national body for HIAs.
Equity Release Scheme
The Equity Release Scheme is also run by certain Local Authorities but is only open to people over 65 who require essential repairs. The scheme enables you to take out an interest free loan against the value of your home which is like taking out a second mortgage. The loan does not need to be repaid until you sell the property. There are some risks involved in taking out a loan against your home, especially if you still have a mortgage, as if your house sale is not enough to cover your loan when the time comes you will need to make up the difference. This is why it’s best to get legal and financial advice before you commit to an Equity Release Scheme.
Energy Efficiency Grants for Homeowners
Energy Company Obligation (ECO) Scheme
The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) is a government scheme designed to reduce the UK’s carbon emissions and to help households living in fuel poverty.
Part of the ECO scheme legally obliges medium and large energy suppliers to provide funding to enable homeowners to improve the energy efficiency of their property. Each supplier has been given a target according to its size.
The energy suppliers should work with installers to improve or introduce efficiency measures in your home, e.g. by installing a more efficient heating system and/or improving the levels of wall or cavity insulation. This is referred to as the Home Heating Cost Reduction Obligation (HHCRO). To be eligible for a home energy efficiency improvement grant under ECO you need to be in receipt of certain benefits and meet certain qualifying criteria.
Visit www.boilergrants.co.uk to find out if you could qualify for a free boiler grant under the ECO scheme.
Not on benefits?
If you are not on benefits and/or do not qualify for a free boiler grant, there is a way to get a better deal on a new boiler and/or heating system for your home, and even to spread the cost via monthly payments. Visit Boiler Guide to find and compare free boiler installation quotes from heating engineers in your area.