The Council offers a range of grants to help with the cost of carrying out essential repairs and improvements in private homes in Hackney. These grants are administered by private sector housing.
Grants are available mainly to owner occupiers but disabled facilities grants (DFGs) are also offered to eligible tenants.
- Grants for owner occupiers and private tenants
- Grants for owner occupiers only
- Warmth and security grant (WSG)
- Equity release loans (ERL)
- disabled facilities grant (DFG) of up to £30,000
Private tenants must obtain their landlord's written permission before carrying out any work.
- hospital discharge grant (HDG) of up to £2,000
- external works grant (EWG) of up to £5,000
- general repairs grant (GRG of up to £20,000
With the exception of a disabled facilities grant, to qualify for grant assistance, owner occupiers must either be receiving one of the means-tested benefits or be on a low income. Currently, the relevant means-tested benefits are:
- council tax benefit
- income support
- pension credit
- income-based job seekers allowance
- working families tax credit
- disability living allowance
- housing benefit
Applicants not receiving one of these benefits have the option of providing financial information to enable a means test to be carried out. If the result of the test shows that they are on a low income, they will also qualify for a grant.
Applicants must be resident in the property for which they are applying for grant assistance and must also have lived in their homes for at least three years prior to applying. They must also provide written assurance that they intend to live in their properties for at least five years after the grant work is completed.
Eligibility rules are very different for disabled facilities grant (DFG) applicants.
A hospital discharge grant of up to £2,000 is available in to owner occupiers only for work which will enable eligible residents either to return home from hospital or to prevent them from going into hospital. The work may include minor repairs or adaptations such as fitting hand rails, internally or externally.
An external works grant of up to £5,000 is available to owner occupiers only for works to the exterior of a house or flat which will make it weathertight. Works may include roof repairs or renewal, work to guttering, rainwater pipes or brickwork. The work funded by this grant may be all that is required or may just be emergency work aimed at preventing further deterioration until comprehensive improvements can be carried out.
A general repairs grant of up to £20,000 is available to owner occupiers only for work needed to make the house or flat fit to live in or bring it up to a reasonable standard of repair. Works may include roof repairs or renewal, work to guttering, rainwater pipes or brickwork, window renewal, damp proofing, plasterwork, electrical works. Redecoration and improvement works such as new kitchens and bathrooms are not covered by grant assistance.
Owners who have received previous grant aid from the Council (other than disabled facilities grant (DFG)) cannot apply for GRG.
A warmth and security grant of up to £6,000 is available for works needed to improve the energy efficiency and security of a private home. Works may include loft insulation, pipe and tank lagging, draught-proofing, boiler replacement, fitting thermostatic radiator valves, fitting window and door locks and bolts, door chains and viewers and security lighting.
Applicants over the age of 60 years, regardless of income, can take advantage of the Council's able-to-pay scheme for energy efficiency and home security works only. Grants of up to £1,000 are available for applicants willing to pay at least 50% of the cost of this type of work in their homes
In some cases, the cost of the work required to bring a property up to standard may so great that even the maximum grant will not be enough; in other cases, owners may not be eligible for grant aid. Whilst these owners may not have very much money to spend on home improvements, the value of their homes is often very high and they may have little or no mortgage outstanding.
The difference between the value of the house and the remaining mortgage is known as the equity. Owners over 60 years of age, who cannot obtain a loan in the usual way might want to consider an equity release loan in which the equity in the property is used as security for a loan.
Hackney has joined the houseproud scheme which can help eligible owners to obtain equity release loans. Owners who are interested in learning more about equity release loans can contact private sector housing (details below) or they can contact the Home Improvement Trust on their Freephone Helpline 0800 783 7569, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hackney also works closely with financial capability coaches DABD. The staff at DABD can help owners who want to improve their homes by ensuring that they are receiving all the benefits and tax credits they are entitled to which may increase the amount of money they receive. They will also help owners consider the range of options available to them in securing funding for the work. To request a referral visit DABD.
To ask for a preliminary enquiry pack which contains leaflets on all the grants on offer contact us using the details below, making sure you provide your full name, address and telephone number.
To find out more about grants generally or to comment on the grants Hackney offers, contact us.