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Help for disabled people to adapt their home or find a new home to help them cope better
and give independent living assistance.
Local social service departments and housing authorities
will assess what improvements and adaptations you may need in order to
live more independently in your own home. Local authorities can give two
kinds of grants: House Renovation Grants make properties fit to live in; and Disabled
Facilities Grants to make houses suitable for disabled people.
In both cases you may be expected to pay some of the costs, depending
on your income. For minor works of repair, improvements or adaptation
local authorities may give Home Repair Assistance.
Help is available to all private sector owner-occupiers
and tenants. Disabled people can also apply for help if they live in council
House Renovation Grants Discretionary grants (which
are provided subject to means testing) cover getting the house in a liveable
condition, for example, if it is structurally unsound or in serious disrepair.
Grants may also cover improvements such as heating and putting in additional
Facilities Grants Mandatory
grants are awarded after an occupational therapist from social services
has assessed whether the adaptations proposed are necessary and appropriate.
Grants are available to make it easier for you to get into and around
your home, or to provide suitably adapted kitchen an bathroom facilities,
heating and controls.
Mandatory grants are limited to £20.000 but local authorities may give
more if they consider it necessary.
work done to make the place better for disabled people to live and work
in , such as creating a play area for a disabled child or adapting a room
for working from home.
for more information on Disabled Facilities Grants
Repair Assistance is
a discretionary grant. It may be given to meet the cost of minor repairs,
improvements or adaptations subject to a limit of £2.000 per application
or £4.000 over a three-year period.
It is not means-tested and, along with owner-occupiers
and tenants (but not council tenants), you may be eligible for assistance
if you have a right to occupy your home, even if you have no formal tenancy.
You may also be eligible for Home Repair Assistance if you live in a mobile
home or houseboat.
In Scotland There is a mandatory improvement
grant to provide standard amenities to meet your needs as a disabled person.
You might also be able to get discretionary improvement grants for works
to make a house suitable for your welfare, accommodation or employment.
The system is run by local authorities who will be able to give you details.
Home Insulation Grants EAGA Ltd, makes these grants
towards draught proofing and insulating your home if you are on Attendance
Allowance, Income Support, Income-based Jobseekers Allowance, Council
Tax Benefit, Disability Living Allowance,
Housing Benefit, Family Credit or Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
or War Disablement Pension or you are aged 60 or over.
Phone free: 0800 072 0150
Who does the work
The local authority which gives the grant
may commission the work and supervise it, perhaps together with a housing
association. However, it is more usual for the applicant to commission
the builder and to supervise the works where they are in receipt of a
house renovation grant or disabled facilities grant.
Their website was formed to offer a unique reference point on building improvement and renovation advice.
Whether you are a property developer or simply renovating your home, they offer you help and advice on all aspects of building renovation.
Home improvement agencies
Foundations role is to
support, train and monitor agencies, to develop new schemes and to advise
government on the allocation of funds from the Department of Environment,
Transport and the Regions to home improvement agencies.
Foundations is the National Co-ordinating Body for Home Improvement Agencies in England
Home Improvement Agencies (HIAs) are not for profit, locally based organisations that assist vulnerable homeowners or private sector tenants who are older, disabled or on low income to repair, improve, maintain or adapt their home
There are around 250 such agencies across the UK. They help clients through
the entire process of making decisions, arranging finance, and overseeing
the building work.
These schemes are particularly important.
The agencies give sensitive advice to each individual to suit their particular
needs. Information is given about repair problems and cost, reliable builders,
help available to pay for building work, and other grants and loans. As
well as giving advice, agencies will handle applications and paperwork
on behalf of disabled clients, and will check that building work is up
to standard. Help is available for any job, from replacing a few slates
to full renovation and improvement works.
Building repairs and adaptations are
carried out where they are needed. Care & Repair schemes normally
employ three workers. They liaise with service providers such as local
authorities, building societies and trusts, and also develop a list of
well tried builders. Sometimes, community programmes or voluntary labour
are used for small repairs
Choosing your own contractor: If
there is no Care & Repair scheme in your area, or if you prefer to
make your own arrangements, it is important to be very careful who you
choose to carry out building maintenance and repair work. Given the opportunity,
slick salespeople may use high-pressure selling techniques to persuade
you to enter into contracts for goods and services which you do not need
and cannot afford. Some firms may take a deposit, but neglect to start
the work, or may go out of business or simply disappear. Others, notoriously,
will take on more work than they can handle, flitting from one job to
another, leaving work unfinished and subjecting customers to long delays.
Be particularly on your guard against people who come to your home uninvited
and who seek to persuade you there and then that certain work needs doing.
Above all, do not part with your money by way of a deposit to people who
you know nothing about or rely on the word of a doorstep salesman that
it is safe to sign documents, when you have not read them or do not fully
understand their terms.
Most reputable, professional tradespeople
belong to a trade association and work to a code of conduct. If anything
does go wrong and you become involved in a dispute with the contractor,
you can complain to the relevant association, which should be prepared
to intervene and will hopefully put the matter right.
The golden rule
is to make sure that you are in control, that you decide what work you
want to have done, and that your requirements and a firm commitment to
a work programme are put in writing. If the work is extensive, you may
need to take the advice of an architect or surveyor, in which case you
may find it helpful to consult the Centre
for Accessible Environments (address
below). When choosing a firm to carry out the work, try to take advice
from people you trust and shop around, getting several estimates.
Care & Repair England is a charity set up in 1986
to improve the housing and living conditions of
older people and disabled people.
Care & Repair Cymru (Wales)
Care & Repair Forum Scotland's
Finding a home
The Accessible Property Register
Wheelchair accessible residential property and holiday accommodation throughout the UK and overseas.
National Homes Network: is a grouping of specially selected and approved independent estate agents in the British Isles, collectively approaching 250 offices throughout the UK and with additional associated offices overseas including Southern Ireland, USA, Spain, New Zealand and Australia.
This site will help you explore options and make decisions about meeting your housing, support and care
needs in later life
Finding a home
Through your local authority
One of the roles of your local authority is to help
disabled people who are homeless or threatened with homelessness. The
social services and housing departments will work together to help if
it is necessary for you to move to a more suitable property. They may
also be able to arrange a transfer if you wish to move to a different
Through housing associations
A housing association is a non-profit making organisation
run by a voluntary committee to provide low cost rented houses or help
low-income earners buy their own. Working closely with both local authorities
and charitable groups, they can provide housing for people with particular
needs such as disabilityYou can get a list of housing associations specialising
in housing for disabled people from your local authority or Housing Corporation
which would keep information on registered associations.
Types of home
Housing which is especially suitable for disabled
people includes mobility housing, wheelchair and sheltered housing, and
lifetime homes.Mobility housing is a house with special
features such as a ramped entrance and wider doors for people who can
walk but may sometimes need a wheelchair.Wheelchair housing is specially designed
for people who use wheelchairs all the time.Sheltered housing is in flats or bungalows
with a resident warden for people who are elderly and/or disabled.
Lifetime homes have flexibility to be adapted to peoples changing
physical capability over a lifetime, including possible wheelchair use.
Your local authority housing office will tell you
about their services and about housing association properties in your
area, and advise you which ones have access. They will give you an application
form asking what kind of property you want and where you want to live.
In Scotland contact the local District Housing Department for
your area or Scottish Homes, the national housing agency. Tel: 0131 313
also in Scotland:
Blackwood Housing Association
housing for rent and shared ownership throughout Scotland for disabled,
older and non-disabled people and their families.
In Wales you can also contact
Tai Cymru (formerly Housing for Wales)
Tel: 02920 741500 (Cardiff) or 01492 641797 (Gwynedd)
From the Home Office
Your Practical Guide To Crime Prevention. Free from
Publicity Section, Home Office, Queen Annes Gate, London SW1 9AT
Tel: 0207 273 2193
From your local Fire Brigade headquarters
See Addresses for full addresses of
organisations mentioned in HOUSE and HOME
Further information on home improvements in England
The following three publications are available free
of charge from the department of the Environment transport and the Regions,
Publications Dispatch Centre, Blackhorse road, London SE99 6TT (tel: 0208
691 9191; fax: 0208 694 0099) or, in the event of difficulty, from Housing
Renewal Policy Division, Zone 2/G9, Eland House, Bressenden Place, London
SW1E 5DU, or through the Departments Public Enquiry Unit on 0207
890 3333:House renovation grants. This booklet provides
general advice on the whole grants system.Disabled facilities
leaflet provides advice on grants to adapt a disabled persons homeHome repairs assistance. This leaflet provides
general advice on the assistance available for minor works to a persons
Help with housing repairs (Carers National Association,
20-5 Glasshouse Yard, London EC1A 4JS, tel: 0207 490 8818; fax: 0207 490
8824), free to carers. An information booklet.
House improvement and repair grants in Scotland:
In Scotland, local councils operate a scheme under
the Housing (Scotland) Act 1987 which is different from that in England
and Wales. Some types of grant are mandatory, but others are discretionary.
Grants may be refused if the property concerned was built or provided
by conversion less than 10 years from the date of application (though
this restriction can be waived in exceptional circumstances). Grants must
be refused in the case of owner-occupier property if the Council Tax valuation
band is above Band E (£80,000 at the time of writing). Where allowable,
grants are based on the approved expense accepted by the council
within prescribed limits in prescribed circumstances. Details are given
in a free booklet, available from The Scottish Office, Development Department,
Victoria Quay, Edinburgh EH6 6QQ, or from local authorities. Special help for disabled people:
Works needed to make your home suitable for the welfare, accommodation
or employment of a disabled person are eligible for improvement grants
of up to 75 per cent of £12,000. A Standard Amenity Grant is available
to a disabled occupant for the provision of an additional standard amenity
more suitably located in the house. Neither the age of the property nor
its Council Tax band are taken into consideration when the grant is for
a disabled person.
Home renovation grants in
There is a scheme similar to that
in England and Wales provided under Part III of the housing (Northern
Ireland) Order 1992. The grant limit for the Disabled Facilities grant
is £20,000 and this applies to a combination of mandatory and discretionary
A summary of
the arrangements is given in the booklet A
guide to Home Improvement Grants published by the Northern
Ireland housing Executive. There are also leaflets providing general information about particular kinds of grant: Disabled facilities grants, Housing options for older people,
Minor works assistance, renovation grants, and Housing
help for people with a disability. These
publications, further information and necessary forms can be obtained
from 32-36 great Victoria Street, Belfast BT2 7BA (tel: 02890 317000)
or any other local Housing Executive grants office.
Northern Ireland: Staying Put, Fold Housing
Trust, 3-6 Redburn Square, Holywood, County Down BT18 9HZ (tel: 02890
While it cannot
take up individual complaints , the Office of Fair Trading, field House,
15-25 Breams Buildings, London EC4A 1PR ( consumer information line:
0345 224499), is an invaluable source of information about all consumer
matters. It has published an easy-to-read
free booklet, Home
Improvements, which describes in greater detail the pitfalls often associated with arranging
home improvements. In addition to general advice, it explains the importance
of contracts ( and of reading them before you sign!), cancellation rights
( which apply only in limited circumstances), guarantees ( which may be
worthless) and your legal rights. There is also a useful list of relevant
trade and professional bodies, some of whom have sound guarantee schemes
or codes of practice.
Centre for Accessible Environments
60 Gainsford Street,
London SE1 2NY
Tel: 0207 357 8182; fax: 0207 357 8183
E-mail: cae@ globalnet.co.uk