Housing assistance policy
Appendix 2 - discretionary disabled facilities grants
Discretionary grants are designed to help those eligible for mandatory disabled facilities grant (DFG) assistance.
Test of resources
A test of resources will be applied to discretionary funding. This will be waived if the assistance is top-up funding where the applicant already has a means tested contribution to the mandatory grant.
Discretionary funding will be registered as a local land charge against the property and will be recovered on the sale or transfer of the property, subject to rules regarding exempt sales. Note this is separate to any funds recoverable under a mandatory DFG which expires at 10 years from certification of works completion.
Types of assistance
To top-up the financial assistance for adaptation works where the cost exceeds the DFG maximum (currently £30,000). The amount of top-up assistance in such circumstances must be reasonable. The Council reserves the right to consider alternative solutions where they appear more cost effective, reasonable, practicable or appropriate. It is expected that other funding sources will also be sought by the applicant or home improvement agency including landlord contributions and charitable applications.
The maximum assistance will be for £15,000 and the same criteria and conditions will apply as for a mandatory DFG.
In some instances it may not be possible to adapt accommodation to meet the needs of the disabled occupant or the works required would be so major that it would not be cost effective. A discretionary relocation grant, which is means tested, provides assistance to move by helping with removal costs and legal expenses.
The alternative property must be assessed by an occupational therapist as being suitable or easily adaptable to meet long term needs. Properties which require extending or will be overcrowded on occupation will not usually be considered suitable.
The maximum grant will be £5,000 for owner occupiers and £2,000 for tenants.
The grant can be used to assist with moving and resettlement costs, such as reinstatement of utilities, disconnection and reconnection of household appliances and any disability equipment. Legal and other fees, including solicitors, surveys, estate agents. Whilst the grant is open to tenants and owner-occupiers for tenants it will only cover the removal and resettlement costs and consideration will be given to the long term suitability of the tenancy.
The grant will only be approved once the purchase process in relation to the property has been completed. However, a provisional approval may be given prior to this which will indicate the amount of grant available.
Payment of the grant will only be made upon receipt of satisfactory invoices and receipts for eligible works/costs. If these have already been paid, then reimbursement to the applicant will be paid upon satisfactory proof of payment.
Support for essential repairs that otherwise present hazards to health
To assist residents whose health is being affected by hazards to health in the home that will otherwise exacerbate existing health conditions and create ill health or an unplanned hospital admission.
- repairs to heating and hot water provision
- first time heating
- preventing falls or accidents
- preventing damp conditions
- support to clear hoarded properties
This would be applicable where the hazard has been assessed under the Housing Health and Safety Rating system as a serious hazard to health. Grants will usually only be available to owner occupiers, as the works are the landlord or owner's responsibility in other tenures. The maximum grant will be £5,000.
The fees grant will be available to DFG applicants where the fees on the grant will adversely affect funding to complete the scheme or where upfront costs are needed for technical and feasibility studies.
The following fees will be eligible for financial assistance if they have been properly incurred in making an application or seeking approval for the proposed works, or to ensure the satisfactory completion of works assisted under this policy when funded through options in the housing assistance policy:
- confirmation that the applicant has a relevant owner interest
- relevant legal fee
- technical and structural surveys
- design and preparation of plans and drawings
- preparation of schedules of relevant works
- assistance in completing forms
- applications for building regulations approval (including application fee and preparation of related documents), planning permission, listed building consent and conservation area consent (and similar)
- obtaining of estimates
- consideration of tenders
- supervision of the relevant works
- disconnection and reconnection of utilities where necessitated by relevant works
- payment of contractors
- in a case where the application is for adaptations support, the reasonable services, and charges of an occupational therapist in relation to the relevant works.