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Conditions - Housing Assistance

Conditions Attached to Home Repair, Heating and Insulation Loans and Grants

Made under the Regulatory Reform (Housing Assistance) (England and Wales)

To be read in conjunction with Swale Borough Councils current Housing Assistance Policy.

  1. Purpose of Housing Assistance
    1. Housing assistance may be offered by Swale Borough Council (The Council) for the purposes outlined in its published Housing Assistance Policy.
  2. Persons Eligible to Apply for Housing Assistance
    1. Any person who makes an application for assistance must:-
      • (i) live in the dwelling as his/her only or main residence, and
      • (ii) have an owners interest in the dwelling, or be tenant or licensee of the dwelling, alone or jointly with others, and
      • (iii) have a duty to carry out the works in question, and
      • (iv) satisfy such test(s) of financial eligibility that the Council may have required in its published Housing Assistance Policy.
  3. Applications for Assistance
    1. An application for assistance shall be in a form prescribed by the Council and shall include:
      • (i) full particulars including, where relevant, plans and specifications of the works for which the assistance is sought (The assisted works);
      • (ii) at least two estimates from different contractors who must not be related or a member of the applicants family. A person wishing to carry out the work themselves can only claim for materials;
      • (iii) consent in writing from all owners of the dwelling to the carrying-out of the assisted works;
      • (iv) if the applicant is the owner of the dwelling(s), an undertaking to repay the grant in the circumstances described at paragraphs 9 and 10 below.
  4. Prior Qualifying Period
    1. The Council may specify a period of time during which the applicant must have lived in the dwelling as his only or main residence prior to the date of application for assistance and may specify different periods for different purposes.  For a decent home loan and repair grant the period will be 12 months.
  5. Amount of Assistance
    1. The Council will specify a maximum amount or a formula for calculating the maximum amount of assistance which may be paid and may specify different maxima for works of different descriptions. In all cases, the maximum assistance payable in any one year will be £5,000 for a decent home loan and £1,000 for a home repair grant and the maximum amount of assistance that may be provided at the same dwelling will be limited to £30,000 Decent Home loan and £2,000 Home Repair grants in any three year period and account shall be taken of previous home repair assistance awarded under previous Housing Assistance Policies made under the Regulatory Reform Order (Housing Assistance) (England and Wales) Order 2002.
  6. Exclusion of Works Already Carried Out
    1. The Council will not approve an application for assistance if the assisted works have been carried out before the application is approved, except
      • (i) Where the relevant works have begun but have not been completed, the application may be approved if the Council are satisfied that there were good reasons for beginning the works before the application was approved.
      • (ii) Where the Council decide to approve an application in accordance with this paragraph they may, with the consent of the applicant, treat the application as varied so that the assisted works do not include any that are completed.
  7. Decision and Notification
    1. The Council will notify an applicant for assistance whether the application is approved or refused.  The notification will be in writing as soon as reasonably practicable, and, in any event, not later than eight weeks after the date of the application concerned.
    2. If the application is approved the notification will specify the contractor to carry out the work and the value of the assistance.
    3. If the Council are satisfied that owing to circumstances beyond the control of the applicant the cost of the assisted works has increased or decreased, they may re-determine the amount of the assistance and notify the applicant accordingly. This will normally only be where additional unforeseen works were found and will only be considered if the maximum loan has not been exceeded. The loan amount will be adjusted to take account of the extra work.
    4. Any appeal against a decision will be to the Cabinet Committee of the Council.
  8. Payment of Assistance: Conditions As To Carrying Out Of The Works
    1. The assistance will only be paid if:
      • (i) The assisted works are completed within six months from the date of approval, and three months in the case of all Home Repair Grants, or such further period as the Council may allow.
      • (ii) The assisted works are carried out in accordance with such specifications as the Council determine.
      • (iii) The assisted works are carried out by the contractor named on the approval document. Any change of contractor must first be approved by the Council and will only be allowed if there are good reasons why the original contractor is now not able to carry out the works.
      • (iv) The assisted works are executed to the satisfaction of the Council, and the Council are provided with an acceptable invoice, demand or receipt for payment for the works. 
      • (v) The Council will normally pay the assistance direct to the contractor either in instalments as work proceeds or in one lump sum following completion of works.
      • (vi) Where assistance is payable, but the assisted works have not been executed to the satisfaction of the applicant, the Council may at the applicants request and if they consider it appropriate to do so withhold payment from the contractor. If they do so, they may make the payment to the applicant instead.
  9. Repayment Where Applicant Not Entitled To Assistance
    1. If an application for assistance is approved but it subsequently appears to the Council that the applicant (or, in the case of a joint application, any of the applicants) was not, at the time the application was approved, entitled to assistance of that description no payment shall be made or, as the case may be, no further instalments shall be paid, and the Council may demand that any payments that have already been made be repaid forthwith, together with interest from the date on which they were paid until repayment, at such reasonable rate as the Council may determine.
  10. Conditions for Repayment of Assistance
    1. If an owner of the dwelling to which the application relates ceases to be the owner before the works are completed he shall repay to the Council on demand the amount of any assistance that has been paid.
    2. If an owner of the dwelling to which the application relates ceases to be the owner he shall repay to the Council on demand the amount of loan that has been paid. For home repair grants this condition applies for 5 years from the completion of the works.
    3. Where the Council have the right to demand repayment but there are extenuating circumstances the Council may determine not to demand repayment or to demand a lesser amount.
  11. Security for Assistance
    1. Any assistance by means of a loan shall only be awarded provided the applicant enters into an agreement with the Council which will allow a charge in favour of the Council to be put on the property. The charge will allow the Council to recover the loan when the property is disposed of or if there is a breach of conditions. The fees and costs to place the charge on the property will be added to the loan.
    2. The liability to repay any assistance may be discharged at any time by paying to the Council a sum equal to the amount of the assistance or such lesser sum as the Council may agree.  
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