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Contact the Housing Services Team

Housing Assistance Policy

This policy sets out what assistance we are able to offer by way of loans, grants, practical assistance and advice to householders. Also shown, towards the back, are the loan and grant conditions that apply.

Disabled Facilities

Mandatory grants are available for disabled persons to carry out adaptations to their homes who meet the criteria for mandatory grant contained in the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 as amended by the Regulatory Reform (Housing Assistance) (England and Wales) Order 2002.

Mandatory Disabled Facilities Grants

This grant is available to both owners and tenants where the works are considered appropriate and necessary and reasonable and practicable. If the demand for these grants exceeds the allocated budget, they are to be approved in accordance with the approved priority rating system. If major adaptation work is required a detailed option appraisal will first be carried out to explore all options including re-housing and investigate all alternative funding sources.

Often housing associations are able to assist their tenants, without the need of grant, either directly by carrying out the adaptations or by finding their tenants more suitable accommodation to meet their needs.  Generally, we would expect adaptations costing less than £1,500 to be met by this means.

In some circumstances we may offer an alternative grant to the disabled facilities grant using powers contained within the Regulatory Reform Order. These grants can be more flexible in meeting a disabled persons needs. The alternative grant will only be offered with the disabled person's consent and does not take away a persons right to choose to apply for a disabled facilities grant.

Before applying for grant, you will need to have your needs assessed by an occupational therapist.

Call: 01795 473333
Email: socialservices@kent.gov.uk

Or call our Housing Team;

Call: 01795 417538
Email: housegrants@swale.gov.uk

Loans and Grants to Substandard Homes

Repair loans and grants are available, subject to approved conditions, to qualifying people whose homes have serious hazards and are in need of urgent or essential repairs. The approved loan and grant conditions are contained at the end of this leaflet.

Decent Home Loans

This interest free loan is available to owner-occupiers who are vulnerable persons and whose properties do not meet the Decent Homes Standard because their home is not free of having Category 1 hazards. Category 1 hazards are assessed using the Housing Health and Safety Hazard Rating system as defined in the Housing Act 2005.

Eligible works to eradicate hazards, as specified, may include comprehensive repairs and improvements to the external and internal fabric of the building, including repair or renewal of the space and water heating systems and the electrical installation. On completion of the works, the hazards should be eradicated or reduced and the property should meet or move towards meeting the Decent Homes Standard.

The loan is an interest free, deferred repayment loan of up to £5,000. It is repayable when the property is sold or if the conditions are broken. We will pay for works that will remove or reduce the Category 1 hazard (s) present and in doing so will bring a property up to the Decent Homes Standard or progress towards achieving the standard. The loans will be registered with the Land Registry as a charge on the property.

To be eligible, applicants are required to have lived in the house for 12 months and be a vulnerable owner-occupier (those on a relevant means tested benefits at time of application - see definitions at end).

Call: 01795 417538
Email: housegrants@swale.gov.uk

 Home Repair Grants

These grants are available to owner occupiers of homes in need of urgent or essential repairs and where other finance sources are not available. The maximum grant is £1,000 and is subject to approved conditions. It is repayable if the property is sold within 5 years or if the conditions are broken.

To qualify for the grant the person must have lived in the house for 12 months, be over the age of 60 years of age and in receipt of one of the relevant means tested benefits at time of application listed in the definitions at end.

Call: 01795 417538
Email: housegrants@swale.gov.uk

No Use Empty Initiative Loans

Landlords can apply for loans through the 'No Use Empty' Kent County Council scheme, working in partnership with Swale Borough Council. Under this scheme interest free loans, of up to £25K per dwelling unit, to a maximum of £175K per application, are available to assist with renovation costs to bring long-term empty homes back in to use. The repayment period varies: for 'Loans to let' it is currently up to 31 March 2014 and for 'Loans for sale', the repayment period varies, it is either when the home is sold or within 24 months of when the loan is approved or by 31 March 2014 whichever is the sooner.

Call: 01795 417231
Email: housegrants@swale.gov.uk

Website: No-Use-Empty

Heating and Energy Efficiency

Advice and Information

We can offer advice and information on energy efficient matters including availability of grants and discounted products being promoted.

Specifically they will:

Call: 01795 417538
Email: housegrants@swale.gov.uk

Or contact the Energy Saving Trust Advice Centre 0800 512 012 or Home Heat helpline 0800 33 66 99.

Heating and Insulation Grants

Grants are available to certain households in First Avenue, Second Avenue and Alsager Avenue Rushenden to improve heating and insulation. These are provided by the Council working in partnership with an energy supplier to jointly fund the works.

Staying Put Service

The Staying Put Scheme offers advice and help mainly to the elderly, the disabled and other vulnerable groups, who are owner-occupiers or private tenants and who need practical assistance to repair, adapt or improve their homes.  They can:

Call: 01795 417131
Email: stayingput@swale.gov.uk

Rent Deposit Bond Scheme

The rent deposit bond scheme is available to households or individuals who are either homeless or threatened with homelessness and cannot afford the deposit required by the landlord.

It is available to private tenants unable to take up a tenancy because they cannot afford the deposit required. The scheme allows a deposit guarantee to be issued to a landlord up to the value of one calendar months rental. It is available to persons satisfying Swale BC criteria.

Call: 01795 417184
Email: accommodationteam@swale.gov.uk

Kent Landlord Accreditation Scheme

Together, other Kent local authorities and us have established a Kent Landlord Accreditation Scheme. It is part of a UK scheme and is free for landlords to join but they have to complete an initial day training course to which there will be a charge. The scheme has been set up to recognise good landlords and provide information and professional development to allow them to operate a successful business and provide their tenants with safe and good quality accommodation.

Call: 01795 417021
Email: housing@swale.gov.uk
Website: London Landlords

Appeals

Any applications that fall outside of this policy will need to be considered by our Cabinet Committee. Assistance will normally only be available for the measures contained within this policy.

The Head of Housing Services, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Housing, is authorised to switch funds between approved categories in the light of demand and expenditure considerations and to make minor changes and revisions to eligibility criteria arising from changes to benefit /tax credit regimes without the need for formal policy re-adoption.

Tests of Financial Eligibility for Grants and Loans and Definition of Decent Home

Vulnerable Owner Occupier for Decent Home Loans and Emergency Repair Grants

A vulnerable person/household is one in receipt of one of the following:

Decent Homes Standard

A Decent Home is one that meets the following requirements:

  1. It is free of category 1 hazards.
  2. It is in a reasonable state of repair. A dwelling is likely to fail this criterion if either:
    • One or more of the key building components are old and, because of their condition, need replacing or major repair;
    • Two or more of the other building components are old and, because of their condition, need replacing or major repair.
  3. It has reasonably modern facilities and services. 
    • A dwelling is likely to fail this criterion if it lacks three or more of the following:
    • A kitchen that is less than twenty years old;
    • A kitchen with adequate layout and space;
    • A bathroom that is less than thirty years old;
    • An appropriately located bathroom and/or WC;
    • Adequate insulation against external noise, where external noise is a problem;
    • Adequate size and layout of common areas for blocks of flats.
  4. It provides a reasonable degree of thermal comfort. To satisfy this criterion, a dwelling would be expected to have adequate provision for heating throughout and effective insulation.

Conditions - Housing Assistance

View the conditions attached to home repair, heating and insulation loans and grants. To be read with the Housing Assistance Policy.

Postponement of charge

View our policy on the postponement of Financial assistance made under The Regulatory Reform (Housing Assistance) Order 2002.
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