Low-income families with a need to improve their living conditions may find the following blog post useful as we discuss the different grants that are available for improvement in the UK for them. We will also discuss the options available to low-income families who are homeowners, tenants, claiming benefits or have a disabled family member for whom home improvements need to be carried out.

What Grants Are Available For Home Improvement By Low-Income Families?

Families on a low income can first contact their local council office if they are in need of grants for home improvement. The local authorities may offer them to adapt, repair or improve their home; depending on the applicant’s circumstances and requirement for changes. The local council may be able to provide grants (and interest-free loans in certain cases) for labour, tools and material required for repair work, free or low-cost surveys or even connect you to builders who can carry out the home improvement project at a subsidised fee. 

Another option available to low-income families is to contact Home Improvement Agencies that provide financial assistance for the following types of home improvement projects:

  • conduct a survey of the property and advise on the living conditions as well as prepare a home improvement plan
  • arrange external funding for repairs
  • carry out the repair work 
  • manage fitting of small aids in your home
  • install security measures such as locks, chains and viewers

If you are a tenant (whether in council housing or private property) you will need written approval from your landlord or council authority (whichever applies) before the home improvement project starts; even if it means making minor adaptations to your residence. 

If you are a tenant and the nature of your home improvement is due to environmental hazards such as dampness, excessive heat or cold, lack of space, pollutants such as asbestos, poor hygiene or lack of water supply, you need not ask for a grant in such cases as it is the responsibility of the landlord to provide solutions to such problems. You can share your concerns with them first; however, if they fail to take any action, you should inform your local council authority who will then deal with the issue.

Under the UK Government’s ECO (Energy Company Obligation) scheme, households with a low income can avail of grants that aim to reduce their energy bills through the free installation of heat saving measures. Whether you are a homeowner or tenant, if you fulfil the following conditions, you can apply for a grant under the ECO scheme: 

  • on low to median income, 
  • claiming means-tested benefits or
  • your home has an EPC (low energy performance certificate)

Depending on the nature of the work required for home improvement and the ability to meet the eligibility criteria for benefits, some low-income families in the UK can also claim the following grants in the UK:

  • The Green Deal Scheme
  • Renewable Heat Incentive
  • The Winter Fuel Payment
  • The Warm Home Discount
  • Cold Weather Payment

What Disability Grants Are Available For Home Improvement By Low-Income Families?

Low-income families who require a grant for home improvements due to a disability faced by a household member can apply for a Disabled Facilities Grant through their local council office. 

This grant can only be made available to applicants under the following conditions:

  • The work needed to improve your living conditions is absolutely necessary and appropriate to meet the needs of the disabled family member.
  • The nature of work is reasonable and practical; keeping into consideration the age and condition of the home that the applicant lives in.

A Disabled Facilities Grant can provide you with £30,000 in England and £36,000 in Wales. However, your council can add to this amount should they have the desired funds and find it essential to do so. It will mainly cover the expense for the following adaptations to your home:

  • widening doors or providing rooms to make movement around the house easier
  • making a downstairs bathroom for ease of access
  • providing a stairlift to access rooms across floors
  • making changes to your bathroom or kitchen
  • improve or provide a heating system

If you are a tenant, you will need written permission from the landlord to make the necessary improvements to the place you live in.

What Support Is Available For Home Improvement By Low-Income Families Who Own A Home?

If you are a homeowner who has taken a home improvement loan, you may be able to find support from the government in the form of “Support for Mortage Interest” (SMI) to pay for your interest payments.

Home improvements covered by an SMI include the following:

  • repairing the heating system
  • installing a hob or oven; bathroom essentials such as bath and sink, electric lights or sockets, fuel or rubbish storage, a drainage system
  • repairing an unsafe structure (or part of it) such as the roof
  • providing damp-proofing or insulation 
  • making changes to provide fresh air or natural light
  • making adaptations for a disabled person

To claim an SMI, you should be claiming one of the following benefits:

  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Pension Credit
  • Universal Credit

However, an SMI is a loan and not a grant. Therefore, it must be paid back when you sell your home or give it to someone else to live in.

Conclusion:

The above content has highlighted a wide range of grants for home improvement that families on a low income may qualify for. Depending on their eligibility and requirements, they may choose to avail the option that best suits their needs. 

FAQs: What Grants Are Available For Home Improvement By Low-Income Families?

What grants are available for home improvements in the UK?

Grants available in the UK for home improvements include The Green Deal Scheme,  Energy Company Obligation (ECO4), Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), The Winter Fuel Payment, The Warm Home Discount and Cold Weather Payment.

Is the government giving grants for home improvements?

Yes, the government of the UK is giving grants for home improvements. These include The Green Deal Scheme,  Energy Company Obligation, Renewable Heat Incentive, The Winter Fuel Payment, The Warm Home Discount and Cold Weather Payment. Additionally, the mayor of London has announced a grant of £5,500 for eligible applicants to improve their energy efficiency through the Warmer Homes funding.

Can pensioners get grants for home improvements?

Yes, pensioners can get the same grants as other people claim for home improvements. However, each grant has its own eligibility criteria and a means test for which the pensioners would need to qualify for.

Can you get a grant to rewire your house in the UK?

Yes, if you are on low income and are unable to afford the rewiring in your house in the UK, you can ask for a government grant to adapt or improve your home.

Who qualifies for a boiler grant?

If you are a homeowner who claims benefits such as income support or disability living allowance and your boiler is broken, you can qualify for a boiler grant under the ECO scheme.

References:

Help with home improvements – Citizens Advice

Grants for Home Improvements | UK Energy Support

Government Grants For House Repairs UK | UK Energy Support

Housing Grants – Support for Low-Income Families | Lawble

Factsheet 67 – Home improvements and repairs

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