Housing adaptations and repairs
What is Private Sector Renewal?
With as many as 9000 privately owned homes across the County Borough requiring repairs and improvements to bring them up to modern living standards, the Council is responsible for administering a range of Welsh Assembly Government grants that allow homeowners to carry out this work subject to adequate resources being available.
The Private Sector Housing Renewal Policy forms the basis for the distribution of these grants. The policy targets elderly and vulnerable residents while focusing on disadvantaged areas and the policy makes grants for mandatory disabled facilities its main priority.
What grants are available?
Depending on available finance, the following grants are available from Bridgend County Borough Council and are listed in order of priority rating:
Disabled Facilities Grant [DFGs]
The disabled facilities grant is a mandatory ‘means-tested’ grant, to help meet the cost of adapting a property (this can include mobile homes or houseboats) in which a disabled person lives. Owners, occupiers and tenants may apply for the grant. The means testing of applicants for a Disabled Facilities Grant will be used to determine the level of contribution, if any, that the applicant would need to contribute towards the overall costs of the works. The adaptations subject to the grant must meet the specific needs of the disabled person as identified by the Authority’s Occupational Therapist (OT).
Discretionary Disabled Facilities Lifetime Grant (DDLG)
This is a discretionary grant to cover the cost of professional and ancillary fees in relation to works approved under a DFG that exceed that mandatory limit of £36,000. It applies to formal DFG offers made on or after the adoption of this policy. This is a grant of last resort, and will be awarded only when it can be evidenced that not carrying out the works would lead to certain and permanent loss of independence, and an immediate need for social care support which is disproportionate to the cost of the excess works. It will be awarded only when consideration has been given in consultation with the OT Service to reduce the scheme of works or relocate to an adapted or more easily adapted property. The use of the grant is limited to professional and ancillary fees only.
Adapted Home Relocation Grant (AHRG)
This is a discretionary grant aimed at assisting disabled people to move house, where this is more cost effective to the Authority than the award of a Disabled Facilities Grant. It will help assist with the cost of moving home and providing minor adaptations and is subject to a financial means test. The applicant will be given the option to apply for an Adapted Home Relocation Grant to move to a property that can be more easily adapted, or to a property identified through the Bridgend Accessible Homes project. An Adapted Home Relocation Grant will also be available to an existing Registered Social Landlord tenant to vacate an already adapted property which they do not require, and be relocated, thereby making an adapted property available to a disabled person.
Low Cost Adaptations Grant (LCAG)
The purpose of this grant is to enable adaptations that would normally be dealt with as a DFG to be processed more quickly and efficiently. It is applied where the applicant requires low cost and easily delivered adaptations. The works are undertaken through the Authority’s appointed agent.
Healthy Home Assistance (HHA)
This is discretionary assistance for small scale works of repair or to mitigate a serious hazard that will adversely affect the health and/or safety of the applicant, and seeks to avoid the hospitalisation and potential requirement for major Disabled Facility Grant work at the property through undertaking works to prevent trips and falls. It is intended to provide small scale safety assistance for those most vulnerable in the community. The grant is for owner occupiers who are Bridgend Care and Repair clients (older and disabled persons). The works are undertaken by Bridgend Care and Repair, or their agent.
Comfort Safety and Security (CSS)
The purpose of this grant is to provide owner-occupiers with assistance to undertake small scale works to a property for those most vulnerable and unable to organise works themselves. Assistance is for minor repair work for owner occupiers who are Bridgend Care and Repair clients (older and disabled persons). The works are undertaken by Bridgend Care and Repair, or their agent.
Empty Homes Grant (EHG)
The Empty Homes Grant forms part of the Authority’s overall approach to tackling empty properties in the Borough and will assist in increasing the supply of affordable rented accommodation which is necessary due to expected constraints on the Social Housing Grant Programme. The Authority will determine the works necessary to bring a property back into use, in consultation with Public Protection Department. Works must not have commenced before the application is approved, and must be completed within 6 months of the approval.
Empty Property Loans (EPL)
Empty Property loans are being made available through the Welsh Government (WG) ‘Houses into Homes’ initiative which forms part of the Authority’s overall approach to tackling empty properties in the Borough to enable the renovation and improvement of single properties or the conversion of empty properties into a number of units, so that they are suitable for use as residential accommodation. The Authority will determine the works necessary to bring a property back into use, in consultation with the owner(s) and a schedule of works will be agreed with the applicant prior to the offer of any loan and will form part of the loan conditions. Works must not have commenced before the schedule of works is issued, and must have commenced and be completed within the timescales set out in the Loan Agreement (this to be agreed on an individual case by case basis).
Group Repair Schemes (GRS)
Bridgend Group Repair Schemes involve the repair and refurbishment of a group of properties. The schemes are organised and managed on behalf of or directly by the Authority. Only those properties in a declared Renewal Area may be included in a Group Repair Scheme.
Homes In Town Grant (HIT)
This grant is designed to encourage town centre living in the County Borough. The Homes in Towns Grant (HIT) forms part of the Authority’s overall approach to tackling vacant space in the Town Centres of the Borough, to breathe live and vitality back into the Town Centre areas and to increase the supply of affordable accommodation in key hubs of the Borough. The HIT grant will be prioritised in the target area that mirrors the Townscape Heritage Initiative grant area in the first instance, however key buildings will also be considered in the wider Town Centre area that demonstrate a business case to attract additional grant aid. These areas are outlined in the map attached at Appendix B. An application will only to be considered, if in the Authority’s opinion, the property is suitable for letting through a referral agreement with the Council or its appointed agent.
The Authority will determine the works necessary to bring a property back into use. Works must not have commenced before the application is approved, and must be commenced within 6 months and completed within 12 months of the approval. This grant can be combined with other grants such as Townscape Heritage Initiative and empty Property loans available from the Council, to a combined maximum value of £150,000, per applicant, per annum.