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Loans and grants to improve your home

A range of loans and grants are available for homeowners to help improve the warmth, safety or security of their homes.

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Disabled Facilities Grant

If you are a disabled person and you need adaptations to your home, you may qualify for a Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG). A DFG s a means-tested grant which offers help with the cost of necessary adaptations to homes to provide better facilities and freedom of movement in and around the home including:

  • Stairlifts
  • Ramps
  • Level access showers

The grant is up to the maximum value of £50,000, however if you have a regular income or savings you may have to contribute towards the cost of the works. No contribution is required towards an adaptation for a child.

To apply

Before you can apply for a DFG your needs must be assessed by an Occupational Therapist based within the Oxfordshire County Council’s Adult Social Care Team.

You can request an assessment by an Occupational Therapist by phone on 0345 050 7666 or by email socialandhealthcare@oxfordshire.gov.uk or contact Oxfordshire County Council via their website.

Flexible Home Improvement Loan for over 60s

If you are a homeowner aged 60 or over we could help you with a Flexible Home Improvement Loan.

We are currently offering loans at a low interest rate of 3.5 per cent. The rate of interest is linked to the Bank of England’s base rate so this rate will fluctuate but will always be lower than loans commercially available, with a ceiling of 7 per cent. You do not need to make any repayments during your lifetime, although the loan and any interest must be repaid if your home is sold or you (the owner) cease to occupy it. If preferred, you can set up a payment plan to make regular monthly payments or occasional payments to suit, and you can pay the loan off at any time without penalty.

There is no catch. We are being funded by the Government to help people stay in their own homes.

Who is eligible?

Any homeowner aged 60 or over.  In the case of joint ownership, both of you must be at least 60 years old.

Scheme set up, costs and legal fees

  • Any loan is secured by a charge on the property.
  • There is an annual charge of £15 to cover the cost of loan administration and statements
  • In some cases the council may need a valuation of your home to confirm the equity is sufficient to cover the loan, but this is unlikely to be necessary in most cases
  • There will be a fee for loan documentation and registration of the legal charge.  The fee will be added to the loan and is currently £80 for loans up to £50,000.

For further information please contact Private Sector Housing

Loans are considered for works that will make the home safer, warmer, healthier or more comfortable for the occupants. Examples  include:

  • Essential repairs and maintenance
  • Renewable energy generation technology such as solar panels and heat pumps etc.
  • Central heating or improvements to heating and hot water systems
  • Insulation and energy saving measures
  • Replacement doors and windows
  • Roof and structural repairs
  • Replacement bathroom suites
  • Installation of level-access showers
  • Plumbing and drainage repairs
  • Rewiring
  • Replacement kitchens
  • Burglar alarms and home security
  • Replacement guttering, soffits and cladding
  • Works associated with eradicating dampness, wet rot, dry rot and woodworm
  • Installation of stairlifts or other adaptations

Dementia assistance grant

The discretionary Dementia Assistance Grant helps persons living with dementia to make changes to their homes that support them to continue to live there safely and for longer. The maximum grant available is £2,500.
The grant can cover dementia friendly adaptations within the home such as:

Replacing floor coverings that cause confusion or safety issues

Replacing tiling or bathroom fittings to improve visual perception

Changing cupboards to glass fronted doors, to enable recognition of where items are in the kitchen

Changing lighting schemes to improve visibility around the home

Installing noise reduction measures

Ensuring gardens and paths are level and free from hazards

The works can be facilitated by the council’s Home Improvement Agency or an alternative contractor. The grant excludes contributions towards care packages or Assistive Technology already funded by Adult Social Care teams.
The Dementia Assistance Grant will only be available whilst funds permit as it is a discretionary grant.

Eligibility
Any person with a medical diagnosis of dementia who is an owner-occupier, private tenant or a Registered Provider tenant. The grant is not subject to a financial assessment. We will, however, require a letter confirming the
diagnosis from a GP, qualified medical professional or specialist.
The works must be reasonable and practical and relate to the applicant’s dementia needs. Only one application per applicant will be considered per year.

How to apply
The council can receive referrals from Adult Social Care, hospital teams or the voluntary and community sector. Referrals can be made by email to the Private Sector Housing Team, providing details of the applicant and the works required. Referrals will not be accepted by family members.
Works may only be carried out in accordance with council procedures. Grants must be approved before works are commenced and grants will only be paid on successful completion of the works.

Essential Housing Repair grant

Essential Housing Repair Grant (ERG) are small grants available to improve the warmth, comfort, condition, safety or security of homes.
Grants can be used for:
• Minor repairs and improvements to assist someone to stay in their ownhome
• Significant works to repair the property to a safe and weatherproof condition
• Energy measures, except where an alternative grant is available

The ERG may also be used to provide financial assistance to qualifying owners of mobile homes or canal boats to cover essential repairs or necessary energy efficiency measures.

Eligibility
Applicants must be owner occupiers with three-years residency and in receipt of either a passporting benefit, or have no financial contribution following a DFG means test.
The maximum ERG that can be awarded is £10,000.

Grants are subject to the availability of funding

See the Housing Assistance Grants and Loans Policy for more information and terms and conditions.

Empty home loan

This scheme allows property owners to borrow money with a five-year flexible loan to bring their empty home up to a habitable standard.
Eligibility
Empty Homes Loans are available to owners of empty properties and persons purchasing an empty property. The maximum loan will normally be £20,000.
Loans above £20,000 will be considered on a case by case basis and may be awarded in exceptional circumstances; for example, where a landlord is intending to rent the property through White Horse Lettings, the council’s inhouse social lettings agency.
A credit check is carried out and a poor credit history may result in the application being declined. Loans cannot be provided to applicants who have been previously declared as bankrupt.

See the Housing Assistance Grants and Loans Policy for more information and terms and conditions.

Energy Saving Grants

Free and impartial advice on energy bill discounts and grants and funding for energy saving home improvements is available from Better Housing Better Health or call 0800 107 0044.

There are a range of funding schemes available to improve the energy efficiency of your home:

  • Sustainable Warmth Grants – funding to provide a range of energy efficiency improvements. If eligible, you could receive up to £10,000 for homes connected to the mains gas grid, and £25,000 for homes not connected to the mains gas grid. See Oxfordshire County Council’s website for more information and to register your interest. Available until March 2023.
  • Boiler Upgrade Scheme – up to £6,000 towards the upfront installation cost of your chosen renewable heating system. Open to all eligible homeowners with a valid Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) and no outstanding recommendations for loft or cavity wall insulation. The grant is applied for by your MCS (Microgeneration Certification Scheme) accredited installer and should be discounted from the total cost of your installation within their quote. Cosy Homes Oxfordshire has further guidance.
  • Energy Company Obligation – our eligibility criteria for Energy Company Obligation (ECO) are set out in our statement of intent. Any resident who believes that they may be eligible for this help should contact Better Housing Better Health.
  • Fuel Poverty Grant –administered by the National Energy Foundation, providing grants of up to £1,000 for essential energy saving repairs and home improvements with a specific focus on energy efficiency and energy saving measures. Anyone who thinks they may be eligible should contact Better Housing Better Health. Grants are available to homeowners and private tenants who:
    • Receive certain qualifying benefits, or
    • are in fuel poverty, or
    • meet the current Energy Company Obligation (ECO) criteria, or
    • meet the criteria in the councils current ECO Flexible Eligibility.
  • Warm Homes Grant –a discretionary grant of up to £1,000 to ‘top up’ the Fuel Poverty Grant where the costs of energy efficiency, energy saving measures or essential energy saving repairs exceed the Fuel Poverty Grant maximum. For recipients of the Fuel Poverty Grant, the National Energy Foundation will apply to the council for the Warm Homes Grant on their behalf.

Home Energy Conservation Act

Under the Home Energy Conservation Act (HECA) we must report on measures we’re taking to improve local residential energy efficiency. Download the latest report below.

Other services - help with small household repairs, mobility scooter storage, issues with hoarding and the stairlift recycling scheme

HANDYPERSON SERVICES
The councils’, in partnership with Mears Home Improvements Ltd, provide a chargeable Handyperson Service for a wide range of jobs which can include:

  • Doors/Windows, repairs and adjustments
  • Minor joinery work
  • Minor plumbing work
  • Minor electrical work e.g. wiring plugs and changing lightbulbs
  • Installation of aids e.g. grab rails
  • Installations of adaptations e.g. ramps
  • Fitting locks and security chains
  • Fitting smoke alarms & sensors
  • Draught proofing
  • Gates/Fencing/Wall repairs
  • Fitting key safes (never get locked out again)
  • Flat pack furniture assembly

This list is not exhaustive but generally work covered by this scheme includes small jobs around the home that can no longer be managed or undertaken by the applicant. Often these jobs can prevent accidents or falls in the home and are aimed at helping people maintain their independence and improve their safety and quality of life.

Who can use the scheme?
Residents of South Oxfordshire & Vale of White Horse District Councils who are vulnerable older persons (over 60 years of age).
Priority will be given to those households and individuals who are disabled or in receipt of income support or other means tested benefits.

Accessing the service
The service is provided by Mears Home Improvement Agency who may be contacted on 0845 266 8941.

Handyperson Charges
The service costs to the customer are based upon an hourly charge (currently £20 per hour) plus the cost of materials. The customer is not charged for the travel time to and from the property incurred by the handyperson at the start/end of the job. The handyperson will (if required) collect materials and equipment as required while at the property. A quote will be provided before any work takes place.

SCOOTER STORAGE
Over recent years there has been an increase in the use of motorised mobility scooters to assist people to live independently in the community. The scooters enable users to access key services and to stay in touch with family
and friends. In most instances mobility scooters can be stored safely and securely inside a client’s property and as a result we will recommend this as the first option for all enquiries.
However, where there is insufficient space to store the mobility scooter and this poses a health and safety risk, the councils will assess Adult Social Care OT referrals that identify the need for scooter storage. Financial assistance may be available towards the cost of installation, subject to a financial assessment.
The councils will accept referrals submitted in accordance with Adult Social Care OT guidelines for Scooter Storage as well as on a case by case basis.

DRY HOARDING
Hoarding is a complex, often long-term mental health disorder and usually consists of excessive clutter, difficulty in getting rid of items when they are no longer useful or needed and/or excessive buying/other acquiring and difficulty organising possessions.
Hoarding becomes a concern when people collect and keep things to the point where it encroaches significantly on their living space, which cannot be properly used, and where it presents health and safety risks, as well as
causes stress and impacts on day to day living.
Where an individual has been in the care of the Adult Social Care Team, Social Services or NHS and wishes to return to their home, a referral can be made to the council for assistance.
Financial assistance is available to engage contractors to remove health and safety risks and to facilitate cleaning to enable the person to be discharged and to return to their property.

RECYCLING OF STAIRLIFTS
Where possible, the councils will recycle stairlifts through a stairlift recycling scheme. This scheme is offered in partnership with our current stairlift provider Stannah and recycling will only be available on Stannah products.
The Stannah recycling scheme will enable the councils to utilise previously installed stairlifts which may no longer be of use. These will be re-installed into  another client’s property where an OT assessment identifies the need for such assistive equipment.
The recycled stairlifts are subjected to a full safety and equipment fault check and once installed are provided with a standard warranty.
Please visit: ageukmobility.co.uk/stairlift-advice for further information on

The Housing Assistance grants and loans policy in full

The full details of the all the grants and loans are in the policy document.

You can download the Housing Assistance Grants and Loans Policy