The scheme of assistance for house repairs and adaptations
This information applies to Scotland
What is the scheme of assistance?
The scheme of assistance is the system of financial and non-financial assistance that may be provided by local authorities for private housing which is in disrepair and/or below the tolerable standard or needs adaptation because of a disability.
Financial assistance under the scheme may include grants or loans. Non-financial assistance may include information, advice, and in some cases practical assistance to home owners. Each local authority decides what form of non-financial assistance it provides in which circumstances.
By law, a scheme of assistance must not discriminate against you because of your age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation. In addition, a local authority may have policies which don't allow other types of discrimination.
All local authorities must provide assistance for the following:
- to adapt a house to make it suitable for a disabled person to occupy, and if the adaptations are for the provision of access to standard amenities, this assistance must be a grant
- to reinstate an adapted house, the local authority must provide a grant
- assistance must be given to an owner who has been served with a statutory notice or work order, although this might be information, advice and practical assistance, not financial assistance.
For all other repairs, each local authority has the discretionary power to decide whether financial or non-financial help will be provided. Each local authority must publish a scheme of assistance statement which sets out what financial and non-financial assistance is available in your area. You should be able to find this on your local authority's website.
It must include information about any upper limits on the cost of repair and improvement works covered by grants or loans, the rate of interest charged on any loans and any other charges made in relation to any loans.
Grants for home adaptations if you have a disability
All local authorities must provide a grant to assist someone to adapt a house to allow a disabled person to access standard amenities such as a toilet, bath or shower, wash hand basin and sink. Grants should also be available to reinstate a house which has been adapted.
The minimum level of grant you will receive is 80% of the eligible cost.
If you receive any of the following benefits you are eligible for 100% of the grant:-
- Income Support
- income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
- guarantee credit part of Pension Credit
- income-related Employment and Support Allowance
- Universal Credit.
However a local authority has discretion to pay more than 80% grant to someone not statutorily entitled to 100%, in circumstances outlined in its statement of assistance.
Work to provide a house extension to provide additional living accommodation for a disabled person does not qualify for a statutory grant unless it is the provision of standard amenities (a toilet or bathroom facilities). You should refer to your local authority to find out about any discretionary grant available for a house extension for a disabled person.
It is unlawful for a local authority to apply a fixed upper limit on the cost of adaptations work covered by a grant. The only limit is that provided by the assessment of need, which will set out what work is required to meet your need.
There is a series of leaflets produced by the Scottish Government which give information about making adaptations to a house for a disabled person. These are all available from the Scottish Government website and are listed below:
Financial and non-financial help with statutory repairs (work notices)
If you have been served with a statutory order or notice to repair, maintain or improve a property that you own, the local authority must provide assistance, but not necessarily financial assistance. Information, advice and/or practical assistance may be provided instead.
You should check the scheme of assistance statement to see whether you can apply for financial assistance. The local authority has discretion over whether to accept or reject your application.
Financial and non-financial help with non-statutory repairs
Local authorities do not have a have a duty to provide a grant for non-statutory repairs and improvements, such as the replacement of lead pipes. However they have the power to give a grant in any circumstances of their choosing. You should check the circumstances in which a grant might be considered for repair or improvement work with your local authority. This will be outlined in the scheme of assistance statement.
If a grant is given the local authority will decide what is a reasonable cost for the work, which is called the approved expense. The local authority can set an upper limit called the eligible expense limit.
How do I apply for help with house repairs or adaptations?
Owners, and in some circumstances, private tenants, can apply to the scheme of assistance.
Before you apply, you should refer to your local authority's scheme of assistance statement for information on what help is available in your area.
If you want to get any adaptations made you should consult an experienced adviser at your local Citizens Advice Bureau - see where to get advice.