A home renovation project can be made a whole lot easier with home improvement grants – but where and how do you get one?
Getting home improvement grants – and potentially some extra cash – toward finishing that long delayed home renovation almost sounds like a dream come true. But first you need to find out if you eligible for such a grant, and how to apply for one.
What is a Home Improvement Grant?
A home improvement grant is a tax-free busary, cash reward or voucher entitling a home-owner to carry out renovations or refurbishments on their property at a lower price than it would usually cost from the private sector. This could be to help with specific supplies or materials; a list of contacts of reliable servicemen and contractors; or some help or discounts from the local council in some other way.
It doesn’t mean you will get the work done in full by the local authority, nor does it mean that you will be able to carry out a home improvement project free of charge.
How is the Grant Tested?
To get a home improvement grant you have to prove you or your home are in urgent need of renovations or refurbishments that can make a positive impact to your day-to-day life. This means that the grants are based on and/or usually rewarded in the following areas:
- If you and your family are on a low-income.
- If you are the sole provider in a single parent family.
- If you live in a council-owned property.
- If you are elderly and in receipt of state pension (also known as an elderly home improvement grant).
- If you are in receipt of Job Seeker’s Allowance.
- If you suffer from some kind of on-going mental health issue; a physical disability; or live with dependents who identify as such (also known as a disabled home improvement grant or Disabilities Facilities Grant).
This doesn’t mean that grants will be automatically rewarded to anyone who falls into these categories – you still have to apply first, and make sure your proposed project is a suitable one that deserves extra help.
What kinds of Home Improvements are suited to the Grant?
To prevent grants and the tax-payer being abused by potential applicants, home renovations and refurbishment projects must be categorised as essential maintenance OR desirable for the improvement of day-to-day living for the occupants to even warrant consideration. This means you can’t just claim for an extension or new conservatory – the project has to be more important than that. Most home improvement grants are usually rewarded in the following areas:
- Boiler repairs or replacements and central heating upgrades.
- Cavity wall and external wall insulation.
- Pipe work and plumbing repairs.
- Fire alarm and carbon monoxide alarm installation and safety checks.
- Security alarm installation.
- General building, roofing and plastering work.
- Windows and doors replacement and repair, including lock upgrades.
- Electrical re-wiring and socket replacement or upgrades.
- Foundation and groundwork maintenance.
- Disability improvement works (e.g. stair lift or handrail installation).
Where do I apply for Home Improvement Grants?
If you believe that you qualify for a home improvement grant, and you are sure your project can be classified as essential improvement works, then you can apply for a grant from one of the following places:
- The council or local authority (including for hardship funds).
- National energy suppliers (for gas and electricity upgrades).
- The Chief Fire Officers Association (for fire alarm testing, maintenance and upgrades).
- The UK Government (via their planning portal website).
Your application will usually be subject to rigorous controls, followed by a home inspection, before it is approved or denied. Remember that these grants are rare and competitive, so you should never rely on them to pay for a project that is already underway – it is always important to wait for the final verdict first to be sure you can afford it!