To assist landlords in East Suffolk, grants of up to £15,000 are available towards the cost of certain eligible works which help to improve the standard of residential accommodation above the minimum statutory standard, whilst retaining a supply of affordable rented properties in the private sector.
Affordable rent is linked to the Local Housing Allowance levels as used in calculating Housing Benefit/Universal Credit payments.
When working with landlords there is a balance to be had between enforcing the minimum standards, which landlords are required to meet, and supporting landlords to deliver better than the minimum standard. Where the spirit of cooperation between the two parties fails, the council reserves the right to withdraw any offer of grant and proceed with achieving improvements using enforcement powers.
Grants of up to £15,000 are available towards the cost of eligible works. We will calculate the cost of eligible works, usually from two independent estimates, up to the maximum.
The grants are not means tested. They are a simple 50% grant of the eligible cost of works to meet remedying category 1 and high 2 hazards or structural repair works, where the costs of repair for one major item of repair are £1,000 or above and 100% for the additional cost towards a target EPC C or above, including LED lighting, renewable heating or high cost insulation up to the maximum grant. Grants are not given if the cost of works is less than £1,000. The council will also expect landlords to apply first to other externally funded schemes to support these works such as those promoted by the Government under their Green Homes Agenda or via the Energy Companies Obligation. Renovation grant can then be used to fund any shortfall.
Where the contractor is related to the applicant, or is a company that the applicant (or member of his/her family) is a director or employee of that contractor or company, the grant will only cover the cost of materials used.
The grant will require conditions to be met relating to the level of rent charged for the property. Details of these conditions are given in a deed of agreement that you will need to sign. The main requirement is that the property will be rented out at an affordable reasonable rent for a period of 15 years or 20 years for an empty home grant. You will be required to provide confirmation of this from time to time. If you fail to rent at the agreed rent level the grant becomes repayable.
The grant is also repayable if you fail to provide documentary proof of rent levels or if ownership of the property is transferred.
Payment will be made directly to the contractor carrying out the works. This must be one of the contractors that originally estimated for the work.
You will be asked to confirm your satisfaction with the work prior to grant payment and the council will only pay for works that appear to be properly carried out. If you have a contribution to make towards the cost of works this must be paid before any grant money is issued.
In areas of housing need, the council may consider private sector leasing arrangements and fund any required works from the renovation grant with these costs being repaid from rental income. For more information on this option please contact our Private Sector Housing Team.
Initial enquiries can be made by contacting our Private Sector Housing Team.
If we feel that you may qualify for a grant we will then arrange to come and survey the property and provide you with an application pack.
All grants offered are subject to available budget levels and must help to meet the council’s strategic aims in relation to housing matters.