Wealden District Council
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Private Housing Financial Assistance Policy

Private Housing Financial Assistance Policy 2021 – 2026

In this page:

Types of Assistance Available:
Mandatory Disabled Facilities Grant
Disabled Persons Relocation Assistance
Disabled Facilities “top-up” Assistance
Share Equity Loan
Dementia Assistance
Hospital Discharge Assistance
Hardship Assistance
Feasibility Assistance
Innovation and prevention adaptations
Emergency Minor Works Assistance
Housing Renewal Loans
Application process, including preliminary enquiries
General Conditions applicable to all types of assistance
Implementation, Monitoring and Review
Accessing the Service

See the tabs below for detailed information

The council can offer financial assistance in the form of grants or loans towards help improving, repairs and adaptation of the private housing stock in the Wealden area.

Housing conditions can have an adverse impact on the health & safety and wellbeing of residents. Poor quality and unsafe housing increases the risk of ill-health or injury to occupants. Vulnerable groups including older people, disabled people or families with young children are of particular concern as they are more susceptible to these risks. Whilst the primary responsibility for maintenance of a property lies with the owner, it is acknowledged that some people, especially those in vulnerable groups, do not have the resources to keep their houses in good repair and require assistance to help them facilitate the repair or adaptation of their property.

Investment in private sector housing is essential in order to ensure the continued integrity and viability of the private sector stock. Our priority is to make sure that we help facilitate those most in need access assistance and ensuring that that assistance continues to be sustainable and provide ongoing assistance in the future.

The Council is committed to:
• Improving resident’s quality of life by working with homeowners to tackle poor housing conditions and meet local needs.
• Enabling vulnerable residents to improve their property to meet the Decent Homes standard.
• Enabling people to sustain and remain in their homes through disabled adaptations or have access to suitable housing which can meet their needs.

The Regulatory Reform (Housing Assistance) (England and Wales) Order 2002 provides local councils with a general power to offer grants, loans, and other forms of assistance to support private sector housing renewal, and meet the needs of people with disabilities.

The Housing Grants Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 and the regulations made under it remain in force conferring a statutory power on the Council with respect to the administration of mandatory Disabled Facilities grants (DFGs).

This policy provides a sustainable form of financial assistance primarily based on a responsive, responsible loan based culture to enable the recycling of money used to fund financial assistance. It details the help that is available, who can apply for assistance, the mechanisms for accessing that help and the conditions that apply.

This policy document replaces the Private Sector Housing Financial Assistance Policy 2017 – 2020.

This policy is in three parts:

1) Mandatory DFGs – sets out the mandatory legal framework for DFGs in accordance with the 96 Act including eligibility criteria and the prescribed means test assessment.
2) Discretionary disabled assistance – sets out the Council’s policy to provide discretionary interventions to promote independent living and wellbeing. The Regulatory Reform (Housing Assistance) (England and Wales) Order 2002 (RRO) and the Better Care Fund enable Councils to support the wider prevention agenda of housing, social care and health authorities.
3) Discretionary housing renewal assistance – sets out the assistance available to assist homeowners in improving the condition of non-decent homes, improving energy efficiency and bringing empty properties back into use.

Mandatory Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG)


Mandatory Disabled Facilities Grants are available to help applicants meet the cost of adaptations to a disabled person’s home.


All owner occupiers, tenants and licensees are eligible to apply providing they can satisfy the criteria of Sections 19 to 22 of the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996. Occupants of mobile homes may also apply for assistance.

The disabled person must be registered or registerable as disabled.

Scope of works

Grant is available for the following purposes:
• Adaptations to aid access into and around the dwelling
• Ensuring the safety of a disabled person
• Provision of suitable bathroom facilities, sleeping facilities, heating and access to lighting and power
• Provision of suitable kitchen facilities or adaptation of existing kitchen
• Adaptation to enable the disabled person to care for dependent residents

Works are available to the common parts of buildings containing flats where the disabled person is an occupant of one of the flats.

Where more than one solution meets the needs of the disabled person, the Council will only grant assist the most cost effective option.

Amount of assistance

All applications are subject to the standard test of resources. This calculates the amount the applicant or disabled person has to contribute to the cost of the eligible works. The test of resources is carried out in accordance with the Housing Renewal Grants Regulations 1996 (as amended) which is subject to revisions from time to time.

If the disabled person is a child or in receipt of certain income related “passport” benefits, the test is not applied. “Passport” benefits include:

• Income based job seekers allowance
• Income based employment and support allowance
• Income support
• Guaranteed pension credit
• Housing benefit
• Working tax credit and with an income below £15,050 (subject to change)
• Children’s tax credit and with an income below £15,050 (subject to change)
• Universal Credit (this includes any amount of Universal Credit which is being introduced from 2013 onwards as a replacement for working age benefits and tax credits).

If the disabled person has contributed to a disabled facilities grant within the last ten years (five years for a tenant) their contribution will be reduced by any previous contributions.

The maximum grant available is currently £30,000 less any assessed contribution to the cost of works as determined by the test of resources.



The property to be adapted must be the disabled person’s main or only residence.

The Council must be satisfied that it is reasonable and practical to carry out the proposed works having regard to the age and condition of the dwelling or building. They must also be satisfied that the works are necessary and appropriate to meet the needs of the disabled person and must therefore consult with the East Sussex County Council’s Occupational Therapists or Sensory Impairment Team.

Applications must be accompanied by certificates of future occupation. The consent of the owner will also be required where this is not the applicant.

Where a disabled facilities grant in excess of £5,000 is awarded to a person who has a qualifying interest in the premises on which the works were carried out, repayment by the recipient of such part of the grant that exceeds £5,000 (but not exceeding a repayment value greater than £10,000) will be required if the property is disposed of by sale, assignment, transfer or otherwise within 10 years of the certified date.

Repayment will be exempt where the property is sold following the death of the disabled occupant, and where no other remaining occupants require the adaptations. On deciding whether to require repayment the council must take into account the extent to which the recipient of the grant would suffer financial hardship if they were required to repay the grant, whether disposal of the premises is to enable the recipient to take up employment or change location of their employment, for reasons connected with physical or mental health or well being or whether the disposal is to enable the recipient to live with, near any person who is disabled or infirm and in need of care which the recipient intends to provide.

Where grant aid is provided for specialist equipment (e.g stairlifts) and the person who received the grant no longer resides in the property or ceases to use the specialist equipment provided within 5 years of completion of the grant, the Council may exercise its right to reclaim the equipment and allocate it for reuse elsewhere.

Note: All the following assistance packages are discretionary and as such are subject to capital funds being available. For this reason the provision of this assistance may be limited or discontinued at any time.

Disabled Persons Relocation Assistance


To provide assistance with moving costs where major adaptations to adapt a property under a Mandatory Disabled Facilities Grant are not considered cost effective or feasible and where the applicant would consider relocating to a previously adapted or more adaptable property.


Available to owner occupiers and private tenants where it is not reasonable or practicable to adapt to meet the disabled person’s assessed needs.

Scope of Works

Costs associated with moving including valuation fees, mortgage arrangement fees, solicitors fees, relocation of specialist equipment for the disabled person, estate agent fees, stamp duty and removal costs. It does not include an allowance towards the cost of a new property, nor allowances towards furnishing and fittings etc (other than those considered specialist equipment). The assistance is available whether it includes moving to another local authority area or staying within the Wealden District.

Amount of Assistance

Maximum of £10,000 less any determined contribution from the test of resources.


Applicants will be subject to the DFG statutory test of resources unless in receipt of one of the “passport” benefits.

The new property must either be already adapted or be adaptable at a reasonable cost.

However, if the property to which the applicant is relocating requires adaptations and the applicant will be making a mandatory disabled facilities grant application in respect of that property and they will be liable for a contribution towards the cost of adaptation work, no deduction shall be made for any contribution in respect of this relocation assistance.

No further relocation assistance would be payable within a period of five years unless there are exceptional circumstances.

Applications are approved on a strict case by case assessment and the Council has the discretion to determine the reasonableness of each case.

Disabled Facilities “top-up” Assistance


To provide assistance with costs for disabled adaptation works deemed necessary and appropriate and eligible for a mandatory disabled facilities grant, but where the cost of grant eligible works exceeds the £30,000 maximum mandatory DFG grant limit. The maximum amount of mandatory DFG was set by statute in 2008. Since this date there has been a general increase in build costs which now results in the maximum £30,000 being insufficient to provide the adaptations required to meet the needs of some DFG applicants.


As per mandatory DFG

Scope of Works
As per mandatory DFG

Amount of Assistance
Maximum of £20,000 limit.

See mandatory DFG

In addition to general terms and conditions;
Any top up assistance awarded over the mandatory DFG limit will be registered as a local land charge in full in addition to the charge registered as part of the mandatory DFG funding. The charge will be secured against the property for 10 years (as per the mandatory DFG charge).

Shared Equity Loan

To provide capital assistance to occupiers whose current home cannot be adapted or is not suitable for their long term disability needs and wishes to purchase an alternative property.

Owner occupiers, who are existing home owners, or currently in a shared ownership scheme, and have a level of equity, but which is insufficient to purchase suitable alternative accommodation and whose financial circumstances do not permit an increase in their borrowing capacity to fund such a suitable property.

Tenants who have a level of capital or mortgage potential but which is insufficient to fund a suitable property.

Applicants must be able to fund at least a 25% share of the proposed adapted/adaptable property.

Scope of Works
Purchase of an adapted or adaptable property which will meet the disabled occupant’s long term housing need.

Amount of Assistance
To be limited to an equitable and balanced distribution of resources within the budget year based on the level of overall applications.

The loan will be registered as a land registry charge and repayment of the shared equity loan will be required when the property is disposed of by sale, assignment, transfer or otherwise.

Applications are approved on a strict case by case assessment and the Council has the discretion to determine the reasonableness of each case.

The loan is administered by the Council’s third party loan provider.

Dementia Assistance

To make homes dementia friendly – to help people with dementia, to make small changes to the home that would support them to live in their own home safely and for longer.

Any owner occupier, private tenant or housing association tenant diagnosed by a health professional with dementia.

Scope of Works
May cover items such as (but not limited to):
• Replacing floor coverings that cause confusion or safety issues
• Replacing tiling or bathroom fittings (i.e toilet seats and rails) to improve visual perception
• Changing cupboards to make contents visual.
• Improving lighting schemes to improve visibility around the home
• Noise reduction measures
• Ensuring gardens and paths are level and free from hazards.
• Improving safety around the home
• Signage around the home
• Occupational Therapist Equipment recommendations

Amount of Assistance
Maximum £5,000 over a 3 year period

The dementia grant cannot pay for items that can be funded through a Disabled Facilities Grant or equipment already provided by the Occupational Therapy Team (OT) but can be used for additional OT recommendations.

It does not cover packages of care.

Hospital Discharge Assistance

To support people with disabilities or vulnerabilities being discharged from hospital.

Any owner-occupier, private tenant or housing association tenant being discharged from hospital to home following a referral from an OT or relevant healthcare professional.

Scope of Works
Example of interventions which may be carried out include, but are not restricted to; decluttering, deep cleaning, clearing properties, urgent home repairs, hazard removal, heating systems repaired/emergency heating provided.

Amount of Assistance
Maximum of £2,500


The funding will only be available if there is no other relevant heath or social care funding obtainable and excludes packages of care funded by NHS continuing healthcare.

Hardship Assistance

To assist mandatory DFG applicants who have an assessed means tested contribution but have insufficient capital funds and are unable to finance a loan to cover their contribution.

As per mandatory DFGs.

Applicants have a means tested contribution, have insufficient capital to meet that obligation and have been assessed by the Council’s third party loan provider, Parity Trust, who have determined that the applicant/disabled person will be left in unnecessary financial hardship by making any required home improvement loan repayments.

Scope of Works
As per mandatory DFGs

Amount of Assistance
Maximum amount £10,000

As per mandatory DFGs

Assistance will be awarded on a case by case basis, and is aimed at stopping applicants facing hardship in order to receive appropriate adaptations to their home.


Feasibility Assistance

Where complex work is anticipated, or where preliminary investigations/work is required to determine whether an adaptation project/grant is viable

As per mandatory DFG

Scope of Works
As per mandatory DFG

Amount of Assistance

If a mandatory DFG is approved the discretionary assistance will be included in the mandatory grant and will not be an additional separate amount.

Innovation and prevention adaptations

Assistance to deliver and support minor adaptations and innovative projects to improve the lives of disabled residents, prevent acute care admissions, and support the prevention agenda.

This may include assistive technology and innovation funding for bespoke pilot projects to improve the lives of disabled residents and their families
Such project generally to undertaken in partnership with welfare and health authority services.

Available funding for discretionary disabled assistance will be prioritised as follows:
Disabled Facilities “top up” Assistance
Disabled Persons Relocation Assistance
Feasibility Assistance
Hospital Discharge Assistance
Hardship Assistance
Dementia Assistance
Innovation and Prevention Adaptations
Shared Equity Loan

Emergency Minor Works Assistance

Assistance to help low income households (in receipt of a qualifying benefit) with small scale works to resolve emergency situations which are causing a category 1 hazard, as assessed in accordance with the Housing Health and Safety Rating System, and which are considered to be a significant health and safety risk to the occupants requiring emergency action. It is intended that this assistance will play a vital role in enabling low-income households to stay safely in their homes in special circumstances when an emergency arises.

The applicant must:
• Be aged 18 years or more
• Live in the dwelling as their only or main residence
• Be an owner, tenant, leaseholder or has an exclusive right to occupation for at least 5 years
• Have a duty or power to carry out the works

The applicant or his or her partner must be in receipt of one of the following benefits:
• Income based job seekers allowance
• Income support
• Guaranteed pension credit
• Income related employment and support allowance
The dwellings may be either a building of traditional construction or a mobile home sited on a permanent licensed residential site liable to pay Council Tax.

Scope of works
To remove category 1 hazards, as determined by the Housing, Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS), in order to eliminate or reduce to an acceptable level any significant risks to the occupier’s health and safety which are considered to require emergency action. Guidance on the HHSRS is available from Communities and Local Government https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/housing-health-and-safety-rating-system-hhsrs-guidance

Amount of assistance
Maximum £1000 in any one year period.

• Where the applicant is a person who has a qualifying interest in the premises on which the works were carried out repayment of the Emergency Minor Works Assistance will be required when the property is disposed of by sale, assignment, transfer or otherwise.
• Where work is undertaken in respect of a mobile home/static caravan and the land upon which the home is sited is owned by another and therefore a local land charge cannot be imposed, the Council will seek to recover the assistance through a personal charge against the applicant.
• Applications for further assistance would not be expected to be made in respect of a dwelling within one year of completion of any eligible works. In special circumstances however the Council can consider a further application for assistance where an emergency need arises and where the maximum limit has not been exceeded.

Home Improvement Loan

Wealden District Council works in partnership with a socially responsible third party loan provider and 15 other local authorities in the southern area to administer a small fund for housing improvement loans on behalf of the Council. Availability and accessibility of loans is strictly administered by the Council and the loan provider.

The applicant must:
• Be aged 18 years or more
• Live in the dwelling as their only or main residence, except in the case of loans for landlords and empty properties
• Be an owner, or leaseholder with at least 5 years to expiry of the lease or have an exclusive right of occupation for at least five years
• Is a tenant (for disabled adaptations works only)
• Have a duty, power or permission to carry out the works

Priority for loans will be given to elderly (over 60 years old) or vulnerable applicants or those proven to be in financial hardship and unable to access a commercial loan. Vulnerable applicants, or their partner, would generally be in receipt of one of the following benefits :

  • Income Support
  • Council Tax Reduction
  • Working Tax Credit with an annual income of less than £15,050 (subject to change)
  • Child Tax Credit with an annual income of less that £15,050 (subject to change)
  • Universal Credit (this includes any amount of Universal Credit which is being introduced from 2013 onwards as a replacement for working age benefits and tax credits).
  • Guarantee Pension Credit
  • Income-Based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
  • War Disablement Pension
    The property has to be traditionally constructed and built or converted 10 years before application date .The loan is not available to mobile homes.


Scope of works
Loans can be used to assist applicants needing the following types of help:

  • Meeting the financial contribution to a mandatory Disabled Facilities Grant as determined by the Housing Renewal Grants Regulations 1996 (as amended).
  • Topping up a mandatory Disabled Facilities Grant where the grant does not cover all the adaptation costs
  • Assisting someone move house, where their home cannot be adapted or is not suitable for their long term disability needs
    To bring a long term empty property back into use
  •  Energy efficiency/renewable energy improvements
  • Any works deemed necessary to bring the dwelling up to the Decent Home Standard or move the dwelling towards decency. The definition of a Decent Home is taken from the Government documentation – “A Decent Home – Definition and guidance for implementation, CLG June 2006 – Update” https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/a-decent-home-definition-and-guidance


Amount of assistance
Loans are available for between £1000 and £25,000. The Loans are administered by an approved third party and offered at a subsidised interest rate.

Loan to be repayable at a subsidised rate of interest in accordance with the approved loan scheme currently operated by Parity Trust.
Visit http://paritytrust.org.uk/home-lending/ for further information

Initial enquiry

Initial enquiries by telephone, letter, email, or in person will be forwarded to the Property Services Section.

An Officer will undertake a preliminary assessment, usually by telephone, but will undertake a home visit if this is more appropriate to the applicant’s circumstances. They will determine what type of assistance/loan is being requested, advise as to qualifying criteria and eligibility and explain the procedure. They will also undertake a preliminary means test where necessary and advise the applicant of their contribution. The final level of assistance however will depend on the extent of work required, subject to the maximum limits.

Applicants requiring disabled adaptations will be advised to contact Social Services Direct on 0345 60 80 191 who will undertake a preliminary assessment of the applicant and if appropriate arrange for an Occupational Therapy Assessment.

The applicant details will be logged onto the Council’s computer system for future reference and monitoring.

Survey and Inspection

If the applicant still wishes to proceed following the initial enquiry, the Officer will arrange to survey the property/home, if they have not already done so at the enquiry stage, to determine whether or not the property is eligible for assistance. The applicant will be advised about any conditions that apply to the assistance/loan.

With Disabled Facilities Grant applications, surveys may be jointly arranged with the Occupational Therapist. The survey will establish the detailed requirements and whether the adaptations required can reasonably be implemented in the property.
If the applicant and property are eligible for one of the loans outlined in the policy their details will be forwarded to the Council’s third party loan provider for a loan eligibility assessment.

Formal Application

If the applicant and property are eligible for one of the forms of assistance other than a loan, the Officer will arrange for the applicant to be sent an application pack containing a schedule of eligible works, application form, and all the instructions necessary to make an application.

All applications for assistance must be made on the Council’s official application forms.

The completed application forms, proof of ownership documents, income and savings details, a utility bill, details of national insurance numbers etc should be returned to the Council. The application must include two detailed estimates (one is acceptable for Emergency Minor Works Assistance). The estimates must be itemized and provisional sums are not accepted. The work must be carried out by one of the contractors estimates submitted for approval unless the Council gives permission for the contractor to be changed. If appropriate a copy of the plan as submitted for building regulations approval must be included.

In making an application the applicant agrees to the terms and conditions attached to the provision of assistance.

The applicant is responsible for applying for building regulation approval and planning permission if necessary.

Although there is no formal application and approval by the local authority for a loan, the applicant will be required to submit estimates for approval and complete the work the same as for other types of assistance. The loan provider will require approval from the local authority in respect of the eligible work and cost prior to them approving the loan.

Approval of Application

Before approving an application for assistance, the Council must be satisfied that the application is complete, and accurately reflects the applicants circumstances. The Council must also be satisfied that the cost of the qualifying works is reasonable. Complete applications will usually be determined within 60 working days. Applicants will be requested to provide any missing information and notified when their application is considered complete.

The Council will not approve any assistance unless the appropriate permissions and/or consents have been obtained, e.g planning permission, listed building consent, building control approval, consent of owner/landlord etc.

An approval notice will be sent to the applicant, notifying them of the nature and value of the assistance that is to be provided and giving the applicant details of the terms and conditions that will apply. The approval notice will specify the timescales within which the applicant is required to complete the works for which assistance is to be given, in most circumstances this will be 12 months although this maybe shorter in respect of emergency works.

The Council reserves the right to defer approval, or even consideration of applications for periods of times of its own choosing in order to effectively manage the financial resources available. A priority points system may be implemented for Disabled Facilities Grants and applications for other types of assistance may be prioritised in respect of need in order for the Council to target and manage the resources effectively. Where applicants are subject to such delays or prioritising systems they will be informed of this and provided with an indication when they are likely to receive assistance.

Payment of Assistance

The applicant will be responsible for contacting the contractor (once formal approval has been given), to arrange for the works to be carried out, and should also notify not only the Council’s Property Services Section but also the Building Control section if applicable, when they are due to start.

The Council may inspect the works at any time as they progress.

On stage or full completion of the works the applicant should notify the Council by submitting contractor’s invoices for the works and any relevant required certificates. Stage payments shall not exceed a maximum cumulative total of 90% of the financial assistance.

The Council will carry out inspections of the works and verify that they are complete for the purpose of making any grant payments. The applicant, their agent, and any contractor engaged in the works will otherwise remain responsible for the proper completion of the works under any contract. Unless directed otherwise, the Council will normally make payments direct to the building contractor.

Any person who makes an application for assistance must:-
a. Live in the dwelling as his/her only or main residence or
b. Have an owners interest in the dwelling or be a tenant or licensee of the dwelling, alone or jointly with others and
c. Have the owners consent in writing to have works carried out and
d. Satisfy such tests of financial resources as the Council may impose, and alter from time to time, to identify those who are vulnerable or potentially vulnerable and to ascertain the appropriate level of assistance.
e. Ensure that no breach of statutory requirements occurs, for example any necessary planning consent is obtained, planning conditions are adhered to and building regulation requirements met.

Registered Social Landlords or their tenants will not be eligible for financial assistance except for Disabled Facilities Grants and Discretionary Disabled Facilities “top-up” Assistance.

Works required to meet a landlords statutory obligations under Part 1 of the Housing Act 2004 shall not be eligible for financial assistance within the terms of this policy.

Exclusion of works already carried out
The Council will not approve an application for assistance if the eligible works have been carried out before the application is approved except:- Where the relevant works have begun, but not completed, and the Council assessed the required works prior to their commencement the application may be approved if the Council are satisfied that there are good reasons for beginning the works before the application was approved.

Worsening circumstances
Applicants will not be entitled to financial assistance if they have deliberately or unreasonably worsened their housing and/or financial circumstances.

Scope of work
Financial Assistance will not normally be available for:-
a) repair/replacement of porches, conservatories, outbuildings etc
b) cosmetic repairs or redecoration
c) completion of DIY jobs started by the occupant or others
d) works which are covered by a household insurance policy

The provision of grant/assistance is allowed for caravans used as a main residence, subject to meeting other eligibility requirements.

Holiday and second homes
Holiday residences and second homes (as defined by Council Tax) will not be provided with grants/assistance/loans.

Other costs
Consideration will be given at the discretion of the Council for reasonable professional fees incurred as part of the application process to be included within the eligible costs. This includes the use of the services of an agent, architect, architectural technician or surveyor. Other fees, including Planning and Building Regulation fees and legal fees etc may also be included.

These will normally not exceed 12.5% of the eligible expenses.

Doing the Work Yourself
If you intend to carry out any part of the works yourself you should tell the Council at the time of your application. The amount of financial assistance for DIY works will cover materials only. You should estimate the quantities and materials very carefully. A fully detailed priced specification is required, so that the correct level of assistance may be calculated.

Specialists’ Quotations
If you are installing a damp-proof course or carrying out treatment for dry-rot, then the Council will require that these works are carried out by a Specialist Contractor who will issue an adequate guarantee for the treatment work carried out. This guarantee must be backed by insurance or bond cover.

Plans and Building Regulations Consent

Rewiring, replacement window installations and most major structural alterations and adaptations will come under Building Regulation control. Some works may be exempt if the works are carried out through an Approved Installer Scheme.

You should enquire into the need for obtaining appropriate Planning and Building Regulation consents at an early stage. If consent is necessary, this must be obtained before your application for assistance can be approved.

Value Added Tax
VAT may be included in the estimated expense for grant purposes provided your Contractor itemises the work subject to VAT and is VAT Registered. The Contractors VAT number must be clearly stated on the estimate. Some adaptations for disabled persons can be zero rated for VAT and your contractor should make enquiries at the VAT offices.

Value for money
The assessment of any application for assistance/loan will be made on the basis of what the Council consider as the reasonable cost of the eligible work. Costs in excess of this will not be considered. All applicants should satisfy themselves that the contract sum represents value for money by obtaining a number of competitive estimates.

Buildings Insurance
All applicants will be expected to maintain adequate buildings insurance.

Changes in the applicant’s circumstances
Applicants must inform the Council of all relevant changes in their circumstances from the date of enquiry through to approval and payment of assistance/loan.

Applicants are encouraged to contact the Council in advance if they believe that their circumstances may change, in order that they can be given advice on the options available.

Contractual arrangements
Any contract is between the applicant (and their representative or agent) and their chosen contractor.

In approving an application for assistance, the Council is providing the applicant with an undertaking to pay a specific sum of money on satisfactory completion of the relevant works and on condition that the applicant complies with the terms under which the assistance/loan is given.

An applicant who fails to comply with the terms and conditions of assistance/loan will be wholly liable for meeting any costs incurred under the contract.

The contractor (and agent/representative) is responsible to the applicant for ensuring that the works progress to a satisfactory conclusion. Before the works commence, it is essential that the applicant (and agent/representative) and the contractor agree the following:

  • The precise scope and cost of the works
  • The time it will take to complete the contract
  • Practical arrangements for working on site, protecting possessions and furniture, etc
  • How the work is to be paid for.

Resolving disputes
The applicant (or their agent) and the contractor will be expected to resolve any disputes that arise; the Council will only intervene as a last resort.

Variations in cost
Should the contractor find that further works are necessary the Council should be notified as soon as possible. Additional funding will only be considered where those works could not have been reasonably foreseen prior to the commencement of the work and where estimates are submitted and the additional costs agreed by the Council in writing prior to them being carried out. In all cases redetermination of an approval will be subject to the total amount of financial assistance not exceeding the relevant maximum level of assistance/loan.

Provisions relating to the death of applicant
Where an applicant dies either;
a) after liability has been incurred for any preliminary or ancillary services or charges or
b) after the relevant works have begun and before the date by which works should have been completed,
the Council will normally pay those services or charges incurred and/or pay grant or assistance in respect of the works carried out and other relevant works covered by the application. A charge on the property will be made in order to recover any discretionary assistance provided.

Repayment were applicant is not entitled to a grant or assistance
If an application for assistance is approved but it subsequently appears to the Council that the applicant, (or in the case of a joint application, any of the applicants), was not, at the time that the application was approved, entitled to assistance of that description, no payment shall be made or, as the case may be, no further installments shall be paid.

Furthermore the Council may demand that any payments that have already been made be repaid forthwith, together with interest from the date on which they were paid until repayment, at such a reasonable rate that the Council may determine. Where false declarations make it necessary for the Council to redetermine an application, that action will not prejudice any decision to prosecute a fraudulent applicant.

Alternative works
Where a particular item has been specified by the Council as being eligible for grant aid or financial assistance/loan, an applicant may elect to substitute that item at their own expense (if any) for an equivalent or better item, or may do alternative works which achieve the same objective as the original specified. The substitution or alternative work must not raise the risk to health or safety of occupant of the house and others and must be agreed by the Council. Where alternative works are carried out which cost less than the specified grant or assistance, this will be recalculated accordingly.

Requests for extension of time
It is a condition of payment of financial assistance that eligible works are carried out within 12 months from the date of approval of the application concerned. Only in exceptional circumstances will agreement be given to extend the period of time in which the approved works must be completed. However, it is recognised that occasionally there will be valid and genuine reasons beyond the control of the applicant, for not being able to complete the work on time.

Requests for extension of time must be made in writing or by email to the Property Services Section explaining the circumstances of the case and the reasons why the works cannot be completed within the specified timescale, together with the amount of additional time being requested. The particulars of each individual case will be considered on their own merits and applicant (or agent action on their behalf) will be notified of the outcome in writing.

Repayment of assistance
Some of the types of assistance have repayment conditions. The value of the assistance will in normal circumstances be registered as a local land charge. Such assistance will need to be repaid when the property is sold or transferred to another owner but may be subject to any time limits on the repayment condition. The liability to repay an assistance may be discharged at any time by paying to the Council a sum equal to the amount of assistance.

Works covered by insurance policies/legal claims
A condition will be imposed requiring the applicant to pursue any relevant claim against an insurance company or third party for claims for personal injuries where the application is in respect of works required under a Mandatory Disabled Facilities Grant.

Where, before a grant or assistance is approved, it is found that an applicant can make an insurance claim, the insurance company will be requested to confirm in writing the level of their liability, if any. The level of grant or assistance will be reduced by an amount equivalent to the insurance company’s liability.

List of contractors
The Council does not currently maintain a list of approved contractors. Applicants or their agents are responsible for engaging competent contractors. However it is recommended that contractors are sourced from an approved/accredited body such as the Buy with Confidence scheme. Further information can be found at https://www.eastsussex.gov.uk/business/tradingstandards/approved-traders/buywithconfidence/

Any unresolved dispute may be referred through the formal Council complaints process operating at that time.

Data Protection and Prevention of fraud
We will store and use your personal information in line with the Data Protection Act 1998. Any personal information you give is held securely and will only be used for council purposes. Information collected for one purpose maybe used for another council purpose, unless there are legal restrictions preventing this. The Council may share this information where necessary with other organisations, including (but not limited to) where it is appropriate to protect public funds and/or prevent fraud in line with National Fraud Initiatives guidelines.

Dealing with applications that fall outside this policy
This policy aims to provide a comprehensive statement of intent in relation to private sector assistance. There will be circumstances in which exceptions to this policy will need to be considered. In such cases the Head of Housing and Property Services will exercise discretion as appropriate, guided by the principles that inform this policy and in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Housing and Benefits and ward/parish member. Such an award will only be made subject to the provision of the Regulatory Reform (Housing Assistance) England and Wales Order 2002 and subsequent guidance.

The policy will apply to all new applications received from 17th February 2021. All new and existing enquiries for financial assistance will be advised on the new policy prior to implementation date.

The policy will be monitored in accordance with local performance indicators and in respect of the service standards through the Council’s database system.

The Council will aim to ensure that Private Sector Housing financial assistance policy is as accessible as possible to all members of the community.

To this end, the Council will publicise the details of the policy as widely as possible through appropriate distribution networks, publications and by placing it on the Council’s website.

The Property Services Section can be contacted as follows:
By telephone: 01323 443321
By email: privatehousing@wealden.gov.uk or through the Council’s website at www.wealden.gov.uk

By post: Property Services Section, Wealden District Council, Council Offices, Vicarage Lane, Hailsham, East Sussex, BN27 2AX

Or by calling at the Council Offices 8.30 am and 5.00 pm weekdays.