Private Sector Housing Assistance Policy
Appendix 2 - Application process
In order for the Council to consider approving a DFG, a valid application must have been received.
Such an application consists of:
- a fully completed application form
- a recommendation from an appropriately qualified professional for example an Occupational Therapist (OT)
- details of passported benefits and/or information necessary to apply the test of resources (means test)
- details of any additional fees or charges, e.g. architects or structural engineers
- Certificate of Future Occupation (normally 5 years)
- Proof of Title (e.g. from the Land Registry)
- cost of works, drawing, schedule, and proof of ID
- in addition where appropriate, the property owners consent
The DFG legislation requires that all valid and completed grant applications are to be determined no later than six months after a completed application is received by the Council, however our aim is to determine all applications within a month.
The Council works in partnership with an external contractor and has undergone a robust procurement and tendering process to come up with a framework of an agreed schedule of works and costings for the common aids and adaptations. Works that fall outside of this scope will require two comparable estimates for the recommended works.
They will also act as a project manager and assist the applicant in making their application for a set agreed cost.
The amount which is potentially grant fundable is estimated by considering the following:
- Which of the relevant works are eligible for grant funding (the grant eligible works).
- The amount of the expenses to be properly incurred in the execution of the eligible works.
- Costs attributable in relation to grant works such as fees and charges.
- Extended warranties for lifts, wash-dry toilets, automatic doors etc.
- The grant is means tested and the amount of grant paid will be determined by a ‘test of resources’ which determines the applicant’s financial contribution to the works.
- For the mandatory disabled facility grant, the relevant person is the subject of the means test. The relevant person is the person who will benefit from the proposed grant eligible works.
Applicants who have a financial contribution to make (following the financial means test) towards the cost of the works, may be able to apply for further financial assistance under the councils Discretionary Grants (see Section 3).
Applications in respect of dependant disabled children and young people in full time education under the age of 19 are exempt from the financial means test.
The applicant can choose to make their own application and/or appoint their own agent. In this case two estimates will be required to support the application and normally the cheapest will be chosen and the eligible amount of fee will be based on the councils preferred contractor. The reasonable cost of an appointed agent or other necessary associated professional fees, such as architect or structural engineer, are eligible for DFG.
Commencement of Works
Work cannot commence before the grant is approved. Any works that started before grant is approved may not be grant aided.
Payment of Grant
Grant payments will be made when the grant eligible works are completed satisfactorily and on receipt of the contractor’s invoice. Council Officers may inspect the grant works during their progress and are able to make interim payments where appropriate.
Grant monies are actually legally awarded to the applicant and it is they who are technically responsible for paying their contractors. However, it is common practice for most grant applicants to request that payments are made directly to the contractor or agent.
It is important to note that the Councils’ Officers act on behalf of the Council to ensure public funds are spent correctly and value for money is achieved. The Council does not guarantee the work and any disputes arising between applicants and the contractors are primarily the applicant’s responsibility.
The grant eligible works must be undertaken by the contractor(s) who provided the approved estimate(s) included in the application. Prior permission shall be obtained in writing from the Councils by the applicant before any change in contractor takes place. The use of a different contractor to one included in the application without permission may result in cancellation of the grant and/or repayment by the relevant person.
The amount of grant approval can be re-determined where the eligible works cannot be completed without carrying out unforeseen or further works.
Unforeseen works can only be considered for grant funding by the Council where work has not started prior to being agreed as ‘unforeseen work’ by the Council.
If applicants are required to contribute to the grant, this must be paid and satisfactory evidence provided that payment has been made, i.e. a signed and dated receipt, before the Councils will make any grant payment.
Where additional works are taking place in addition to grant aided works, but are not grant aided and are being funded by the applicant these works must be completed and paid for by the applicant before any grant payment is released regarding the grant eligible works.
Grant eligible works must meet all the professional recommendations regarding the disabled person and any alternative scheme must have the prior written agreement of the recommending professional before grant funding is approved.
In the event of a breach of any of the conditions set by the Council, repayment may be demanded from the applicant/owner/occupier/landlord/trustee/beneficiary (whichever is appropriate) in a sum up to or equal to the amount of the grant paid or any interim payment made. The Council has the discretion either not to demand repayment, or to require payment of less than the full amount.
Local Land Charge (G4)
A Local Land Charge will be placed on the owner occupier’s adapted property where the Assistance exceeds £5,000. The land charge will be limited to a maximum of £10,000 which is the mandatory statutory limit.
The assistance will be registered as a Local Land Charge and will be enforced when the applicant has disposed (whether by sale, assignment, transfer or otherwise) of the premises in respect of which the assistance was given. In this event the Council may require repayment of the land charge before it is removed from the local Land Charges Register. The Charge will be incurred if the property is sold within 10 years subject to the consideration of the criteria set out in The Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996: Disabled Facilities Grant (Conditions relating to approval or payment of Grant) General Consent 2008 certain set criteria.
The considerations are;
- the extent to which the recipient of the grant would suffer financial hardship
- whether the disposal of the premises is to enable the take up of employment
- whether the disposal is made for reasons connected with the physical or mental health or wellbeing
- whether the disposal is made to enable the recipient of the grant to live with, or near, any person who can provide care
The applicant is required, from the certified date of the grant throughout the grant condition period of 10 years, to notify the relevant Council of their intention to sell or otherwise dispose of the property. The applicant will need to provide the Council with any information reasonably requested by them in connection with such notification.