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Paying for Building Repairs and Maintenance

Your home is probably your biggest asset, so it makes sense to protect it by keeping it in a good state of repair.

A well maintained home is more pleasant to live in, worth more money, and, if you want to move, it will sell faster than one in a state of disrepair.

South Ayrshire Council can provide information on the various options available to owners to assist with repairs and maintenance. We will always recommend that customers seek professional guidance from an Independent Financial Advisor. Information on how to find a financial advisor can be obtained from the Financial Services Authority (FSA) via their website (www.fsa.gov.uk/consumer) or consumer helpline (0845 606 1234).

Insurance

If the cause of the problem is storm, fire or flood damage, you may be able to claim against your buildings insurance. You may also be able to claim for damage caused by another party (e.g. a neighbour’s burst pipe). You can’t claim for routine repairs, and if the problem is a result of neglect, your claim could be rejected.

Savings and Investments

Sometimes the work can be done in stages so you can carry out each part when you can afford it. A builder, surveyor or property manager (if you live in a block of flats) will be able to advise you if this is possible.

Setting up a Maintenance Fund

You could consider setting up a savings account and putting money away regularly to pay for repairs and maintenance. Some people in shared buildings set up joint maintenance funds for common repairs. Each owners pays into the fund and makes the guarantee that, if they sell, the new owner will take on responsibility for payment.

Extending Your Mortgage

You may be able to borrow more money against your mortgage (this is how most homeowners pay for bigger repair and improvements). Your house must be worth more that the current value of your mortgage to do this.

If you want to extend your mortgage you should:

  1. Check your budget and work out what you can afford to spend each month on your mortgage repayments.
  2. Find out how much you can borrow.
  3. Check if there will be any fees to pay for increasing your mortgage.

Changing Your Mortgage

You may get a better deal by re-mortgaging, either with your current lenders or someone else. You should stop around for the best deal, but remember to include the ‘hidden’ costs.

  • Tie-in-periods – if you decide to leave the lender during the period of your mortgage, you may have to pay a penalty.
  • Arrangement fees, on average £200 to £300.
  • Insurance – you may have to take out insurance with your new lender at a higher cost.
  • Survey fees.
  • Legal costs, which are commonly up to £500 (some lenders will offer to cover this cost but this may be traded off by higher interest rates).

Fixed Term Loan

There are many companies offering loans. Secured loans are usually cheaper but, if you could be forced to sell your property. It is very important to take financial advice if you are considering a loan to ensure you can afford the repayments.

Grants for Repairs and Improvements

Local authorities are no longer obliged to provide grants to home owners for repairs or improvements. In South Ayrshire, grants are only available in specific circumstances with resources permitting:

1. Below Tolerable Standard (BTS) Grants

BTS grants may be available to home owners for significant breaches of tolerable standards such as:

  • The main fabric of the home is structurally unstable.
  • The home does not have an adequate supply of wholesome water or a sink served by a satisfactory supply of both hot and cold water.
  • The home does not have a water closet or waterless closet available within it for the exclusive use of the occupants.
  • The home suffers from substantially from rising damp or penetrating damp.
  • The home is without a fixed bath or shower and a wash hand basin, each provided with a satisfactory supply of both hot and cold water and suitably located within it.
  • The home is without an effective system for the drainage and disposal of foul and surface water.

The status of each of these elements requires in the first instance to be assessed and confirmed by an Environmental Health Officer. If the property is deemed BTS, up to 50% improvement grant can be allocated if the undernoted conditions are also met:

  • The property is the applicant’s only principal home.
  • The applicant currently lives within the property.
  • The owner did not acquire the house knowing its condition with a view to developing it, or
  • The owner did not remove standard amenities themselves.

For more information contact Environmental Health: Tel: 0300 123 0900

2. Disabled Adaptations Grants

Homeowners and tenants in privately rented accommodation are entitled to assistance to help fund adaptations and the provision of standard amenities.

Councils have a duty to provide mandatory grant assistance for most essential adaptations and for the provision of standard amenity. Grants are awarded only where an application is supported by a recommendation from an Occupational Therapist (after an assessment of need has been carried out and eligibility for provision of service has been established).

If there is an assessed eligible need for an essential adaptation or provision of standard amenity, the Council will fund 80% of the cost including the cost of any extension required solely for the installation of a standard amenity. The applicant’s income or savings will not be taken into consideration.

If the applicant is in receipt of any of the following income replacement benefits, 100% of the cost of the essential adaptation or provision of a standard amenity will be met by the Council:

  • Income Support
  • Income Based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Pension Credit (guarantee element)
  • Employment Support Allowance (income-related)

For more information check out the Aids and Adaptations section.

3. Mixed Tenure Grants

Managing common repairs and maintenance obligations within accommodation blocks that consist of both rented and owner occupied homes can be difficult.

To assist with addressing this issue, South Ayrshire Council can (where resources permit) provide a flat grant of 50% to assist owners to meet their common repairs/maintenance obligations where their property is:

  • in a local authority designated priority area; or
  • is part of a Council modernisation scheme.

The grant will consist of a flat rate of 50% (subject to budgetary constraints) with advice, information and practical assistance available to all owners.

For more information contact the Housing Policy and Strategy Team: Tel: 0300 123 0900

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Last updated: 11 August 2016

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