Home Improvement Agency
Our Private Sector Housing service provides a wide range of services to help improve and adapt your home. Our specialist Home Improvement Agency (HIA) team provides advice and support to older or disabled people living in private sector housing to identify repairs, maintenance or improvements needed to make their home a warm, safe and secure place.
Our assistance may include providing information about current loans, grants or equity release packages and helping to complete forms. We can also find and supervise a building contractor to carry out the work.
We also arrange major disability adaptations for older or disabled people in the borough, who are:
- Lambeth Council tenants
- tenants of housing associations or private landlords.
Typical major adaptations include level access showers, hoists, stairlifts, platform wheelchair lifts and ramps. These installations are in response to recommendations from our occupational therapy service.
How does our service work?
We will visit you at home to discuss your needs and help you to find the solution that is right for you. We can offer advice and guidance in the following areas:
- adaptations and improvements
- claiming appropriate benefits or other assistance
- sources of funding for work in your home
- repairs and maintenance
- help you to decide what work should be done and prepare a detailed specification and estimate for building works
- engaging a building contractor and assistance, to ensure that the works are properly organised and executed
- housing options and assistance to move to more suitable accommodation, if required
- referrals to other agencies including the occupational therapy service or the Every Pound Counts campaign, or Age Concern Lambeth Handyperson service.
What will it cost?
Our advisory service is free and confidential. If you decide to carry out work with our help we will usually charge a fee for our technical services. This fee, which will vary according to the complexity and cost of the work, will be included as part of the grant or loan, if you are eligible.
Who qualifies for help?
You qualify for help if you are:
- over 60 and a freehold or leasehold owner-occupier
- over 60 with a disability and an owner-occupier or tenant of private landlords or housing associations
- a young person with disabilities and an owner-occupier
- a young person with disabilities and a tenant of private landlords or housing associations.
What kind of work can we help with?
We can help with:
- roof repairs
- rotten windows and doors
- adaptations for people with disabilities, for example, stairlifts, showers and handrails
- security work
- heating problems.
Paying for the cost of work to your home
Grant or loan assistance may be available to help you pay for any work that needs doing. We will be able to tell you what help is currently available.
The following forms of assistance are an example of some of the options that are available to help pay for housing repairs or improvements.
If you or someone living in your property is disabled you may qualify for a disabled facilities grant (DFG) towards the cost of providing adaptations and facilities to enable the disabled person to continue to live there.
The availability of this grant is dependent on an assessment by an occupational therapist who has recommended an adaptation. An adaptation may include a stairlift, an adapted bathroom or kitchen, access ramps or other work to help people access normal household facilities.
Home repair assistance
We have a long history of providing grants to local residents to improve their homes. With fewer resources however, grants to help with repairs are not currently available.
If you do wish to make improvements to bring your home up to the Decent Homes standard you may be eligible for a loan to help pay for the work, alternatively we can advise you on how to fund the work yourself. Work could include replacing or repairing roofs, electrical installations and windows, treating dampness and replacing old kitchens or bathrooms.
We continue to work in partnership with the Home Improvement Trust to help homeowners access loans from £3,000 upwards to pay for repairs and adaptations. Houseproud is a Home Improvement Trust loan. It is a secured loan, or mortgage, that uses the equity in the dwelling.
A variety of loans is available through the scheme with various repayment options, and they are tailored to meet the needs of older or disabled people. Some of the loans have a no repossession clause.
The loan may also cover the cost of any additional works that the owner would like to have done at the same time, including achievement of the decent homes standard.
People who need insulation work, better heating controls, new boilers, or central heating may be eligible for a grant from the Coldbusters scheme if they receive an income related benefit.
How long will it take?
Normally one of our HIA case officers will schedule an appointment within six weeks of you contacting our HIA service.