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Renfrewshire Council offers owners home improvement help

Renfrewshire_Council_ezg_1

Renfrewshire Council offers owners home improvement help

Hundreds of private owners could be in line for help to upgrade their homes under Renfrewshire Council’s £138million, five-year plan to ensure its own properties meet the Scottish Housing Quality Standard (SHQS).

The SHQS is a government standard that all local authorities and housing associations must meet by 2015. It is designed to make sure all their homes are in good condition and meet minimum energy efficiency ratings.

Renfrewshire_Council_ezg_1Councillor Tommy Williams, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Housing and Community Safety Policy Board, said, “Our goal is to make sure every council tenant is living in a home that meets the SHQS by 2015. The financial help we are offering to private owners is vital to allow our improvement programme to go ahead without leaving out substantial numbers of council homes.

“A lot of council tenants bought their homes under the right to buy. Many of them live in blocks of flats, rows of terraced homes or four in a block closes side by side with council properties.

“Much of the work we’re doing can’t be completed unless it is also done to the adjoining private homes, especially in high rise blocks like Gallowhill Court. In a few cases the improvement work can be worth more than £10,000 and this is clearly beyond the means of some owners.

“The package of measures we’ve put in place will allow home owners to enjoy the benefits of our SHQS programme in an affordable way, without our tenants having to miss out because they live next door to an owner-occupier.

“This package is all the more important given the Scottish Government’s planned National Lending Unit has failed to materialise.”

The National Lending Unit was a government-backed scheme which was intended to give private owners access to affordable loans for home improvements through the SHQS programme.

By 2015 the council’s SHQS programme will have installed up to 8,000 new kitchens; fitted up to 7,500 new bathrooms, rewired up to 8,000 homes and upgraded up to 6,000 heating systems in council homes. The programme also includes major external work, such as enclosing high rise blocks with energy efficient cladding, and replacing gutters and drainpipes.

The package of measures available to owners includes:

* Flat rate grants to owners of 25% for non-resident owners, 35% for resident owners and 50% for resident owners who receive income support or similar benefits

* An extended period to pay invoices by instalments

* A 10% discount on the administration fee for early repayment up to a maximum of £150 if paid within one month

* Advice on getting grants to improve the energy efficiency of the property through the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) funding programme

* Signposting to banks or credit unions for loans or ways to tap into the value of the property such as equity release.

find out more www.renfrewshire.gov.uk