Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement




 




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Grants

Local authority grants are available to landlords although these are discretionary and subject to the availability of funds at the time of application. Landlords should check their own local authority’s policies on the matter.

Generally, improvement grants, if available, will be for a proportion of the costs of bringing a rental property up to HHSRS (see HHSRS) standards, with a maximum allowed for each property.

There are likely to be conditions relating to ownership, finance and other matters (such as the property being occupied by tenants who are not related to the landlord), a requirement for a current gas safety certificate and insurance cover. Grants will be repayable if the property is sold within a specified number of years.

In some instances improvement grants are limited to members of the local landlords’ accreditation scheme.

Landlord grants to cover a proportion of energy efficiency and security measures are also available from local authorities under the PLEASE scheme (Private Landlords Energy Award Scheme). Again, details need to be checked with the relevant local authority.

Empty Property Grants are also available from some local authorities – the Empty Homes Agency (www.emptyhomes.com) says there are usually conditions attached to this type of grant, such as making the property available for social housing for a fixed period.

Disabled tenants may be able to obtain a Disabled Facilities Grant. This is a means-tested grant to help with the costs of adapting a home to the needs of a disabled person – disabled tenants have the right to request alterations to property, other than structural changes, to meet their needs. Landlords may only refuse if they have reasonable grounds for doing so: for example, the changes would prejudice the safety of other tenants. The changes will be at the disabled tenant’s expense.

The grant is only available in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, although different rules apply in Wales (go to new.wales.gov.uk), and Northern Ireland (www.nihe.gov.uk).

Landlords may apply for the Disables Facilities Grant on behalf of disabled tenants. The maximum amount is £25,000 in Northern Ireland, £30,000 in England and £36,000 in Wales. The money can be used for adaptations to give disabled tenants better freedom of movement into and around the property and/or to provide essential facilities within it.

Acceptable types of work include: widening doors and installing ramps; providing or improving access to rooms and facilities – for example, by installing a stair lift or providing a downstairs bathroom; improving or providing a heating system; and adapting heating or lighting controls to make them easier to use.

Tenants may also claim for Warm Front Grants (www.warmfront.co.uk) towards the cost of insulation of up to £3,500 (or £6,000 if oil central heating is involved) – the scheme applies to England only; other schemes operate in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland (www.eaga.com).





The Landlord's Handbook has everything you need to know about being a landlord – go to www.harriman-house.com/thelandlordshandbook to purchase your copy.




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