What grants are available to help landlords improve properties?

Posted by Mark Lloyd, Property Mastery Academy on 16 April 2018 | Comments

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The availability of grants for landlords can be dependent on the discretion of your local authority and may be more difficult to acquire in some areas than others.

However, there are options out there that may be worth investigating if you think they could be applicable to your property investment scenario or your tenant’s situation.

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Here we look at a few of the most common forms of grants.

Local authority grants

Local authorities can award funding to householders to carry out essential repairs or adaptations. Renovation grants were primarily introduced to offer financial assistance towards substantial repairs or improvements needed to make a property fit for human habitation.

The maximum amount that can be awarded is £20,000 for owner-occupiers and tenants and between £10,000 and £15,000 per unit for landlords. However, this is dependent on the landlord’s overall plan for the letting of the property.

You’ll have to meet certain criteria for a grant to be offered, and these conditions have to be adhered to for 10 years by owner-occupiers and five years for landlords. If you breach these conditions during this time, then the grant must be repaid to the council – this also applies if the property is sold within the condition period.

The types of grants available for landlords varies from council to council, and some local authorities feel landlords shouldn't have access to grants and loans if they’ve built up substantial equity in their investment property. Whereas others feel that by offering these funds they’ll ensure tenants have better quality accommodation to live in.

Disabled facilities grants

Disabled facilities grants are awarded by local councils so that necessary adaptions can be made to properties inhabited by disabled residents. If you have a disabled tenant, as a landlord you can apply for a grant to adapt the property for their use.

These grants should be used to adapt the property so that the disabled tenant has free movement around their home. This could mean the widening of doors, installing ramps or stairlifts or creating a downstairs bathroom or bedroom.

Alternatively, grant funding can also be used to improve facilities for the disabled resident in other ways such as improving heating systems or installing accessible lighting controls.

Empty property grants

If you own a property that has been empty for more than one year, you may have the option of being able to let it to council-nominated tenants on a long-term lease. This would generally be from between five and ten years. This could then make you eligible for an empty property grant.

An empty property grant will cover 50% of the cost of renovation work and includes heating or insulation. This type of grant can be used to renovate properties that are in significant need of repair. Or it could be used to convert a property from a single household to a multi-household.

HMO conversion grants

An HMO conversion grant can be up to £30,000, and it should be used to ensure a property is within minimum HMO standards. The type of work this could cover includes fitting fire precautions and safety measures and meeting minimum standards for fixed amenities such as kitchens and bathrooms.

The conditions that need to be met to be eligible for HMO conversion grants can vary from council to council. You would need to check with your local authority before applying to see if you’re eligible.

These are just a few of the grants available to property investors – there are many more out there if you do your research and talk with the local authority in question.

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