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					Blackpool Council                                          Assistance to Home Owners




                            Draft Document May 2005




                Blackpool Council
         Environmental Services Division




                    Stepped Interventions
                             For
                     Housing Assistance




     Regulatory Reform Order (Housing Assistance) (England & Wales)
                               Order 2002

                    A Private Sector Housing Policy 2005




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Blackpool Council                                            Assistance to Home Owners




                                       STEP ONE

                             INITIAL ADVICE SERVICES

All enquires will be offered this service, which will include: -

                          Property & Home Energy Survey
                         o Identification of Essential Items of Work
                          Production of Schedule of Works
                          Advice on Selecting a Contractor
                          Future Maintenance Programme




                                      STEP TWO

                               FUNDING OPTIONS

This part of the service will offer advice on how the works that are identified
can be funded, by undertaking a Whole Life Survey.

This will help the owner identify ways in which they can save money, in order
to help them achieve the savings that may be needed to help finance the
works.

This will result in a Funding Options Report.

Where appropriate owners may also be offered the assistance of Blackpool
Councils links to the following service: -

                            Blackpool Debt Counselling
                            Welfare Rights
                            The Blackpool Care & Repair Agency
                            Blackpool Advice Link
                            Aids & Adaptations Services
                            Energy Action Grants Agency
                            Age Concern
                            Citizens Advice Service




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Blackpool Council                                           Assistance to Home Owners




                                 STEP THREE
                        TOOLKIT INTERVENTIONS

The following interventions will be used as outcomes to the Whole Life Survey
& Funding Options Report


Loans                Top Up with Existing Borrowers
                     Existing High Street Options
                     Equity Release Schemes
                     Improvement Loans
                     Housing Assistance Loans
                     First Time Buyer Assistance
                     Assistance with Empty Properties
                     HMO Conversion Loans

Grants               Emergency Works Grants
                     Small Repairs Grants
                     Fuel Poverty Grants
                     Special Grants
                     CWRA Grants
                     Shop Front Grants




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Blackpool Council                                            Assistance to Home Owners



                    Home Owner Advice Service
Criteria: -   To advise owners on the condition of their property and guide
              them through a process that can result in them having the work
              completed and help in accessing differing funding options.

Conditions: -

      Available to Owner Occupiers in all areas of Blackpool.

      The applicant be must be identified as a vulnerable person as defined
       in the Decent Homes Standard. (See Appendix A)

      This condition does not apply to applicants in the Regeneration Areas
       of Blackpool (See Appendix D)

      Applicants must be prepared to participate without obligation in a
       confidential Whole Life Survey.


                     Housing Assistance Loans

Criteria: -   Equity and Loan Options based on the individuals ability to fund
              the work identified as essential to the property

Conditions: -

      The applicant must be the owner-occupier of the property.

      The applicant must have owned and lived in that property as their only
       or main residence for a period of 5 years prior to receiving the loan.

      The applicant must be identified as a vulnerable person as defined in
       the Decent Homes Standard. See Appendix A.

      The Applicant must have completed the Whole Life Survey and not
       been able to access alternative loans or equity release schemes.

      This five-year occupancy rule would not apply to owner-occupiers in
       the designated parts of the priority improvement areas.
        (See Appendix D)




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Blackpool Council                                            Assistance to Home Owners



                      First Time Buyer Assistance

Criteria: -

This will be a loan to enable first time buyers to enter the property market by
taking on derelict or long-term empty properties, or to purchase a property
from a landlord, thereby removing that property from the private rented sector.

Conditions: -

       The applicant must be the owner-occupier of the property.
       Applicants must have been resident in Blackpool for a min of 3 years.
       Max Loan £10,000 based on financial testing.
       Properties must have been void for 6 months or more.
       Repayment on change of ownership.
       For essential work only
       The following Energy Efficiency work will be compulsory: -
                     Loft Insulation
                     Cavity Wall insulation




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Blackpool Council                                            Assistance to Home Owners



                Assistance for Empty Properties
Criteria: -

This policy has been produced to ensure that the circumstances in which it is
deemed appropriate to offer assistance for empty properties are clear to both
customers (developers, owners, Landlords and Tenants) and members and
officers.

Each case will be subject to an individual appraisal to decide whether any
assistance will be payable.

Regard will be had to the value of investing public funds in the project and
how such investment relates to the Council’s policies and strategic objectives.

The following issues will be considered: -

      Co-operation of the owner with the Council.
      Market Supply and Demand.
      Location.
      Tenure Type.
      Management History.
      Accreditation in accordance with the Blackpool scheme.
      Refusal of High Street Lending.
      Affordable Housing/Letting

The first offer will be based on a Loan taking into consideration: -

      Available Equity
      Recovery from Sale or Rental Programme
      Repayment Programme
      The Future Management Programme
      Accreditation

Conditions

      Application can only be taken from the Owner of the property.

      The scheme only applies to permanent lettings. (Holiday
       accommodation cannot be grant aided.)

      The Loan will be repaid to the Council In Full should a change of
       ownership occur, alternatively repayment can be made earlier by
       agreement.

Discretion
It will be necessary to exercise flexibility and discretion. Officers may bring
properties to the attention of the portfolio holder for approval.

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Blackpool Council                                            Assistance to Home Owners




                         HMO Conversion Loan
Criteria;

This type of loan is available to landlords who reduce the density of lettings by
either converting the property into self-contained flats, which meet the
planning standards, or where the property is converted back into a single
dwelling.

In exceptional cases the Council may provide Grant assistance.

Conditions: -

      Application can only be taken from the Owner of the property.

      The scheme only applies to permanent lettings. (Holiday
       accommodation cannot be grant aided.)

      Applicants must provide evidence of appropriate planning permission
       for current use, or a Certificate of Lawfulness of use as permanent
       residential accommodation in multiple occupation.

      The premises must be registered under the current HMO Registration
       Scheme or be exempt from that scheme.

      The level of grant would be proportional to the reduction in density.

      Applications must gain appropriate planning permission and conform to
       Blackpool Planning Standards.

      Application must also be made for Building Regulations Approval.

      The Loan will be repaid to the Council In Full should a change of
       ownership occur, alternatively repayment can be made earlier by
       agreement.

   The qualifying criteria, a schedule of grant levels and examples of grant
                  calculations are attached at Appendix “C” .




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Blackpool Council                                             Assistance to Home Owners




                         Emergency Works Grant
Criteria;       This grant is available to ensure that when circumstances arise
                where an occupier is found to be at serious risk from defects in
                the home, urgent action can be taken to avoid injury or loss of
                life.

Conditions: -

      Available in any district within Blackpool.

      The owner-occupier of the property must be identified as a vulnerable
       person as defined in the Decent Homes Standard. See Appendix A

      Alternatively the permanent household must include a person who is
       either disabled or of minimum age 60 years.

      The applicant must have a repairing liability.

      The works required must be of an emergency nature these are
       described in Appendix B but will include: -

               Immediate threat to life or certain risk to health

               Leaks of gas or combustion fumes from appliances.

               Failure of heating in cold weather

               Dangerous and inoperative electric wiring

               Structural failure leading to collapse of walls, floors or roof of
                dwelling

               Any serious problem, which is preventing an eligible client being
                discharged from hospital

      There will be a set limit for this type of grant, the limits will be
       constrained by the nature of the works.

      This grant is not repayable.

      Other types of grants and loans will be payable in addition where the
       applicant is eligible.



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Blackpool Council                                            Assistance to Home Owners




                            Small Repairs Grant
Criteria: -

This small repairs grant fulfils a need for intervention where minor repairs are
deemed necessary and bridges the gap between Emergency works grants
and Housing Assistance Loans.

Available for essential internal or external repairs


Conditions: -


      The applicant must be the owner-occupier of the property.

      The applicant must have owned and lived in that property as their only
       or main residence for a period of 5 years prior to receiving the grant.

      The applicant must be must be identified as a vulnerable person as
       defined in the Decent Homes Standard. See Appendix A.
      Maximum Grant amount of £ 2,000.
      Only available to applicants who are over the age of 65 or applicants
       claiming disability benefits.
      Only one application in any year, with a maximum of 2 grants within 5
       years.
      Only available to those who are not loan eligible.
      There are No Repayment Conditions.




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Blackpool Council                                            Assistance to Home Owners



                            Fuel Poverty Grants

Criteria: -   This grant gives access to Energy Efficiency works such as
              Cavity Wall Insulation and Draught proofing and other insulation
              measures.
              Delivery of these grants is through area schemes normally in
              partnership with Energy Providers and their Installers from their
              Select List.
              In the future this grant will take in any options for Renewable
              Energy.


Conditions: -

      These grants are available to owner-occupiers and tenants alike.

      The applicant should be identified as being Fuel Poor; residents in the
       Integrated Areas will automatically qualify under this category.




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Blackpool Council                                            Assistance to Home Owners



                                 Special Grants
Criteria: -

This Grant is grant for the worse properties with applicants who are living in
conditions below those of the decent homes standard.

This grant is only available where all other interventions have failed.

Conditions

       The applicant must be the owner-occupier of the property.

       The applicant must have owned and lived in that property as their only
        or main residence for a period of 5 years prior to receiving the grant.

       This five-year occupancy rule would not apply to owner-occupiers in
        the designated parts of the priority improvement areas. See Appendix
        D.

       The applicant must be identified as a vulnerable person as defined in
        the Decent Homes Standard. See Appendix A.

       The applicant should be equity poor.

       They must have proven to be unable to take up any of the differing loan
        options that are available.

 The grant will remain as a charge repayable on the property until change of
      ownership, when it will be repaid, or earlier if the owner desires.




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Blackpool Council                                            Assistance to Home Owners



                  Claremont Renewal Area Grant
A Renewal Area Grant,

Criteria;
This grant will mirror the renovation grant currently available in the Claremont
West Renewal Area it will have a maximum value of £20,000 and will
continue only for the remaining life of the Renewal Area (ie up to end March
2006).


Conditions: -

      Applicants must be owner/occupiers and applications will be subject to
       the current “test of resources” assessment to determine their
       contribution to the cost of the works.

      The applicants must occupy the property as their main and only
       dwelling for a period of 5 years from the certified date of completion of
       the works.


A Renewal Area Follow Up Grant,

Criteria;
This grant will also mirror the renovation grant currently available in the
Claremont West Renewal Area following a group repair scheme, it will
continue only for the remaining life of the Renewal Area, (ie up to end March
2006).


Conditions:

      Maximum value of £5,000

      Essential internal works only

      Further 5-year residential conditions period will apply.

      Owner/occupiers only can apply.




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Blackpool Council                                           Assistance to Home Owners



                                   Appendix A

                                    Definitions
Owner Occupier

Must be a named owner of the property either on the title deeds or HM Land
Registry Certification.

May be a tenant who has a repairing responsibility as defined in a long-term
lease, which must have at least five years remaining before expiry.


Vulnerable Persons (Decent Homes Definition)

(ODPM.     A Decent Home - Guidance for Implementation February 2004)

Vulnerable Households have been defined as those in receipt of at least one
of the principle means tested or disability related benefits: -

   o   Income Support
   o   Housing Benefit
   o   Council Tax Benefit
   o   Income Based Jobseekers Allowance
   o   Attendance Allowance
   o   Disability Living Allowance
   o   Industrial Disablement Benefit
   o   War Disablement Benefit
   o   Pension Credit
   o   Child Tax Credit - (with a relevant income less than £14,200)
   o   Working Tax Credit - (which includes a disability element)


This is the definition of Vulnerable, which all local authorities should use to
establish a baseline and monitor progress towards the decent homes target.




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Blackpool Council               Assistance to Home Owners                                                 April 2005


                                         APPENDIX B
                            Emergency Works Grants - Schedule of Work

It should be remembered that the response should be in direct relation to the nature of the
emergency.

The premise should be that the action taken would result in removal of the risk; it would not normally
require complete replacement or renewal of any given structure or appliance.

Once an item has been made safe, other forms of assistance should be used for replacement or
renewal.


        Item            Fault                                     Actions
        Structural      Imminent Danger of Collapse                    Temporary Propping & Shoring
                        Water Ingress                                  Roof Repairs
                        Sever Dilapidation                             Replacement Flooring
                                                                       Brickwork Repairs

        Gas Supply      Faulty Supply                                     Shut Down of System
                        Defective pipe work.                              Alternative means of heating.
                        Faulty gas appliances.                            Replacement of main supply pipe.
                        Carbon Monoxide emissions                         Replacement lead pipe work.
                        (Boilers see loss of hot water)                   Replacement of gas fires where this is the only
                                                                           form of heating.




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Blackpool Council                  Assistance to Home Owners                                                  April 2005


        Item               Fault                                     Actions

        Plumbing           No Water Supply                                   Repair Supply
                           Blocked Drains                                    Renew Lead Supply
                           Broken WC                                         Clear Drains – Power Jet
                                                                             Replace WC

        Hot Water Supply   Defective Boilers                                 Repairs to Boilers and or timers.
                           Defective Emersions                               Replacement Emersions
                                                                             Replacement Cylinders
                                                                             Replacement of Gas/Electric Central Heating
                                                                              boilers where repair is not viable and EAGA
                                                                              Warm Front 2 option is not accessible.
                                                                             Replacement of defective lead hot water
                                                                              circulatory pipes where complete failure of the
                                                                              pipe work has occurred.

        Electrical         No Supply                                         Restore Supply
                           Frayed or Bare Wiring                             Repair Power Circuits
                           Defective Sockets                                 Repair Lighting Circuits
                           Defective Lighting                                Disconnect/make safe exposed wiring.
                                                                             Replace broken sockets and light fittings.

                           Obsolete Circuit Boards and                       Rewire properties where cast fuse boxes are
                           wiring systems.                                    connected to rubber or flex -core-wiring
                                                                              circuits.




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Blackpool Council                              Assistance to Home Owners



                                    APPENDIX C
         Housing Assistance for Houses in Multiple Occupation.

Qualifying Criteria and Standards.

The standard grant conditions will apply to all applications: -

The applicant must be the owner of the property.

The scheme only applies to permanent lettings, holiday accommodation
cannot be grant aided.

The property/flats must be let or available for letting in accordance with the
layout of accommodation agreed at the time of approving the assistance for a
period of five years following the date of completion of the grant or the grant is
repayable to the Council.

If the property/flats are sold within five years from the date of completion of
the grant then the grant is repayable to the Council.

To be eligible the premises must have the appropriate planning permission or
certificate of lawfulness for its use as permanent residential multiple
occupation and must have been in use as such on the 1st August 2002.

The premises must be registered under the HMO Registration Scheme or be
exempt from the scheme.

Grants will only be given where the existing lettings do not meet the Blackpool
Planning Space Standards and the proposed scheme reduces the number of
lettings by either converting the premises into self-contained flats or into a
single dwelling house. If the proposal is for conversion to self-contained flats
then the minimum standard will be the Blackpool Planning Space Standards
but in addition all flats must have internal access to the rear of the premises
for the storage of refuse.

The proposed scheme must include all necessary works to ensure the
satisfactory visual appearance of the property on completion.

The percentage of the grant will be determined by the percentage reduction in
the number of units of existing accommodation.

Grant aid will be based on an eligible expense per unit of existing
accommodation up to a maximum of £10,000 per unit.




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Blackpool Council                              Assistance to Home Owners




Schedule of Grant Levels and Examples of Grant Calculations.

Percentage Reduction in Lettings.                         Percentage Level of Grant
Awarded.

70.00%        or greater                                  75.00% grant aid
60.00%        to     69.99%                                             60.00% grant aid
50.00%        to     59.99%                                             50.00% grant aid
40.00%        to     49.99%                                             40.00% grant aid
30.00%        to     39.99%                                             25.00% grant aid
0.00% to      29.99%                                            not eligible for grant aid


The grant will be calculated as follows: -

The existing number of lettings x the eligible expense per letting up to a
maximum of £10,000 x the percentage level of grant, for example,
Example

A property currently divided into 10 bed sits and being converted into four self-
contained flats, a 60% reduction in the number of lettings and an hypothetical
estimated cost of £50,000, could get a grant of: -
£50,000 divided by 10 existing lettings = £5,000 per letting, therefore
Ten existing lettings x £5,000 x 60% = £30,000 grant aid
If the estimated cost was £120,000 then

£120,000 divided by 10 existing lettings = £12,000 per letting, this figure is
above the maximum eligible expense limit so £10,000 per letting would be
used to calculate the grant.

In all the following hypothetical examples it has been assumed that the
maximum £10,000 eligible expense limit applies when calculating the grant.

A property currently divided into five bed sits and being converted into three
self-contained flats, a 40% reduction in the number of lettings and an
estimated cost of £50,000, could be eligible for a grant of: -
Five existing units x £10,000 maximum eligible expense limit x 40%= £20,000
grant aid.

But if the same property were converted into two self-contained flats, a 60%
reduction in the number of lettings then the grant could be,
Five existing units x £10,000 maximum eligible expense limit x 60% = £30,000
grant aid.




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Blackpool Council                              Assistance to Home Owners



A property currently divided into four bed sits and being converted into two
self-contained flats, a reduction of 50% in the number of lettings and an
estimated cost of £40,000, could be eligible for a grant of: -
Four existing units x £10,000 maximum eligible expense limit x 50% =
£20,000 grant aid.

If the same property was converted back into a single house, a reduction of
75% in the number of lettings then,
Four existing units x £10,000 maximum eligible expense limit x 75% =
£30,000 grant aid.

A property currently divided into six bed sits and being converted into five self-
contained flats, a reduction of only 16% in the number of lettings would not
qualify for grant assistance. However, if the same property was converted to
four self-contained flats, a reduction of 33% in the number of lettings then, six
existing units x £10,000 maximum eligible expense limit x 25% = £15,000
grant aid.

The £10,000 eligible expense limit is a maximum amount, if the actual
estimated costs of the work are lower then the eligible expense limit then the
actual costs will be used, but if the estimated costs are higher, then the
eligible expense limit will be applied.




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Blackpool Council   Assistance to Home Owners                                         April 2005



APPENDIX D




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