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Cardiff Equity Home Loan

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					Contents

1. Introduction ......................................................................................................... 4
2. Background ......................................................................................................... 5
2.1. The National Context ......................................................................................... 5
     2.1.1. Sustainable Home Ownership ............................................................. 5
     2.1.2. Private Renting.................................................................................... 6
     2.1.3. Accessibility of Housing....................................................................... 6
     2.1.4. Summary ............................................................................................. 7
2.2. The Local Context.............................................................................................. 8
2.2.1 House Condition .............................................................................................. 8
       2.2.1.1.    Disrepair....................................................................................... 9
       2.2.1.2.    Fit for Human Habitation .............................................................. 9
       2.2.1.3.    Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS)................. 10
       2.2.1.4.    Energy Efficiency ....................................................................... 11
2.2.2 Public Consultation ........................................................................................ 12
       2.2.1.5.    Council priorities......................................................................... 12
       2.2.1.6.    Support for grant assistance ...................................................... 12
       2.2.1.7     Review of the Renewal Policy .................................................... 13
2.3 Conclusion ........................................................................................................ 13
3. Response to Needs........................................................................................... 14
3.1 Area Action ....................................................................................................... 14
3.2 People over 60 years of age ............................................................................. 14
3.3 People on low incomes ..................................................................................... 14
3.4 Houses beyond economic repair....................................................................... 14
3.5 Empty / derelict homes ..................................................................................... 14
3.6 Privately rented accommodation....................................................................... 15
3.7 The reduction of fuel poverty ............................................................................ 15
3.8 People in need of disabled facilities .................................................................. 15
3.9 Housing Health & Safety Rating System.......................................................... 16
4 Partnerships................................................................................................... 17
4.1 Care and Repair ............................................................................................... 17
4.2 Local Housing Associations .............................................................................. 18
4.3 ART Homes ...................................................................................................... 18
5 Past Activity and Success ............................................................................ 20
6 Cardiff Building Work Standard ................................................................... 21
7 Cardiff Council’s Agency Service ................................................................ 22
8 Financial Assistance ..................................................................................... 26
8.1 Renewal Area ................................................................................................... 26
8.2 Group Repair .................................................................................................... 27
8.3 Environmental Works Grant .............................................................................. 29
8.4 Repair Grant ..................................................................................................... 29
8.5 Elemental Grant ................................................................................................ 31
8.6 Small Works Partnership Grant......................................................................... 33
8.7 Empty Property Grant ....................................................................................... 34
8.8 Homefix Loans.................................................................................................. 35
8.9 First Time Buyers Grant – Energy Efficiency .................................................... 37
8.10 Community Alarm Grant ................................................................................. 37


                                                                                                                         1
8.11 Clearance Area Relocation Loan .................................................................... 38
8.12 Rebuild Grant.................................................................................................. 39
8.13 Disabled Facilities in the Private Sector.......................................................... 40
     8.13.1. Disabled Plus Grant............................................................................. 40
     8.13.2 Disabled Priority Assistance ................................................................. 42
     8.13.3 Adaptations Requiring Repair or Replacement..................................... 44
     8.13.4 Low Cost Adaptations........................................................................... 45
     8.13.4 Partnership working with the Care and Repair Agency......................... 48
       8.13.4.1 Stairlift Project ................................................................................ 48
       8.13.4.2 Safety at Home .............................................................................. 48
       8.13.4.3 Stairlift Recycling Scheme.............................................................. 48
8. 14 Disabled Relocation Grant ............................................................................. 49
     8.14.1 Recovery of Specialised Equipment for the Disabled ........................... 49
     8.14.2 Disabled Tenants in the Public Sector .................................................. 50
     8.14.3 Energy Efficiency Issues....................................................................... 51
8.15 New Assistance not detailed above ................................................................ 51
9 Conditions of Financial Assistance ................................................................. 53
9.1 Waiver of Conditions......................................................................................... 53
     9.1.1    Loan Conditions ................................................................................ 53
     9.1.2    Grant Conditions ............................................................................... 53
9.2 Repayment of Grant on Breach of Condition .................................................... 55
9.3 Recovered Grant Aid ........................................................................................ 59
10 Further Development....................................................................................... 60
11 Complaints ....................................................................................................... 61
11.1 Complaints about the policy............................................................................ 61
     11.1.1 Content of the Policy............................................................................. 61
     11.1.2 Eligibility................................................................................................ 61
11. 2 Complaints about the standard of service...................................................... 61
12 Performance Indicators................................................................................... 62
13 Implementation Plan........................................................................................ 62
14 Policy Review ................................................................................................... 63
Glossary and index of defined terms .................................................................. 64
Annex 1.................................................................................................................. 66
Annex 2.................................................................................................................. 67

Tables

Table 1 Cost of Repairs across tenure groups........................................................ 10
Table 2 Fees charged by Agency Service ...............Error! Bookmark not defined.4
Table 3 Processing Charges for Non- Agency GrantsError!                      Bookmark                 not
    defined.
Table 4 Details of the Group Repair Grant.............................................................. 28
Table 5 Details of the Environmental Works Grant ....Error! Bookmark not defined.
Table 6 Details of the Repair Grant ...........................Error! Bookmark not defined.
Table 7 Details of the Elemental Grant ....................Error! Bookmark not defined.3
Table 8 Details of Small Works Partnership.............Error! Bookmark not defined.4
Table 9 Details of the Empty Property Grant .......................................................... 35
Table 10 Details of the Homefix Loan......................Error! Bookmark not defined.7
Table 11 Details of the First Time Buyers – Energy Efficiency Grant ............... Error!
    Bookmark not defined.38


                                                                                                                          2
Table 12 Details of the Community Alarm Grant..................................................... 38
Table 13 Details of the Clearance Relocation Grant Error! Bookmark not defined.0
Table 14 Details of the Rebuild Grant..................................................................... 40
Table 15 Details of the Disabled Plus Grant ........................................................... 42
Table 16 Details of the Disabled Priority Assistance............................................... 44
Table 17 Details of the Adaptations Repair and Replacement Grant……………….48
Table 18 Details of the Low Cost Adaptations Assistance…………………………...48
Table 19 Details of the Disabled Relocation Grant……………………………………50
Table 20 Summary of Grant Repayment Upon Disposal or Breach……………… 56

Figures

Figure 1 Graph showing the percentage of unfit houses by tenure group .............. 11
Figure 2 Graph showing the percentage of properties with a mandatory hazard by
    tenure groups .................................................................................................. 12
Figure 3 The SAP rating of properties by tenure group........................................... 12
Figure 4 Graph showing the support for assisting different groups......................... 13


Maps

Map 1 West Adamsdown Renewal Area................................................................. 66
Map 2 North Grangetown Renewal Area ................................................................ 67




                                                                                                                     3
1. Introduction

In July 2002 the National Government made significant changes to housing grant
legislation, introducing the Regulatory Reform (Housing Assistance) (England &
Wales) Order 2002. This Order allows local authorities to formulate their own
flexible financial assistance policies to target their funding to address specific local
needs and priorities. As a result Cardiff Council is able to consider various options
for providing a wide range of assistance to aid housing renewal. These options
include;

   •   Grant aid
   •   Loans and equity release schemes
   •   Grant / loan mixes
   •   Assistance with moving to more suitable accommodation
   •   Practical advice and assistance about how to get repairs done

Cardiff Council welcomed these changes as it provides a greater opportunity for the
authority to meet corporate priorities and objectives in creative ways. This will
inevitably lead to the better use of budget allocation and the provision of
opportunities to attract private finance.

Following Welsh Assembly Government guidance, this policy has been prepared
and reviewed taking account of national and local issues and corporate policies for
the Council. The following have been considered during this review:

   •   Better Homes for People in Wales – A national Housing Strategy for Wales
   •   Consultation document – Sustainable Homes – A National Housing Strategy
       for Wales
   •   Wales Programme for Improvement – The Best Value Review of the Private
       Sector Housing Renovation Grant Service 2002.
   •   Cardiff’s Local Housing Strategy and Operational Plan 2007-2012
   •   Cardiff Care and Repair Business Plan Social Care Plan
   •   The Proud Capital Community Strategy 2007 – 2017
   •   Cardiff House Condition Survey 2005
   •   Consultation document – Supporting Improvements and adaptations in the
       Private Sector.
   •   Welsh Assembly Government “One Wales” Policy

This Private Sector Housing Renewal Policy 2009 outlines the assistance available
in Cardiff and the terms and conditions of that assistance.




                                                                                      4
2. Background

2.1.     The National Context

Better Homes For People in Wales - A national housing strategy for Wales

In July 2001, following widespread consultation, the Welsh Assembly Government
published “Better Homes for People in Wales”. The document sets out the following
vision for Housing in Wales:

       “We want everyone in Wales to have the opportunity to live in good
       quality, affordable housing: to be able to choose where they live and
       decide whether buying or renting is best for them and their families”

Of particular relevance to this policy is our ability to influence the quality of owner
occupied and private rented housing and the quality of housing for persons with
disabilities, in terms of their ability to access all parts of the home and its facilities
comfortably.

In the document “Better Homes for People in Wales”, the Welsh Assembly
Government commented as follows on these matters:

         2.1.1. Sustainable Home Ownership

Issues

   •  8.6% of the housing stock is unfit for habitation under the current fitness
      standard
   • There is a higher proportion of owner occupation in Wales than in England
      (72% compared to 68% in England)
   • The housing stock continues to deteriorate with age and there is more older
      housing in Wales compared to England (37% built before 1919 compared to
      24% in England)
Many of the households most affected by these problems are on benefits or low
income and cannot afford to repair their own homes

Action required

   •     The primary responsibility for the maintenance, repair and improvement of
         privately owned homes must first and foremost be met by owners and
         landlords
   •     There should be a framework that helps low income older and vulnerable
         owner occupiers to maintain and repair their homes over the longer term



                                                                                        5
   •     Some owners, particularly older people and those on lower income, will need
         specific help and assistance
   •     Some communities, particularly those with the highest level of deprivation,
         will benefit from an integrated and comprehensive approach to housing
         renewal and regeneration
   •     People should be given greater opportunities to maintain and repair their
         homes through local authorities being given greater flexibility to develop less
         prescriptive policies and widening the range of assistance available to
         include both grants, loans and other forms of assistance.

         2.1.2. Private Renting

Issues

   •     The conditions in this sector are some of the worst to be found, particularly in
         houses in multiple occupation (HMOs)
   •     Around 20% of houses in this sector are classed as unfit for habitation under
         the current fitness standard

Action required

   •     “We are committed to improving the overall quality of private rented housing
         and its management and increasing investment in this sector”
   •     Development of a vibrant, healthy, well managed private rented sector with
         homes in good condition
   •     Introducing local authority powers for the mandatory licensing of HMOs and
         selective licensing in the remainder of the private rented sector

         2.1.3. Accessibility of Housing

Issues

   •     Access to repairs and adaptations are essential to ensure that older people
         and people with disabilities can remain independent in their own homes
   •     Poor housing conditions will have a considerable impact on the health, social
         and psychological well being of people with disabilities and older people

Action required

   •     Equal opportunities is a principal theme of “Better Homes for People in
         Wales”
   •     Vulnerable households should have access to specialist housing advice and
         any support and adaptations they may need to remain in their own homes


                                                                                       6
•   Provision of mandatory, means tested disabled facilities grants to provide
    facilities and help people access facilities in their homes
•   All Wales coverage of Care and Repair services
•   Increased funding and support to Care and Repair Agencies to establish
    continuity and stability, to help them undertake their work of providing advice
    and advocacy
•   Services to older homeowners, to develop innovative approaches to tackling
    problems faced by older persons and to help co-ordinate approaches with
    statutory and voluntary agencies



    2.1.4. Summary

•   The primary responsibility for the maintenance, repair and improvement of
    privately owned homes must first and foremost be met by owners and
    landlords
•   There should be a framework that helps low income older and vulnerable
    owner occupiers to maintain and repair their homes over the longer term
•   Some owners, particularly older people and those on lower income will need
    specific help and assistance
•   Some communities, particularly those with the highest level of deprivation will
    benefit from an integrated and comprehensive approach to housing renewal
    and regeneration
•   People should be given greater opportunities to maintain and repair their
    homes through widening the range of assistance available to include both
    grants, loans and other forms of assistance
•   A commitment to improving the overall quality of private rented housing and
    its management and increasing investment in this sector
•   Provision of mandatory, means tested disabled facilities grants to provide
    facilities and help people access facilities in their homes
•   The work of Care and Repair Agencies is valued and partnerships with Care
    and Repair should be encouraged.




                                                                                 7
   2.2. The Local Context
The multiple index of deprivation (2008) highlights the overall health and social
conditions in Cardiff. Cardiff compares well with the rest of Wales, however, there
are considerable variations between and within localities.

The index has identified a number of issues which have significant implications for
local planning and resource allocation decisions, and which need to be brought to
the attention of those who can influence strategic policy at a national level. These
key issues are summarised below:

   •   Cardiff-wide data, as currently used in national resource allocation formulae,
       present a picture of a prosperous and healthy city, enjoying relatively low
       unemployment, steady economic growth and lower than average mortality
       rates
   •   The data in the index demonstrates that there are in fact two distinctly
       different parts to Cardiff: the relatively prosperous northern part of Cardiff and
       what can be described as a “southern arc” which has high levels of
       deprivation with consequent effects on the health of the people who live there
   •   Communities in this southern arc experience multiple deprivation, in
       particular:
       • High levels of unemployment
       • High rates of reported crime
       • Poor educational achievement rates
       • High levels of housing benefit claimants
       • High levels of means tested benefit uptake
       • High mortality rates
       • High percentage of low birth-weight babies
       • Poor housing conditions

If Cardiff was treated as two separate authorities, South Cardiff would have
higher levels of deprivation than many areas which have benefited from
Objective 1 status, since it contains some of the most deprived electoral
divisions in Wales.

2.2.1 House Condition

In 2005 Cardiff Council commissioned a survey to assess the condition of housing
in the private sector. Outlined below is a summary of the results, a full copy of the
survey is available on the Council’s website. (www.cardiff.gov.uk)




                                                                                       8
               2.2.1.1.       Disrepair

 The survey considered the cost of undertaking repairs to properties in Cardiff. The
 results are detailed in the table below. The results showed that single older people
 and houses built before 1919 have the highest repair cost both for urgent and basic
 repairs.

 Using the data collected, the total of urgent repairs to properties in Cardiff is
 £178.1m, whilst for basic repairs this cost rises to £216.7m. It is unrealistic for the
 local authority to meet this cost and it would also not support the principle of
 responsible homeownership. It is the Council’s role to enable owners to undertake
 these repairs through their own means and encourage owners to meet their
 responsibilities. Only in cases where the owners are unable to meet these
 responsibilities should the Council provide assistance, either in terms of grant aid or
 other means. It is in these cases where additional assistance is possibly required
 that household type or property characteristics are used to determine Council
 priorities. These priorities are informed by the survey work mentioned above and
 detailed below.

                   Tenure                            Urgent Repairs            Basic Repairs
                                                 Those needing to be done Those needing to be done
                                                 in the next year         in the next 5 years

Owner- Occupier with no mortgage                         £1,269                    £1,969

Owner- Occupier with a mortgage                          £1,007                    £1,687
Register Social Landlords
(housing associations)                                    £671                     £1,023

Private Rented Accommodation                             £1,333                    £2,055

Average                                                  £1,114                    £1,781

Vacant dwellings                                         £3,152                    £4,312
 (Source: Cardiff House Condition Survey 2005)
 Table 1 Cost of Repairs by Tenure


               2.2.1.2.       Fit for Human Habitation

 The assessment of property condition against the standard of “fitness for human
 habitation” has been used for a number of years to determine the condition of
 housing in Wales and England. Cardiff’s 2005 House Condition Survey has showed
 that since the previous survey in 1998, the level of properties failing this assessment
 has fallen, i.e. the condition of housing in Cardiff has improved. The results are
 summarised in the graph below.


                                                                                            9
                    Average                                      5.6%



            Private Rented
                                                                                9.7%
           Accommodation


         Register Social
        Landlords (housing                       2.5%
          associations)


   Owner- Occupier with a
                                                               5.0%
        mortgage



  Owner- Occupier with no
                                                               5.2%
        mortgage


                             0.0%         2.0%          4.0%     6.0%   8.0%   10.0%   12.0%




(Source: Cardiff House Condition Survey 2005)
Figure 1 Graph showing the percentage of unfit properties in each tenure type

The survey found that older pre 1919 houses and single older person households
have above average levels of unfitness. With regard to tenure, the highest unfitness
levels are in the private rented sector, and 1 in 4 vacant dwellings are unfit which
contributes to difficulties in ensuring their rapid re-occupation.

              2.2.1.3.       Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS)

The HHSRS is a new method of assessing property condition. It considers whether
an element of the property’s structure, fittings, fixtures or design is likely to cause a
person living or visiting the house to become ill or be injured, i.e. whether a hazard
is present. Currently there is no information available to compare Cardiff’s stock
with other areas, but the 2005 survey showed that the most common hazards were:

    •    Excess Cold
    •    Falls on Stairs
    •    Falls on the Level
    •    Fire

Again, the graph below shows the spread of hazards across the tenures. In the
owner occupied stock the presence of these hazards are highest in 2+ adult and 2+
children households.




                                                                                               10
                      Average                                          53.8%



               Private Rented
                                                             50.4%
               Accommodation


                Register Social
                                                     48.7%
                  Landlords


       Owner- Occupier with a
                                                                                    58.4%
             mortgage


      Owner- Occupier with no
                                                                               57.7%
            mortgage


                              42.0% 44.0% 46.0% 48.0% 50.0% 52.0% 54.0% 56.0% 58.0% 60.0%

(Source: Cardiff House Condition Survey 2005)
Figure 2 Graph to show the percentage of Hazards, in each tenure, requiring a
mandatory response by the local authority.

              2.2.1.4.       Energy Efficiency

The survey also considered the energy efficiency of the property. This is achieved
through an assessment method known as SAP, which results in a figure between 0
and 100. The higher the figure the more energy efficient the property. The graph
below maps the average SAP rating across the tenures, which shows that owner-
occupiers without a mortgage have the lowest Cardiff average for their properties
energy efficiency. The survey also found older person households had the least
energy efficient houses when household types were taken into account. Where
properties are poorly energy efficient, and have a SAP of below 30, it was again
found that older person households make up a large part of this group.

                        Average                                                      52




               Private Rented
                                                                                      53
               Accommodation



    Register Social Landlords
                                                                                                 62
     (housing associations)




       Owner- Occupier with a
                                                                                      53
             mortgage




     Owner- Occupier with no
                                                                                49
            mortgage



                                   0            10   20         30       40    50           60             70
(Source: Cardiff House Condition Survey 2005)                    SAP Rating

Figure 3 Graph to show the average SAP rating for each tenure



                                                                                                      11
2.2.2 Public Consultation

In 2005 a consultation exercise was undertaken with Cardiff resident’s and
stakeholders to establish opinions about assistance available through Private Sector
Housing Renewal Policies. Below is a summary of the results, copies of the full
report are available on the Council website. (www.cardiff.gov.uk)

              2.2.1.5.        Council priorities

Previous Cardiff Council Renewal Policies have recognised groups of people or
properties that are in need of assistance to improve their property’s condition. The
consultation asked whether people agreed with Council priorities for giving
assistance, the results showed support for most of the priorities.

The consultation also sought opinions as to whether other groups of people should
be assisted in some means by the Council. This highlighted the following type of
households for consideration as priority groups.

    •    People over 60 regardless of income
    •    People under 60 on low income
    •    First time buyers, and
    •    Low income households with children

              2.2.1.6.        Support for grant assistance

Opinions were also sought regarding the grant assistance the Council has been
offering. Again there was support for grants currently provided.

                 Privately Rented
                                                                 53.0%
                 Accommodation

                  Re-build Grants                                     61.4%


            Renewal Area Grants                                          67.9%


                Relocation Grant                                                 82.1%


             Disabled Plus Grant                                                      90.6%


                    Repair Grant                                                         93.6%


         Disabled Facilities Grant                                                        95.9%


                                 0.0%     20.0%       40.0%      60.0%        80.0%    100.0%      120.0%

(Source: Consultation on supporting improvements and adaptation to private sector housing 2005))
Figure 4 Graph showing the percentage of support for existing grant aid


                                                                                                            12
The Council is able to offer financial assistance by way of a loan if it is appropriate.
The Council sought opinions about whether the Council should develop loan
assistance. 79.4% of people agreed, while 10.2% disagreed and 10.4% were
unsure. People felt that the same groups should be prioritised for this assistance.

          2.2.1.7    Review of the Renewal Policy

Experience of operating the Renewal Policy over the last five years together with
the introduction of the HHSRS has identified the need to review the policy making it
more flexible and responsive to clients needs. Works are undertaken as part of the
Cardiff Grants Standard which is currently based on the fitness standard. In
addition, the National Fitness Standard Performance Indicator has been removed
and a new PI based on the rating system is expected during 2009/10.

This coupled with year on year reducing budgets and growing waiting lists, has
identified the need to amend the Cardiff Grants Standard to include works that
address Category 1 and certain Category 2 hazards. This will enable us to prioritise
cases and make finances available to those at greatest risk offering a more flexible
approach to delivering works.


2.3 Conclusion

From the information available, the following conclusions can be drawn:

   •   Cardiff has an increasingly ageing population who are more likely to live in
       poor housing
   •   Poor housing and multiple deprivation is concentrated in the South of Cardiff
   •   Cardiff property values vary significantly depending on location, there is a
       potential for equity release schemes to play a significant role in the future
       policy
   •   Levels of unfitness in the private rented sector are high
   •   The presence of hazards requiring the council to take action, as determined
       under the Housing Act 2004’s Housing Health and Safety Rating system, is
       higher amongst owner occupiers
   •   Poor energy efficient properties are more likely to be occupied by older
       people
   •   Public consultation showed broad support for the Council’s priorities and
       assistance set out in this policy
   •   A more flexible approach to providing financial assistance is required
   •   Cases should be prioritised according to risk
   •   National Performance Indicator to be introduced based on the Rating System




                                                                                     13
3. Response to Needs

In response to the information available the Council’s approach will be to prioritise:

   3.1 Area Action
Action will be prioritised specifically towards the south of Cardiff. This will be
achieved through Renewal Area activity and renovation of particularly poor streets
using Group Repair programmes, both of these activities focusing on improving the
external fabric of buildings. Priority areas will be identified from the Cardiff Private
Sector House Condition Survey 2005 and the Council’s Local Housing Strategy,
specifically in relation to programmes of work to meet the Welsh Housing Quality
Standard (WHQS).

    3.2 People over 60 years of age
The evidence shows that older people often live in poor housing, they have very
limited resources to maintain their homes and the prospect of their circumstances
changing is limited. The Council will assist older people by making financial
assistance available to repair, maintain and adapt properties. The Council will also
help older people by supporting the local Care and Repair agency and providing
information on home repair and maintenance through the provision of a help pack.

   3.3 People on low incomes
The evidence again shows that people on low-incomes often live in poor housing.
The Council intends to help people on low incomes by developing financial
assistance packages in partnership with financial institutions and assistance through
the provision of a help pack.

   3.4 Houses beyond economic repair
Despite 30.6% of Cardiff’s housing stock being constructed before 1919, there has
been no large-scale house clearance since the early 1970’s. However, some
properties and terraces would benefit from a sensitively managed redevelopment
programme that would offer households the opportunity to remain within their own
communities. To achieve this, the Council will offer financial assistance packages
which will aim to assist in a property’s rebuild or the relocation of the occupants.

   3.5 Empty / derelict homes
Empty and derelict homes in Cardiff represent a significant wasted resource. This is
recognised through the Councils Empty Property Strategy 2006. This strategy
seeks to encourage owners to return these properties back into use through a
number of methods.




                                                                                     14
    3.6 Privately rented accommodation
The evidence shows there is a significantly higher level of sub-standard
accommodation in the private rented sector. Problems range from disrepair to
unsatisfactory means of escape from fire. The Council feels it is inappropriate to
reward landlords who fail to meet minimum legal standards by providing financial
assistance. Consequently its policy will be to ensure that standards are maintained
through advice, proactive projects and a rigorous enforcement programme.

However, the Council is keen to work in partnership with landlords and recognise
the important part they play in providing accommodation for a significant proportion
of the community. To support these landlords the Council will continue to work in
partnership with them through a number of different initiatives, including the National
Landlord Accreditation Wales Scheme and the Cardiff specific “Accreditation Plus”
Scheme.

   3.7 The reduction of fuel poverty
The House Condition Survey highlighted energy efficiency as a key priority for the
Council to address. Cardiff Council adopted an Affordable Warmth Strategy in 2006.
This Renewal Policy aims to implement many of the actions and will be achieved in
a number of ways including:
   • Incorporating Energy Efficiency measures into eligible works where financial
       assistance is available,
   • Providing information on Energy Efficiency in help packs, and
   • Referring people not eligible for financial assistance through the Renewal
       Policy to other schemes, including Home Energy Efficiency Scheme and the
       South East Wales Energy Advice Centre
   • Where appropriate, provide financial assistance to enable maximisation of
       funding into Cardiff through partnership working which would otherwise not
       be available in a structured approach.
   • Energy Efficiency grant for First Time Buyers

   3.8 People in need of disabled facilities
The Council’s Disabled Facilities Service manages the provision of financial
assistance and adaptation works for disabled people living in all housing tenures.
This includes the following:-
   • Disabled Facilities Grants (DFG’s) – Available to provide adaptations, such
       as stairlifts and specialist bathing facilities, to enable a disabled person to live
       as independently and as safely as possible. Once the need for a DFG has
       been identified, the Council has a duty to provide assistance – it is a
       mandatory grant which is means-tested.
   • Discretionary Assistance – The Regulatory Reform Order 2002 gives
       council’s powers to provide discretionary assistance to people living in
       privately owned properties. Forms of assistance include minor adaptation



                                                                                        15
      works and, in specific circumstances, additional funding where the maximum
      DFG limit is exceeded.

The Council allocates funding to the Service on an annual basis. In 2005/06, it was
estimated that approximately £21million was required to fully meet the identified
demand for grant assistance. However, it was recognised that this level of
investment could not be achieved from Council resources and that a needs based
approach to grant allocation would result in significant efficiencies and reduce the
capital allocation required. For 2007/08, the Service has received a budget
allocation of approximately £6million; almost the same level as in 2006/07.

The Service has recently introduced revised and updated policies informed by the
findings and recommendations of the Welsh Assembly Government’s national
review of DFG’s. The changes aim to improve performance and working practices
and ensure that limited resources are directed to disabled persons in greatest need
in a timely manner.

The DFS is currently developing processes whereby frail elderly and disabled
clients receive a package of advice and support which meets the objectives of the
Council’s Affordable Warmth Strategy.

    3.9 Housing Health & Safety Rating System
We will provide financial assistance outside of the renewal areas to deal with
Category 1 hazards and Category 2 hazards in the following circumstances if the
Officer considers it appropriate:


      a)   Fire Safety
      b)   Security
      c)   Structural collapse
      d)   Energy Efficiency
      e)   Amenities (kitchen and bathroom facilities)

The Council reserves the right to take action in other circumstances where
appropriate.

Details on financial assistance packages available are given in the following pages.
However, these are subject to resources being available.

The Council reserves the right to provide financial assistance if deemed appropriate.




                                                                                  16
4 Partnerships

Cardiff Council recognises that poor housing condition is not an issue that it can
resolve in isolation. There are many organisations that can help with referring
cases, providing advice and assistance, financial assistance, handy person support
and small works. Some of the external organisations already involved and working
with the Council in this area include:
   • Welsh Assembly Government
   • Care and Repair Cymru and Cardiff
   • Age Concern
   • Local Housing Associations
   • South Wales Police
   • The Cardiff Landlords Forum
   • South Wales Fire Authority
   • Local Universities
   • The Council of Mortgage Lenders
   • Community Fora
   • Local Contractors
   • ART Homes Ltd
   • South East Wales Energy Advice Centre

   4.1 Care and Repair

Cardiff Care and Repair exists to help older and/or disabled people to repair and
improve their homes, thereby enabling them to live at home with increased safety
and comfort.

The Council was key in establishing the Agency in 2002 and continues to be fully
supportive of its expansion. The Agency’s objective is to provide practical
comprehensive solutions to housing problems experienced by older people and
disabled people through partnership working. Their objectives and the services
offered complement the priorities detailed in this policy.

Since the Agency’s launch in 2002 the demand for services has increased rapidly.
As a consequence the services they provide are over subscribed and have to be
restricted to those who are most vulnerable. However, the Agency has aspirations
to develop and extend its services as and when it is able to secure additional
funding.

Cardiff Care and Repair services focus on securing small repairs, adaptations and
improvements to the home as well as making appropriate referrals, providing
information and advocacy.




                                                                               17
The case-work service is fundamental to the success of delivering an intensive
client centred service. This service is available to clients who are over the age of 60
or are disabled and disadvantaged. It helps to identify their circumstances, the
works required to their home and how these can be funded, before tailoring a
personalised solution.

The review of the Disabled Facilities Service has recognised the added value of
working in partnership with the local Care and Repair Agency. There is tremendous
scope for an effective and economic service to clients outside of the formal grant
route. The right to receive mandatory grants will remain throughout, but by
developing the partnership there is a much broader choice of service which meets
the specific needs.

By working in partnership with Care & Repair to ensure that older people who
require works through the identification of Category 1 hazards could have works
delivered quickly and simply.

   4.2 Local Housing Associations

Housing Associations are also a key partner to help meet the needs of the priorities
identified in this policy. Through the development of new initiatives, the aims of this
policy and other Council objectives can be achieved.               For example, the
development of a joint leasing scheme is being progressed. This is aimed at
bringing vacant properties back in to use and will help increase the provision of
affordable, good quality rented accommodation across Cardiff. This will provide
benefits for the citizens of Cardiff, the property owners and both the Council and
local Housing Associations.

   4.3 ART Homes

ART Homes Ltd is a not-for-profit special purpose organisation that is approved by
the FSA and supported by Mercian Housing Association. The primary purpose of
ART Homes Ltd is to offer financial assistance to low-income homeowners who are
not able to secure affordable loans on the high street to repair and maintain their
property.

ART Homes Ltd assists Councils by offering loan assistance to suitable applicants.
To date the organisation works with over 12 local authorities across the Midlands,
Merseyside, Scotland and Wales and has provided in excess of £4.5 million pounds
in loans. They also continue to research the market and develop products suitable
for the clients and local authorities it serves.




                                                                                    18
Through working with ART Homes Ltd, the Council is able to include loan
assistance to the list of financial assistance options that are available to some
priority groups identified in this policy. The Council reserves the right to provide
financial assistance if deemed appropriate.




                                                                                 19
5 Past Activity and Success

For many years the Council has supported the improvement of individual homes
and neighbourhoods through a renovation grant programme. This programme
offered grant aid to owners to assist in the repair of their property. This was either
achieved on an individual basis or through grouping properties together.

The funding available to this programme has fallen year on year from over £23
Million in 1993/94 to £8.7 million in 2008/2009 and is likely to continue to fall. It is
this reduction of available funding that has resulted in grant aid being targeted to
specific groups of people and other financial assistance being developed.
However, although the funding has reduced drastically over the years, the number
of grants awarded (which reflects the number of people helped) has not fallen
proportionally. This has been achieved by careful specification of works through the
application of the Cardiff Building Work Standard.




                                                                                     20
6 Cardiff Building Work Standard

The Cardiff Building Work Standard is a working document used by Council
Officers. It gives clear guidance on the work eligible (including scope of agency
service supported) for each grant and loan to enable the targeting of limited
resources to certain repairs only. It also ensures uniformity of practice across the
Council’s Financial Assistance Services. This standard is reviewable by Officers in
light of resources being available and to meet the requirements of this Policy
together with local and national indicators.




                                                                                 21
7 Cardiff Council’s Agency Service

The Council operates a Grant Agency Service for eligible financial assistance
applicants. This service takes the worry and stress out of the grant process by
giving professional help and advice. The Agency arranges a building contractor to
undertake the work following a tendering exercise; and for written contracts to be
signed by both the builder and the homeowner. While the works are in progress the
Agency supervises the work and ensures it is completed to an acceptable standard,
it also makes payments direct to the builder.

The Agency has proven extremely popular with applicants and builders, with a take
up rate of over 90% for Repair Grants and for disabled adaptation works. The
Agency also benefits the Council, by ensuring greater scrutiny of builders and
helping to remove the ‘cowboy’ element of building work.

Due to the success of the Agency Service to both applicants of financial assistance
and the Council, the Agency Service is now a compulsory element of accepting
specified financial assistance as detailed in Section 8 of this Policy:

Group Repair Grant, Environmental Works Grant, Repair Grant, Rebuild Grants,
Elemental Grant, – regardless of date of enquiry, all applicants whose grant is
approved on or after the 14th May 2009 will be required to accept the Agency
Service as part of the terms and conditions of that grant. Grant aid approved on or
before the 14th May 2009 will follow the requirements set out in the Policy under
which it was approved.

Loans – The employment of the Agency Service is a compulsory element of this
assistance.

The Council will charge a fee of 14% of the total cost of the works on the approval of
the above assistance, excluding fees associated to the work. In recognition that the
applicant for all financial assistance has not had a choice in employing the Agency
Service, this element of the grant will not be recovered if the conditions are
breached. If applicants do not wish to accept the employment of the agency service
as part of their assistance, the offer of that assistance will be withdrawn.

The Council will continue to offer the Agency service to unassisted participants and
the above conditions will apply as appropriate in Group Repair Schemes.




                                                                                   22
To use the Agency Service the Council charges the applicant a fee.     However, this fee is included in the level of financial
assistance offered. The fees are set out below.

Financial Assistance Type        Value of Assistance Fee       Minimum Charge         Additional Charges made for
                                 offered                                              specialist advice
Repair Grant                     Less than 5k        14%       £60 + VAT              All ancillary fees relating to the
                                                                                      works will be added to the grant.
Repair Grant                     More than 5k          14%     £750 +VAT
Group Repair Grant               No maximum            14%     £750 +VAT
Group Repair Scheme –            No maximum            14%     £750 +VAT
unassisted participant
Rebuild Grant                    No maximum            14%     £750 +VAT
Property Loan                    Less than 5k          14%     £60 +VAT
Property Loan                    More than 5k          14%     £750 +VAT
First Time Buyers Grant          Less than £5k         14%     £60 + VAT
Disabled Plus                    Less than 1k          14%     £60 +VAT
Disabled Plus                    More than 1k          14%     £800 +VAT
Disabled Priority Assistance     Less than 1k          14%     £60 +VAT
Disabled Priority Assistance     More than 1k          14%     £800 +VAT
Adaptation,       Repair     &   Less than 1k          14%     £60 +VAT
Replacement Assistance
Adaptation,       Repair     &   More than 1k, less than 14%   £100 + VAT
Replacement Assistance           3k
Adaptation,       Repair     &   More than 3k            14%   £800 + VAT
Replacement Assistance
DFS - Low Cost Adaptations       Under £5k             14%     £800 +VAT
Disabled Relocation Grant        No Maximum            14%     £750 +VAT




                                                                                                                           23
Financial Assistance Type       Value of Assistance   Fee   Minimum Charge   Additional Charges made for
                                offered                                      specialist advice
Environmental Works Grant       Less than £5k         14%   £60 + VAT
Environmental Works Grant       More than £5k         14%   £750 + VAT
Elemental Grants                Less than £5k         14%   £60 + VAT
Elemental Grants                More than £5k         14%   £750 + VAT
Table 2 Fees charged by Agency Service




                                                                                                           24
Where the Agency service is not provided, processing costs will be charged at the
following rates:

 Grant Type                   Max. value of Grant   Processing Charge
 Disabled Plus                Less than 1k          Either 10% of the cost of works
                                                    or £60 +VAT
 Disabled Plus                More than 1k          Either 10% of the cost of works
                                                    or £750 +VAT
 Disabled       Priority      Less than 1k          Either 10% of the cost of works
 Assistance                                         or £60 +VAT
 Disabled       Priority      More than 1k          Either 10% of the cost of works
 Assistance                                         or £750 +VAT
 Disabled   partnership       Less than 1k          Either 10% of the cost of works
 Funding                                            or £60 +VAT
 Disabled   partnership       More than 1k          Either 10% of the cost of works
 Funding                                            or £750 +VAT
 Disabled    Relocation       More than 1k          Either 10% of the cost of works
 Grant                                              or £750 +VAT
 Empty Homes Grant            Maximum 70% of Either 10% of the cost of works
                              eligible works or £750 + VAT
Table 3 Processing Charges for Non- Agency Grants


These fees and charges are subject to review and change at any time.

Applicants will be notified of the Agency Service and Processing Cost at the
time of application.




                                                                                 25
8 Financial Assistance

This section details the financial assistance available through this policy. All
assistance is subject to the availability of funding. All assistance is subject to
conditions unless otherwise stated. Details are provided below.

For some forms of assistance available through this policy, there is a delay between
an enquiry being placed with the Council and the Council having the resources to
deal with that enquiry. In accepting an enquiry for assistance, the Council does not
commit itself to providing that form of assistance. The Council will deal with
enquiries in date order, unless there are dangerous living conditions having a
significant effect on the health, safety and wellbeing of the occupant or unless
otherwise specified. When enquiries are approved they will processed under the
policy in place at that time and not the policy in place at the time the initial enquiry
was received. If eligibility criteria, or the terms and conditions of a form of
assistance changes while there are outstanding enquiries, these clients will be
contacted and notified of those changes. This process will enable the Council to
more effectively manage the demand for its services within its given resources.

All financial assistance is subject to conditions relating to the ownership and use of
the property and equipment. Depending upon the assistance received, the
conditions will be registered as a charge either with Land Registry or as a Local
Land Charge.

Details of the administrative and processing requirements is contained in a Council
working document titled Cardiff’s Financial Assistance Operational Handbook.
Changes to this handbook will be made periodically to meet service demands by the
Chief Officer.

   8.1 Renewal Area

A Renewal Area is a method of improving the housing, socio-economic and
environmental conditions of an area in a strategic and co-ordinated manner over a
period of time. This method of renewal recognises that pepper potting of individual
grants does not secure sustainable improvements for individuals or areas. Renewal
Areas have a good track record and have shown that they can increase confidence
in the area, attract inward investment and reverse the trend of decline.

Cardiff Council firmly believes that a strategic approach produces sustainable
results. It has therefore declared two Renewal Areas – West Adamsdown and North
Grangetown. Maps showing the boundaries are attached in Annex 1 and 2.

Within Renewal Areas the following financial assistance is offered, subject to the
availability of funding:


                                                                                     26
   •   Group Repair Grant – used to renew the external fabric of the building
   •   Repair Grant – available to eligible owners for internal works
   •   Property Appreciation Loan – available to eligible owners for internal works
   •   Relocation and Rebuild Grants –available when the property is considered to
       be uneconomic to repair.
   •   Environmental Works Grant.

       8.2 Group Repair

Cardiff Council wants to secure environmental improvements to all deprived
neighbourhoods. Schemes that improve the external appearance of whole blocks of
houses can make a significant difference. This can be achieved through Group
Repair Schemes. Within these schemes a Group Repair Grant will be offered to
allow work to be undertaken to renew the external fabric of houses that are in a poor
state of repair or structurally unstable. The benefits of a Group Repair Scheme
approach are:
    • The Council appoints a contactor to undertake the work
    • The Council will supervise the builders and quality of work on behalf of the
       owner
    • Due to the economies of scale the cost of the works are lower than if each
       property was repaired individually
    • There is a greater environmental impact in the locality.

Specific schemes for inclusion in the group repair programme will be identified from
Cardiff’s House Condition Survey or from the Council’s Local Housing Strategy,
specifically in relation to programmes of work to meet the Welsh Housing Quality
Standard (WHQS).

Below is a summary of the Group Repair Grant.

Group Repair Grants – Summary
Qualifying    Available to all private owners, Registered Social Landlords
criteria      (excluding where the property is in a Renewal Area) and
              leaseholders with repairing obligations within a declared Group
              Repair Scheme (subject to 100% participation of leaseholders for
              the property)
Work eligible Works as determined by the Council to improve the external fabric
for grant aid of a building in accordance with the Cardiff Building Works
              Standard.
Assistance    Owner-occupiers who agree to own and occupy the property
offered       throughout the grant condition period will have a nil contribution
              towards the cost of work,. i.e. 100% Grant, but will not exceed the
              liability of the applicant. They will then sign one of the following


                                                                                  27
              certificates:-
                  • An owner-occupiers certificate.
                  • Flexible Tenure certificate - If applicants are unsure about
                      how they will occupy the property during the Grant Condition
                      Period they can opt to pay 25% of the assessed cost of the
                      scheme. This will enable them to change the tenure during
                      the Grant Condition Period without breaching the conditions
                      of the Grant.
                  • If the owner lives in the property but has a lodger, they will
                      be required to pay 25% of the assessed cost of the scheme
                      to their property and sign a Flexible Tenure Certificate.
                  • Registered Social Landlords are not eligible for grant if the
                      scheme is in a Renewal Area, but can be included in the
                      scheme as an unassisted participant.
                  • Private landlords will have a flat rate contribution of 25% of
                      the assessed cost of the scheme to their property if the
                      property is not accredited through Cardiff’s Accreditation
                      Plus Scheme. Private Landlords who have joined the
                      Accreditation Plus Scheme will have a flat rate contribution
                      of 15% of the assessed cost of the scheme to their property.
                       Landlords must also agree to sign a Certificate of intended
                       letting agreeing that the property will be let for the grant
                       condition period. For owners that have a contribution to pay
                       towards the cost of the works at their property, this
                       contribution will be capped at the time the scheme of
                       consent form is signed.        This will ensure that their
                       contribution will not increase if additional works are found.
                       This would not affect repayment if grant conditions are
                       breached.
Limitation    One Group Repair Grant per applicant in any 5 years
Conditions of The applicant must remain an owner of the property through the
Assistance    grant condition period, and
              The applicant must ensure the property is occupied as stated in the
              occupation certificates i.e. owner-occupier certificate, certificate of
              intended letting or Flexible Tenure Certificate.
Condition     5 years on commencement date of the grant i.e. the date the
period        scheme of consent is signed by all parties.
Agency        Compulsory - Charged at 14% of the cost of works.
Service
Table 4 Details of the Group Repair Grant




                                                                                  28
       8.3 Environmental Works Grant

Environmental improvements can make a considerable impact to tired, run down
areas. To secure maximum take up in the programme the package must be
attractive to the participants. The policy adopted by the Council recognises this.
Overleaf is a summary of the Environmental Improvement Grant assistance.

Environmental Improvement Grant Summary
Qualifying        Available to all private owners, Registered Social Landlords and
criteria          leaseholders in identified Environmental Improvement schemes.
Work eligible for Works as determined by the Council to elevations of a property
grant aid         visible from the street to improve the appearance of the property
                  within its local environment.
Assistance        In Group Repair Schemes and Renewal Areas:
offered           The total cost of the work to residential properties will be funded
                  by the grant. For commercial premises 75% of the cost of the
                  scheme will be funded by the grant. Owners of the properties
                  will be required to contribute a flat rate of 25% of the assessed
                  cost of the scheme to the property

                      Outside Renewal Areas:
                      90% of the cost of the scheme to residential properties will be
                      funded by the grant. Owners of the properties will be required to
                      contribute a flat rate of 10% of the assessed cost of the scheme
                      to the property. No grant is available for commercial premises
                      at present.

                     Administration fees and VAT are included in the scheme costs
Conditions        of No conditions
assistance
Condition period      No condition period
Agency Service        Compulsory - Charged at 14% of the cost of works.
Table 5 Details of the Environmental Works Grant

       8.4 Repair Grant
With limited resources it is not possible to offer grant assistance to all owner
occupiers in Cardiff. In line with Council priorities the Repair Grant will be targeted
to Older People. However, some older persons within this group will have the
financial means to pay for works to their property, either through income or capital
contained within their home. Grant assistance will therefore be targeted towards
those in lower value property on a low income. The criteria and assistance offered
through the Repair Grant is detailed below.




                                                                                    29
Repair Grant – Summary
Qualifying          • The property must be registered with Land Registry in all
criteria               the applicants’ names.
                    • The eligible cost of works, as assessed by the Council,
                       must be £750 or more.
                    • Eligible applicant must:
                       Ø be owner-occupier of the property, and
                       Ø have occupied the property as their only residence for 3
                           years prior to application unless in a Renewal Area, and
                       Ø must be born on or before the 31st March 1947, and
                       Ø the property must be in council tax band A – E, and
                       Ø not have received a Repair Grant in the past 5 years
                           unless that Grant was approved as part of a Council
                           Leasehold Refurbishment Schemes or work is being
                           arranged by ground landlord on behalf of the
                           leaseholders.
                 OR
                    • be able to apply under, and demonstrate, exceptional
                       circumstance for which all applicants must:
                       Ø Be eligible for a Property Appreciation Loan but have
                           insufficient free equity in the property, and
                       Ø The property is in Council Tax band A-E, and
                       Ø There are dangerous living conditions, and
                       Ø There are significant health difficulties which will need to
                           be evidenced.
                   • Budget restrictions will be a factor in determining the
                       number of cases considered in exceptional circumstances.
                       Decisions will be considered at fixed times during the year
                       and made in consultation with the Chief Officer (Housing
                       and Neighbourhood Renewal). The Council’s decision
                       made is final
                   • Date of enquiry for loan will be taken as date of enquiry for
                       grant aid if loan application not progressed.
                   • For all repair grants, all owners of the property must be
                       applicants and will be means-tested to determine the
                       contribution towards the grant assistance.          The total
                       contribution of the owners shall not exceed the contribution
                       threshold level set by the Council. At the time of publication
                       the contribution level was £750. Applicants will be advised
                       of the contribution at the time of assessment.




                                                                                 30
Works eligible Works to be determined by the Council having regard to the
for grant aid  Cardiff Building Works Standard. The work undertaken will aim to
               protect the health, safety and security of the occupants and will
               not exceed the liability of the applicant.
Assistance     Up to 100% of grant aid, subject to a means test and will not
offered        exceed the liability of the applicant
               Fees charged for administration and VAT is covered by the grant.

Conditions       of All applicants must remain an owner of the property
assistance          The property must remain the eligible applicants only residence for
                    that period.

Condition period      10 years on completion of the grant.




Agency Service        Compulsory - Charged at 14% of the cost of works.



Table 6 Details of the Repair Grant



    8.5 Elemental Grant

The Elemental Grant will allow the Council additional flexibility in developing
schemes.




                                                                                   31
Elemental Grant – Summary
Qualifying        Available to all private owners, Registered Social Landlords
criteria          (excluding where the property is in a Renewal Area) and
                  leaseholders with repairing obligations within a declared Group
                  Repair Scheme (subject to 100% participation of leaseholders
                  for the property)


Works eligible Works as determined by the Council to improve the external
for grant aid  fabric of a building in accordance with the Cardiff Building
               Works Standard.

Assistance        Owner-occupiers who agree to own and occupy the property
offered           throughout the grant condition period will have a nil contribution
                  towards the cost of work,. i.e. 100% Grant, but will not exceed
                  the liability of the applicant. They will then sign an owner
                  occupiers certificate. If applicants are unsure about how they
                  will occupy the property during the Grant Condition Period they
                  can opt to pay 25% of the assessed cost of the scheme. They
                  will sign a Flexible Tenure Certificate that enables them to
                  change the tenure during the Grant Condition Period without
                  breaching the conditions of the Grant. If the owner lives in the
                  property but has a lodger, they will be required to pay 25% of
                  the assessed cost of the scheme to their property and sign a
                  Flexible Tenure Certificate.
                  Registered Social Landlords are not eligible for grant if the
                  scheme is in a Renewal Area, but can be included in the
                  scheme as an unassisted participant.
                  Private landlords will have a flat rate contribution of 25% of the
                  assessed cost of the scheme to their property if the property is
                  not accredited through Cardiff’s Accreditation Plus Scheme.
                  Private Landlords who have joined the Accreditation Plus
                  Scheme will have a flat rate contribution of 15% of the
                  assessed cost of the scheme to their property. Landlords must
                  also agree to sign a Certificate of intended letting agreeing that
                  the property will be let for the grant condition period.
                  The contribution to be paid towards the cost of work will be
                  capped at the time of signing the scheme of consent form.

                  The Council reserves the right to refuse a grant where a
                  previous elemental grant would have been required to facilitate
                  the works. For example, where roof work extension would be
                  required prior to external cladding.




                                                                                   32
Conditions   of The applicant must remain an owner of the property through the
assistance      grant condition period, and
                The applicant must ensure the property is occupied as stated in
                the occupation certificates i.e. owner-occupier certificate,
                certificate of intended letting or Flexible Tenure Certificate.
Condition       5 years on commencement date of each elemental grant i.e. the
period          date the scheme of consent is signed by all parties.
Agency Service Compulsory – Charged at 14% of the cost of works
Table 7 Details of the Elemental Grant



    8.6 Small Works Partnership Grant

The small works partnership grant will be used to deliver small low cost works
quickly and sensitively to the needs of mainly older people. In these cases Private
Sector Housing will work with Care and Repair and / or other appropriate agencies.
The maximum value of work offered is £1,000.

The works carried out through this assistance can include:
    •    Minor electrical work, to include the upgrading consumer unit, or earth
         bonding,
    •    Upgrading the security of the property through provision of lock, new
         window or doors,
    •    Improving the escape from a fire through installing fire detector or escape
         windows on first floors,
    •    Preventing of slip or trips through repair of rainwater goods, leaking
         pipework, renewing small areas of pathways or floors.

It is aimed that the service will be provided through a combination of Handyperson
and contractor routes.

Small Works Partnership Grant
Qualifying             Eligible applicant must:
criteria                   • Be age 60 or over,
                           • All owners of the property must have occupied the
                               property for at least 3 years as only residence and ,
                           • Be in receipt of a means tested benefit and
                           • The property must be in council tax band A-E and
                           • Must not have received a Small Works Partnership Grant
                               in the last 5 years totalling more than £1000




                                                                                 33
Work eligible for Works as determined in accordance with Cardiff Building Works
grant aid         Standard valid at the time.
Assistance        100% of grant aid to a maximum of £1000 (excluding VAT and
offered           agency fees), not subject to a means test
                  Fees charged for administration and VAT is covered by the
                  grant.
Conditions     of No conditions
assistance
Condition period No condition period
Agency Service    Optional
                  Non-agency £60 + VAT
                  Council Agency delivered – 14% or £60 + VAT
Table 8 Details of the Small Works Partnership Grant



   8.7 Empty Property Grant

The purpose of this grant is to secure re-occupation of sub-standard properties in
partnership with local Housing Associations.

Empty Property Grant
Qualifying             Property must:-
criteria                  • be empty for more than 6 months

Work eligible for Works as determined by the Council.
grant aid
Assistance        Discretionary
offered           Grant percentage will depend upon property:
                     • type
                     • size
                     • location

                     Maximum of 70% of eligible works
Conditions        of 5 year lease to be signed with Housing Association.
assistance
Condition period       5 Years
Agency Service         Not available
Table 9 Details of the Empty Property Grant




                                                                                     34
   8.8 Homefix Loans

The Council is working in partnership with ART Homes Ltd currently to offer
financial assistance to older people and people on low income who are not eligible
for a grant. However, the Council reserves the right to deliver loans in other ways
should circumstances change.

The assistance offered is a secured loan that does not require monthly repayments.
The amount borrowed is repaid when the property is sold. While the terms and
conditions of the loan are being met, the loan has a no repossession guarantee.

The Council will help applicants who meet the eligibility criteria below and assess
the applicant’s circumstance to determine if a loan is the most suitable option
financially.

In determining the loan offered, consideration will be given to the applicant’s
property value, the level of debt secured against it and the cost of works. If the loan
is offered, it is secured as a charge against the applicant’s property as a percentage
against the property’s value. The amount to be repaid will be based upon the
property value and this percentage. This is explained in the following example.

A property is valued at £150,000 at the time of the loan application. The cost of
works to be undertaken is £15,000. The applicant has no other secured debt and a
loan offer of £15,000 is made and accepted. The repair works are completed. To
secure the charge the cost of works is calculated as a percentage of the property
value, in this example it is 10%. The Council now places a secured charge against
the property stating the owner owes the Council 10% of the property value when it is
sold. When the owner sells the property they must repay the Council 10% of its
value at sale. For example, if the property is sold 2 years later for £155,000 the
owner must repay the council £15,500. But if the property was sold 10 years later
for £180,000 the owner will have to repay the Council £18,000 – 10% of its value.

The application process will include a Property Valuation Report and Solicitors
which will arrange on behalf of the applicant. If applicants are unsure about the loan
they are advised to contact an independent financial adviser or their solicitor.

As a condition of the loan offer, the applicant must employ the Council’s Agency
Service to supervise the work. The cost of employing the Agency will be met by the
Council. In addition, the Council will assist with the costs of setting up the loan, i.e.
the Valuation Report and the Solicitors fees employed on the applicants behalf.




                                                                                      35
Homefix Loans – Summary
Qualifying       The property must be registered with Land Registry in all the
criteria         applicants’ names.

                    All applicants must:
                        • be owner-occupiers, and
                        • have owned and occupied property as their only
                            residence for 3 years prior to application, and
                        • must be aged 60 or over, or a member of the permanent
                            household must be aged 16 or under, or a member of the
                            permanent household must have a lifelong illness or
                            disability, and
                        • must be unable to finance the cost of the works
                            themselves because of low income or no savings.
                    OR be a leaseholder in a block of flats being refurbished as part
                    of the Council’s scheme to meet the Welsh Housing Quality
                    standard,
                    Evidence will be required from the applicant to prove they meet
                    the above criteria
Works      eligible Works to be determined by the Council having regard to the
for grant aid       Cardiff Building Work Standard or Occupational Therapist
                    recommendation. The work undertaken will aim to protect the
                    health, safety and security of the occupants and will not exceed
                    the liability of the applicant.
Assistance          100% of the cost of works subject to the property value and the
offered             debt secured against the property. VAT will also be included into
                    the loan.
                    Fees for the Council Agency Service, Valuation Report and
                    Solicitors Costs will be paid by the Council.
Conditions       of All applicants must remain the owner of the property
assistance          The property must remain the applicant’s only residence
                    No other occupiers to move into the property over the age of 16
                    without the written consent of the Council.
                    Must hold comprehensive building insurance.
Condition period While the loan remains as a secured charge against the property
Agency Service      Compulsory – Charged at 14% of the cost of works – cost will be
                    met by the Council
Table 10 Details of the Homefix Loan




                                                                                  36
    8.9 First Time Buyers Grant – Energy Efficiency

This grant is only available when funding is made available from the Welsh
Assembly Government.

First Time Buyers Grant – Summary
Qualifying          The applicants, including joint owners, must be first time buyers
criteria            and have purchased the property after 27/7/07.
Works      eligible Energy Efficiency Measures
for grant aid
Assistance          Maximum £5k including fees
offered
Conditions       of Certificate of owner-occupation to be signed
assistance          Property can be sold to another owner-occupier
Condition period 2 years
Agency Service      Compulsory - Charged at 14% of the cost of works
Table 11 Details of the First Time Buyers Energy Efficiency Grant

    8.10 Community Alarm Grant

A community alarm can be installed for applicants where required. These alarms
are monitored by Cardiff Community Alarms System, and are invaluable. They offer
reassurance to people who know that there will always be someone available to
help if they require it.

Community Alarm Grant - Summary
Qualifying          All applicants must be:
Criteria                • Over 60 or registered disabled, and
                        • In receipt of a means tested benefit.
                    Proof of benefit receipt is required in the form of an award letter,
                    book/card or bank statement.
Works      eligible The cost of the installation of the alarm and any extra electrical
for grant aid.      or telephone sockets will be eligible.
Assistance          100% of the cost of the works will be covered by the grant.
offered.
Conditions       of No conditions
assistance
Condition period Not applicable
Agency Service Not available
Table 12 Details of the Community Alarm Grant




                                                                                     37
   8.11 Clearance Area Relocation Loan

Clearance Area is a term used to identify a designated area where a property or
properties have become uneconomical to repair, normally as a result of structural
movement or neglect. Where these areas have been identified and action is
required, the Council must by law follow prescribed procedures, including the
notification and agreement of the Welsh Assembly Government.

Where designated Clearance Areas are confirmed, the Council will purchase the
property from the owner, either through agreement or compulsory purchase. In
some circumstances the owner will require alternative accommodation. At times, it
is likely that the value of the property is reduced due to its condition and owners find
it difficult to purchase alternative homes in the locality. The Council feels it is
important to help those people to remain in their own local neighbourhoods, if
possible. In addition to the legal compensation entitlement in these circumstances
the Council may provide a Relocation Loan.

This Loan will help the applicant to purchase a new property. This is a secured loan
that will not require monthly repayments. The amount borrowed will be repaid when
the property is sold. The loan will be subject to conditions that will be outlined
during the application process. While the terms and conditions of the loan are being
met, the loan has a no repossession guarantee.

An assessment will be undertaken of the eligible applicants’ financial circumstances
to determine if they are able to borrow the required amount of money from a High
Street Bank or Building Society. Only applicants unable to afford this borrowing will
be eligible for this loan.

The application process will include a Property Valuation Report and Solicitors fees
which the Council will arrange on behalf of the applicant. If applicants are unsure
about this loan they are advised to contact an independent financial adviser or their
solicitor.

The Council will assist with the costs of setting up the assistance to include costs for
the Valuation Report and Solicitors fees.




                                                                                     38
Clearance Relocation Loan – Summary
Qualifying criteria The applicant must be a qualifying person and live in a property in a
                    declared Clearance Area. The property being purchased must be a
                    qualifying property.
Eligible works      To assist in the purchase of a qualifying property.
Assistance          Cost to purchase a suitable property over the level of borrowing the
offered             applicant can afford.
                    Valuation and Solicitors Fees will be paid for the Council.
Conditions       of The property purchased must be his/ her only residence.
assistance          The applicant must maintain current building insurance
Condition period While loan remains as a secured charge against the property
Agency Service      Not available
Table 13 Details of the Clearance Relocation Loan



   8.12 Rebuild Grant

The Council has found that there are properties in Cardiff that should be demolished
and rebuilt due to the severity of structural defects. In the past the only routes
available to the Council were to either:
   • declare a Clearance Area, or
   • To renovate the property using a grant.

Due to the high property values in Cardiff, Clearance Areas have often not been
possible. As a result, properties have been renovated when it would have been
more cost effective to re-build. The Council, therefore, offers a Rebuild Grant that
will allow demolition of a property and its reconstruction on the same plot of land
where this is considered to be the most satisfactory course of action.

The Council intends to offer this grant assistance to properties where the most
suitable course of action, determined by the Council, is to rebuild. Below is a
summary of the Rebuild Grant.

Rebuild Grant – Summary
Qualifying criteria The most satisfactory course of action for the property, as
                    determined by the Council, is to rebuild.
                    The property must NOT be in a Clearance Area as declared on or
                    after the 1st April 2003.
                    Outside a strategic area identified by the Council, the eligible
                    applicant must have owned and resided in the property as his/ her
                    only residence for 3 years.
                    All owners must be applicants.



                                                                                 39
Eligible works    The demolition and rebuild of the property on the existing plot of
                  land.
                  The size of the property to be built will be determined by the Council,
                  and will not exceed the size of the original property.
Assistance        Applicants will be assessed to determine their contribution towards
offered           the cost of the works. When the property is sold a percentage of the
                  assistance offered will be recovered. For the initial 10 years after the
                  completion, 100% of the assistance paid must be repaid, after this
                  time 25% of the assistance received will be recoverable upon sale.
                  Fees charged for administration and VAT are covered by the grant.
Conditions     of The applicant must remain an owner of the property. The property is
assistance        to be the applicant’s only residence for that period.
                  Following the initial 10 years – 25% of the assistance received will be
                  repaid on the sale of the property
Condition period Full conditions will apply for 10 years on completion of the grant
Agency Service    Compulsory - Charged at 14% of the cost of works
Table 14 Details of the Rebuild Grant

    8.13 Disabled Facilities in the Private Sector

Mandatory Disabled Facilities Grants (DFG) are administered under the Housing
Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 (as amended). This Act details
eligibility and conditions for the assistance and therefore it is excluded from this
policy.

Demand for assistance to adapt property to meet the needs of disabled people in
Cardiff is growing and creating pressure on the resources available. As a result, the
Council has reviewed its Disabled Facilities Service and amended the assistance
available to ensure the continued effective use of Council resources.

              8.13.1. Disabled Plus Grant

This form of grant aid provides additional finance to fund the cost of schemes which
exceed the mandatory grant limit of £36,000, and where the project is considered
the most appropriate course of action. It should be noted that major projects
involving extensive building works and issues such as the Party Wall Act and
working with Dwr Cymru usually protract the time to deliver this level of assistance.
For these reasons, there is a general intention not to take this course of action
unless absolutely necessary. The Disabled Plus Grant provides a means of ‘topping
up’ the mandatory limit where this is considered the most appropriate course of
action.




                                                                                  40
Disabled Plus Grant
When considered as a means of ‘top up’ for mandatory assistance
Qualifying criteria Available to disabled owner occupiers or private tenants.
                    The applicant must have an assessed need for ‘necessary and
                    appropriate’ assistance as an outcome of an assessment by a
                    Council’s Occupational Therapist, and out of an options
                    analysis the scheme is considered the most ‘reasonable and
                    practicable ‘ means of meeting the assessed need..
                    Applicants must be in receipt of a means tested benefit ( or a
                    child under 19 years of age)
                    and
                    The prognosis for independent living is good, and
                    The time taken to secure alternative additional funding would
                    adversely effect the health and well being of the applicant, and
                    unreasonable costs would be incurred from alternative
                    assistance when compared to the additional cost of providing
                    the facility.

                     Applicants must have also lived in the property for at least 3
                     years, the property must be assessed as in Council Band A-E,
                     and the grant aided works must not increase the value of the
                     property.
Works eligible for Mandatory works of adaptation or improvement considered
grant aid            reasonable and practicable and subject to confirmation by a
                     Group Leader, or similar responsible officer.
Assistance offered Means tested assistance up to a maximum of £10,200 plus a
                     maximum of £1800 for unforeseen works ( all including VAT
                     and fees)
Conditions        of The applicant must have resided in the property for 3 years
assistance           prior to making a full application.
                     The applicant must remain an owner or private tenant of the
                     property for 5 years following the completion of the works.
Condition period     5 years – in the case of a breech of this condition at any time
                     within this period the full amount of Disabled Plus Grant shall
                     be reclaimed
Table 15 Details of the Disabled Plus Grant




                                                                                41
            8.13.2 Disabled Priority Assistance

This assistance ensures a quick and effective source of help to the most vulnerable
outside of mainstream grants. The grant is to be utilised where a need for ‘fast
track’ aid has been recognised by a Senior Occupational Practitioner, and the
circumstances meet the Authority’s criteria.

The objective behind this policy is to eliminate the heavy bureaucracy involved in
processing a mainstream grant, and provide assistance as quickly as possible, at
the most difficult of times. This assistance is particularly useful in freeing up NHS
beds where facilities are urgently required in a patients home to facilitate safe
discharge.

The criterion particularly describes a maximum time (3 weeks) to complete the
works or a notional maximum value (£12,000). The reasoning behind this is that the
whole ethos of providing ‘fast track’ assistance suggests a presented urgent need,
and any major scheme would negate any perceived benefits. However, given the
many varied combinations of support, and the occasional expensive piece of
equipment, a facility to consider the benefits of large schemes on their merit is given
to Senior Managers.




                                                                                    42
Disabled Priority Assistance
When considering fast track assistance outside of mandatory grant aid
Qualifying     Available to disabled owner occupiers or private tenants.
criteria       The work meets the criteria of ‘necessary and appropriate’ and
               ‘reasonable and practicable’ as defined in the provision of
               mandatory grant aid.
               Cases to be considered are in the in the current definition of
               ‘Priority’ (or commonly known as Fast track’) i.e.
                   • High risk situations relating to Health & Safety of the
                       individual or their carer
                   • The client has a severe life limiting condition, which is rapidly
                       deteriorating
                   • There is substantial or critical risk to independence relating to
                       daily living autonomy, health and safety and involvement
               One or more of the above criteria must be used to facilitate a safe
               hospital discharge or prevent an imminent breakdown of the caring
               situation, which may result in admission to hospital or long term
               care.

Works          Urgent and important works of adaptation or improvement which
eligible   for can be completed within 3 weeks of commencement on site and /or
grant aid      have a nominal value of less than £12,000k ( Excluding VAT &
               Fees).
               Exceptional cases outside of the basic eligibility criteria will be
               considered for this form of funding where an options analysis
               confirms that this is the best course of action. A report from the
               Operational Manager will require the counter signature of the
               Occupational Therapy Manager.
Assistance     100% grant aid
offered
Conditions     Applicant will reside in the property for a minimum period of 5 years.
for            A breach of condition at any time will incur 100% penalty charges
assistance
Condition      5 years
period
Table 16 Summary of the Disabled Priority Assistance




                                                                                   43
            8.13.3 Adaptations Requiring Repair or Replacement

The grants regime facilitates support based upon a snapshot of the social need and
financial position of the disabled applicant. Under normal circumstances the
equipment provided has a warranty life of one year from purchase, and from this
point the applicant becomes responsible for the servicing, repair, and ultimately, the
replacement of all items provided. Clients are advised of this arrangement, but
there are still many instances where the client does not have the ability, technical
knowledge or financial resources to take on their responsibilities. The impact of any
loss of use of assistance is immediately felt by the client, and there is usually an
immediacy for assistance should the item be entirely out of commission without
warning.

The first point of contact for clients under these circumstances is usually the
Council’s Disabled Facilities Service; to facilitate support when most needed, the
DFS will introduce discretionary assistance which supplements the initial snapshot
of demand, and recognises the vulnerability of its clients when adaptations are
unavailable (which could initiate a significant level of immediate personal care in the
home where the adaptation previously met that need). In introducing this
discretionary assistance it is recognised that levels of support will be subject to
demand and resources available at any one time.




                                                                                    44
Adaptation Repair & Replacement Assistance
When considering the need for repairing or replacing adaptations which have
failed under reasonable use or come to the end of their reasonable life
Qualifying     Available to disabled owner occupiers or private tenants.
criteria       The work meets the criteria of ‘necessary and appropriate’ and
               ‘reasonable and practicable’ as defined in the provision of
               mandatory grant aid and would normally qualify for assistance out of
               the current Repair & Replacement policy. .
               Cases to be considered by a Team Leader, Housing Occupational
               Therapist, Senior Practitioner or Service Manager following suitable
               inspection by a technical officer or professional person..

Works          Urgent and important works of repair or replacement for adaptations
eligible   for which have failed out of reasonable usage or have come to the end
grant aid      of their reasonable working life. Items would not normally exceed a
               nominal cost of £5000, but exceptional cases outside of the basic
               eligibility criteria will be considered for this form of funding where an
               options analysis confirms that this is the best course of action. A
               Senior Manager may be directed to review the recommendation for
               evidence of misuse which may result in withdrawal of assistance.
Assistance     Normally 100% assistance
offered
Conditions     nil
for
assistance
Condition      nil
period
Table 17 Summary of the Adaptation, Repair & Replacement Assistance




             8.13.4 Low Cost Adaptations

The Review of the Disabled Grants process carried by WAG in 2001 advocated that
Local Authorities should consider introducing processes which allow the provision of
low cost adaptations as effectively as possible, and should endeavour to provide
assistance outside of the bureaucratic processes which are in place for statutory
assistance through the Housing Acts.

With this in mind, the DFS introduces ‘Low Cost Adaptation Assistance.’ This
discretionary assistance would seek to provide assistance for the initial of
adaptations and improvements costing between £1000 and £5000 (notional and
reasonable estimated values at an early stage).



                                                                                     45
The service has been considering the issue of self referral as a means of providing
support through non bureaucratic processes where simple and effective solutions
are readily sought e.g. a client, 85 years of age, having difficulty getting in or out of
a bath. The normal solution for these situations is for an Occupational Therapist
(OT) to visit the home and consider all of the presenting issues. In the majority of
cases the referral to the DFS would be for a walk in shower to replace the bath.

Taking into consideration the limited resources of OTs, and the obvious immediate
need of the client, it is proposed that the DFS consider providing assistance where
the solution would effectively meet the need of the client by early provision.

To safeguard the client against issues which may not have been presented at the
time of self referral, the case would be passed to the OT Service for consideration of
a ‘follow up’ visit as their priorities allow. Any further recommendation would be
con7sidered through normal processes. The DFS will seek to pilot a project in an
appropriate area of the City, and this will inform the possibility of expanding the
service to other areas. It is envisaged that such a service would fold in to all
existing policies, but ‘low cost adaptation assistance ‘would particularly benefit this
type of service. Again, the long term delivery of this service will be subject to
demand and resources and regular reviews will be needed to inform decision
making.




                                                                                      46
Low Cost Adaptation Assistance
When considering the need for initial assistance for adaptations costing a
nominal sum of between £1000 - £5000. ( works above parameters for Safety
at Home and below assistance levels through the main grant route)
Qualifying   Available to disabled owner occupiers or private tenants.
criteria     Available to all disabled owner occupiers or private tenants, and to
             children. Council Tax bill and 2 utility bills accepted as proof of
             being a qualifying person, and landlord’s written permission where
             applicable.
             The work would normally meet the criteria of ‘necessary and
             appropriate’ and ‘reasonable and practicable’ as defined in the
             provision of mandatory grant aid.
             Cases to be considered by a Group Leader, Housing Occupational
             Therapist, Senior Practitioner. Service Manager or Operational
             Manager following suitable inspection and recommendation by a
             technical officer or professional person..

Works            Works which meet the eligibility criteria in operation at the time of
eligible   for   consideration of assistance.
grant aid
Assistance       Subject to confirmation of receipt of a means tested benefit
offered          ( normally through sighting of confirmation of receipt by an
                 appropriate officer) -100% assistance
Conditions       A minimum of 3 years would have normally elapsed following
for              payment before any subsequent application is considered under this
assistance       form of grant. Exceptions to this rule will be considered and
                 authorised by a Service Manager, Housing Occupational Therapist,
                 or Operational Manager Applicant will reside in the property for a
                 minimum period of 5 years. A breech of condition at any time will
                 incur 100% penalty charges
Condition        5 years
period
Table 18 Summary of Low Cost Adaptation Assistance




                                                                                   47
          8.13.4 Partnership working with the Care and Repair Agency

To improve the responsiveness of assistance the Council proposes to work in
partnership with Cardiff Care and Repair on the following schemes:

          8.13.4.1 Stairlift Project

In this scheme the Council will refer suitable clients to Cardiff Care and Repair
where the recommended adaptation includes the installation of a stairlift. Stairlifts
are an effective and economic tool in increasing access to amenities around the
home and often eliminate the need to re-site amenities and services. The benefit of
this scheme to the client is a quicker response, and to the Council a reduction of
costs enabling more people to be helped.

The Agency will accept responsibility for the prompt installation of the stairlift,
liaising with both contractor and client. In return for providing this service the
Agency will receive a fee intended to cover the cost of service provision

          8.13.4.2 Safety at Home

The Disabled Facilities Service receives a number of instructions for ‘minor works’
(i.e. works costing less than £1000) to be completed at the applicants home. This
work can include grab rails, internal and external handrails, ramping, and
modification of steps etc. The schemes are at the heart of ensuring that the most
vulnerable remain safe and comfortable in their own home, and physical barriers to
a normal life are removed, and can be summarised as:-

          Ø Preventative works – i.e. works carried out in a persons home which
            ensure a safe home environment and thereby prevent slips, trips, and
            falls around the home
          Ø Safe discharge from hospital or institutional care – works carried out
            in or around a persons home that enable primary care services to
            facilitate safe discharge to a home environment

It is aimed that the service will be provided through a combination of Handyperson
and contractor routes.

          8.13.4.3 Stairlift Recycling Scheme

The Council occasionally receives an offer to return stairlifts that were originally
provided through grant assistance following the death of a client or where the client
is taken into care or hospital. Where the stairlift is in generally good condition there
is an opportunity to recover the equipment and re-cycle it for use at another
property.



                                                                                     48
It is intended to work with Cardiff Care and Repair to provide this re-cycling service.
The lift will be required to be recovered, serviced, and stored until required for use
and then installed at a new property. The average cost for this service provided by
an approved installer when compared to the average cost of a new, straight lift
(£1,600) demonstrates considerable savings.

   8. 14 Disabled Relocation Grant

The Council recognises that in some circumstances it is more appropriate for a
disabled person to move home to a more suitable property where the adaptation of
their current property is either not practicable or the cost is not reasonable. To
support this move the Council will offer a Disabled Relocation Grant. This grant will
be subject to a means tested to determine an applicant’s contribution, but will help
pay for the legal costs in buying and selling a property, moving between two
properties and undertaking minor work to the new property to make it suitable for
occupation. Below is a summary of the Disabled Relocation Grant.

 Disabled Relocation Grant
 Where the most effective means of meeting the need is to consider moving
 to a more appropriate property
 Qualifying criteria The applicant must meet the eligibility criteria for a mandatory
                     DFG.
                     The property being purchased must be a suitable property
                     meeting, or capable of meeting, the assessed need in every
                     way including any necessary minor assistance for low level
                     adaptations. The cost of relocating to a suitable property is
                     considered the most appropriate course of action out of a test
                     of reasonableness and an options analysis.
 Eligible works      To assist in the purchase of a suitable property including
                     estate agent fees, conveyance costs, stamp duty, and
                     removal expenses.
 Assistance          100% of the described costs up to maximum award of
 offered             £18,000.
 Conditions       of Full repayment upon disposal of the property
 assistance
 Condition period Conditions will apply for 5 years from completion of contracts
Table 19 Details of Disabled Relocation Grant

             8.14.1 Recovery of Specialised Equipment for the Disabled

Adaptations and improvements for disabled clients often involve the provision of
expensive equipment and this often outlives the period of use of the recipient. Often
family members are left with the problem of disposing of items which were provided
for relatives who have been forced into institutional care or have passed away. As a


                                                                                    49
general rule, all of the services provided in the foregoing assistance will carry an
agreement that the Council will reserve the right to consider recycling items at their
discretion. The right to exercise the discretion will primarily depend on the age and
condition of the item and the current need for refurbished equipment. Obviously,
there will be costs involved such as refurbishment and removal, storage and
resiting, but there will still be considerable cost and service benefits in considering
this route. The following is a suggested form of words for recycling adaptations
(Welsh Office Circular 59/96) which has been adapted to apply to all of the
assistance provided through the Private Sector Renewal Policy.

       (1) Where an application for assistance has been approved under the
           Private Sector Renewal Policy and the eligible works consist of or
           include the installation in the property of specialised equipment for the
           disabled occupant(s),the applicant shall notify the authority if and as
           soon as the equipment is no longer needed.

       (2) The Authority, or the Social Services Authority on their behalf, shall be
            entitled, upon reasonable prior written notice given to the applicant
            either following the giving of the notification above, or at any time, to
            inspect the equipment and, subject to complying with sub-paragraph (3),
            to remove it.

       (3) The authority agrees, within a reasonable time following an inspection of
            the equipment, -
              (a) To notify the applicant in writing whether the equipment is
              to be removed; and
              b) if the equipment is to be removed, to remove it or arrange
              for it to be removed and forthwith to make good any
              damage caused to the property (whether by the authority
              themselves or the social services authority) by its
              removal.

       (4) Subject to the authority giving prior notice, the applicant or his
           representatives will arrange reasonable access to the property to the
           Authority or the Social Services Authority for the purposes of inspection
           and removal of the equipment.

            8.14.2 Disabled Tenants in the Public Sector

This Authority has made the decision to operate a single point of contact for
disability services in both the private and public sector. The reasoning for this was
to eliminate any inequities that may have been introduced into the system by
service delivery from various organisational points. Essentially this decision has



                                                                                    50
proven extremely successful, particularly from the client’s perspective, and in almost
every respect the Disabled Facilities process provides an equitable service
irrespective of tenure.

The reasons for the Private Sector Renewal Policy only applying to the private
sector have to be accepted, as its remit is defined by legislation. However, the
opportunities offered in this document could serve to introduce inequities into the
system which would discriminate because of tenure. To eliminate this, a set of
policies will be introduced for the public sector which completely replicates as far as
possible the effects of the grant processes in the private sector (with the necessary
adjustments where proof of ownership, responsibilities of the landlord etc do not
apply).

            8.14.3 Energy Efficiency Issues

Recent research has shown that in Wales approximately 30,000 people a year die
unnecessarily because of the effects of being cold. There is no subsequent known
research to isolate the numbers of deaths which occur in the disabled sector, but
nevertheless it can be reasonably assumed that they are not under represented in
the calculations. What can be assumed is that being disabled does normally bring
additional living costs, and where finances are low the choice between heating and
living costs meet it is sometimes easier to forgo keeping warm – sometimes with
serious consequences.

Private Sector Housing and the Disabled Facilities Service intend to bring the issue
into consideration in all areas of its service. By setting up a major partnership with
energy professionals it is intended in the first place to signpost all relevant cases
demonstrating issues around keeping warm to appropriate agencies for support e.g.
loft insulation, cavity fill, caseworker support, etc. It is expected that the majority of
referrals will be resolved through external agencies, but there are occasions where
the particular needs cannot be satisfied in this way, or additional funding is required
to offer a ‘whole’ solution.

Under these circumstances, any one of the existing means of support though the
RRO will be used to meet the need.               All support costs and the long term
sustainability of this proposal will be subject to available resources when set against
the mainstream services of providing adaptations.

   8.15 New Assistance not detailed above

Occasionally, the Council receives additional funding from the Welsh Assembly
Government or other sources to target particular issues. It is not possible to predict
when this additional source of funding may be available. Therefore, to ensure both



                                                                                       51
the residents of Cardiff and the Council maximise all possible funding opportunities,
this Policy allows the flexibility for the Corporate Director for the Environment to
adopt new types of assistance. The terms and conditions for the targeted
assistance will be developed which will be formalised at the earliest possible
opportunity through the Council’s decision making process. Any new assistance
would be publicised appropriately e.g. Renewal Area newsletters or the Council’s
local newspaper, or the target group will be directly contacted to raise awareness of
the new for m of assistance.




                                                                                  52
9 Conditions of Financial Assistance

All the assistance detailed in this document is subject to conditions unless
otherwise stated. A summary of the conditions of each assistance is detailed
in the sections above. Full details of terms and conditions will be provided
upon application.

   9.1 Waiver of Conditions

The waiver of conditions to repay financial assistance will depend upon the
assistance received and the circumstances of the applicant. If an applicant believes
they may be eligible for a waiver of the assistance conditions (as set out below) they
are advised to contact the Council for advice before they take any action which may
constitute a breach of condition. The Council decision on a wavier application is
final.

      9.1.1 Loan Conditions
This assistance is given on the condition it will be repaid. Therefore, waiver will not
be considered in any circumstance. For example:
     • If the applicant is required to move due to circumstances beyond their
        control, or
     • if the applicant dies, but the property remains occupied, the amount as
        detailed in the secured charge will be recovered.

The secured charge will also be recovered on ownership transfer of the property
regardless of the relationship of the new owner to the applicant. In certain
circumstances if ownership passes to a family member, if that person is eligible,
they may apply for a transfer of loan.

       9.1.2 Grant Conditions
In exceptional circumstances the Council may consider the waiver of the terms and
conditions of grant aid given. However, It will be the applicant’s responsibility to
prove their exceptional circumstances to the Council. This application must be
made in writing. The decision of the Council is final. The relevant Operational
Manager, in consultation with Internal Audit, will consider each application and the
applicant will be informed of the outcome in writing. This decision will either be:-
       1) approval of the waiver or,
       2) refusal of the waiver or,
       3) an agreement to the reduction in the amount to be repaid and/or
       4) an agreement to amend the terms and conditions of grant aid

Application for waiver will be assessed according to the Renewal Policy in place at
the time of that application for waiver, and not the policy under which the assistance
was approved.


                                                                                    53
The main principle behind the Council’s decision to agree an application for waiver
will be whether the repayment of that grant assistance will cause significant financial
hardship to the grant applicant or the grant applicant’s estate would be in deficit.

Applications for waiver must be made in advance of a breach of grant conditions. If
this is beyond their reasonable control of the applicant to submit an application in
advance of a breach of conditions, in very exceptional circumstances the Council
may consider the application in retrospect if evidence is provided detailing why the
application is in retrospect. The Council’s decision is final.




                                                                                    54
   9.2 Repayment of Grant on Breach of Condition
   If the applicant ceases to be, or is found not to be, entitled to the grant after approval the grant will be recovered together with
   compound interest. Interest will be charged at a reasonable rate as determined by the Council.

Grant Type     Grant             Breach of the      Failure         to   Additional           Disposal after        Disposal             Disposal upon        Disposal after
               Condition         Occupation         complete             owners added         approval        but   certified     but    death between        Condition
               Period            certificate        grant     within     to   title   after   before                before end of        approval      and    Period
                                 signed             time scales set      approval             Certification         condition            the expiry of
                                                                         before end of                              period               the        Grant
                                                                         condition                                                       condition
                                                                         period                                                          period

Repair         10 years on       Repay      grant   Repay                Repayment       of   Repay                 Repay       grant    Repay                No Payment
               completion of     amount     plus    Instalments          grant        plus    instalments           amount               instalments    or
               the grant.        interest           plus interest        interest             plus interest                              amount of grant


Group Repair   5   years    on   Repay      grant   Repay                Repayment of         Repay                 Full repayment       Full repayment       No Payment
               completion of     amount     plus    Instalments          grant        plus    instalments           for first 3 years,   for first 3 years,
               the grant         interest           plus interest        interest             plus interest         2/3   repayment      2/3   repayment
                                                                                                                    for year 4, 1/3      for year 4, 1/3
                                                                                                                    repayment      for   repayment      for
                                                                                                                    year 5               year 5

Elemental      5   years    on   Repay      grant   Repay                Repayment       of   Repay                 Full repayment       Full repayment       No Payment
Grant          completion of     amount     plus    Instalments          grant        plus    instalments           for first 3 years,   for first 3 years,
               the grant         interest           plus interest        interest             plus interest         2/3   repayment      2/3   repayment
                                                                                                                    for year 4, 1/3      for year 4, 1/3
                                                                                                                    repayment      for   repayment      for
                                                                                                                    year 5               year 5




                                                                                                                                                                          55
Grant Type      Grant            Breach of the      Failure         to   Additional            Disposal after        Disposal             Disposal upon        Disposal after
                Condition        Occupation         complete             owners added          approval        but   certified     but    death between        Condition
                Period           certificate        grant     within     to    title   after   before                before end of        approval      and    Period
                                 signed             time scales set      approval              Certification         condition            the expiry of
                                                                         before end of                               period               the        Grant
                                                                         condition                                                        condition
                                                                         period                                                           period
Environmental   5   years   on   Repay      grant   Repay                N/A                   Repay                 Full repayment       Full repayment       No Payment
Works Grant     completion of    amount     plus    Instalments                                instalments           for first 3 years,   for first 3 years,
                the grant        interest           plus interest                              plus interest         2/3   repayment      2/3   repayment
                                                                                                                     for year 4, 1/3      for year 4, 1/3
                                                                                                                     repayment      for   repayment      for
                                                                                                                     year 5               year 5
Small   works   5   years   on   Repay      grant   N/A                  Repayment        of   Repay                 Repay                Repay                No Payment
Partnership     completion of    amount     plus                         grant         plus    instalments           instalments    or    instalments    or
Grant           the grant        interest                                interest              plus interest         amount of grant      amount of grant




First    Time   2   years   on   Repay      grant   Repay                Repayment        of   Repay                 Repay       grant    Repay                No Payment
Buyers Grant    completion of    amount     plus    Instalments          grant         plus    instalments           amount               instalments    or
                the grant        interest           plus interest        interest              plus interest                              amount of grant




                                                                                                                                                                           56
Grant Type       Grant             Breach of the      Failure         to   Additional           Disposal after        Disposal            Disposal upon       Disposal after
                 Condition         Occupation         complete             owners added         approval        but   certified    but    death between       Condition
                 Period            certificate        grant     within     to   title   after   before                before end of       approval      and   Period
                                   signed             time scales set      approval             Certification         condition           the expiry of
                                                                           before end of                              period              the        Grant
                                                                           condition                                                      condition
                                                                           period                                                         period
Empty            5   years    on   Repay      grant   Repay                Repayment of         Repay                 Repay       grant   Repay               No Payment
Property Grant   completion of     amount     plus    Instalments          grant        plus    instalments           amount              instalments    or
                 the grant         interest           plus interest        interest             plus interest                             amount of grant




Rebuild Grant    Full              Repay      grant   Repay                Repayment       of   Repay                 Repay       grant   Repay               Repay 25% of
                 conditions        amount     plus    Instalments          grant        plus    instalments           amount              instalments    or   the         grant
                 will apply for    interest           plus interest        interest             plus interest                             amount of grant     received
                 10 years on
                 completion of
                 the grant
Disabled Plus    5   years    on   Repay      grant   Repay                                     Repay                 Repay       grant   Repay               No Payment
                 completion of     amount     plus    Instalments                               instalments           amount              instalments    or
                 the grant         interest           plus interest                             plus interest                             amount of grant

Disabled         5   years    on   Repay      grant   Repay                                     Repay                 Repay       grant   Repay               No Payment
Priority         completion of     amount     plus    Instalments                               instalments           amount              instalments    or
Assistance       the grant         interest           plus interest                             plus interest                             amount of grant




                                                                                                                                                                          57
Grant Type          Grant            Breach of the      Failure         to   Additional            Disposal after        Disposal            Disposal upon       Disposal after
                    Condition        Occupation         complete             owners added          approval        but   certified    but    death between       Condition
                    Period           certificate        grant     within     to    title   after   before                before end of       approval      and   Period
                                     signed             time scales set      approval              Certification         condition           the expiry of
                                                                             before end of                               period              the        Grant
                                                                             condition                                                       condition
                                                                             period                                                          period
Adaptation          No conditions    N/A                Repay                N/A                   N/A                   N/A                 N/A                 N/A
Repair         &                                        Instalments
Replacement                                             plus interest
Assistance
Low          Cost   5 Years on       N/A                Repay                N/A                   N/A                   N/A                 N/A                 N/A
Adaptations         completion of                       Instalments
                    the grant                           plus interest

Disability          5   years   on   Repay      grant   Repay                Repay                 Repay                 Repay       grant   Repay               No Payment
Relocation          completion of    amount     plus    Instalments          instalments           instalments           amount              instalments    or
Grant               the grant        interest           plus interest        plus interest         plus interest                             amount of grant
Table 20 Summary of Grant Repayment upon Disposal/Breach




                                                                                                                                                                             58
9.3 Recovered Grant Aid

All money recovered as a result of the breach of grant assistance will be returned to the
appropriate Capital Programme within the Service Areas. The return of this recovered
grant aid will enable the Service Areas to assist other clients who have requested
assistance.




                                                                                      59
10 Further Development

This policy sets out details of the financial assistance the Council currently offers and the
context within which these packages have been developed. The level of funding available
for the Council to support repairs to privately owned properties is reducing and there is
now a need for alternative packages for owners who cannot afford to maintain or adapt
their homes to be developed and reviewed regularly. Some of these packages are being
developed in conjunction with some of our partner organisations such as ART Homes and
Care and Repair Cardiff.

Over the last few years the Council has been working with other South Wales Local
Authorities and the Welsh Assembly Government to develop a “Pilot loan scheme”. This
pilot has been included in this policy. Following the completion of the pilot in 2010, the
Council will evaluate its impact and re-assess the assistance it offers with view to adopting
a further policy.




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11 Complaints

Whilst the Council endeavours to meet the needs of all its customers, there may be
circumstances when individuals feel aggrieved. This grievance may be due to the policy
or about the standard of service. In all cases where a complaint is received, in accordance
with the procedure outlined below, a formal response will be sent to the complainant.

   11.1 Complaints about the policy

Members of the public aggrieved by the content of the policy, the eligibility of the
assistance or by the conditions of the assistance can take the following action:

            11.1.1 Content of the Policy
The Council welcomes any views about this policy. To express any concerns please write
to the Chief Officer for Housing and Neighbourhood Renewal, at PO Box 67, Cardiff, CF11
1LY.

             11.1.2 Eligibility
Each type of assistance has its own eligibility criteria. Individuals, who fall outside the
criteria, may still be considered for assistance if they can prove exceptional circumstances.
In these cases please write to the Operational Manager (Private Sector Housing) at
Housing and Neighbourhood Renewal, PO Box 67, Cardiff, CF11 1LY stating your reasons
for being considered under this provision.

   11. 2 Complaints about the standard of service

Cardiff Council operates a Corporate Complaints Policy. Customers dissatisfied with the
service received, resulting from activity undertaken through this policy, should use
procedures laid out in Cardiff Council Corporate Complaints Policy. Copies of the policy
are available on request.




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12 Performance Indicators

The Welsh Assembly Government and Cardiff Council set annual performance targets for
services provided, as detailed below. Targets and results are published by the Welsh
Assembly and the Council each year and are available on request from the Council’s
Private Sector Housing service.

13 Implementation Plan

This policy, and the assistance detailed within it, will come into effect on the 14th May
2009.

Applications for assistance will be dealt with by the Policy in force at the time of processing
the application not by the date when the application was submitted.

Applications that have been completed under the Private Sector Housing Renewal Policy
2003/4, 2005, 2006 and 2007/8 will be required to adhere to the conditions of grant aid set
out in the appropriate policy until the end of the grant condition period. However, if an
applicant wishes to apply for waiver of those terms and conditions, the application will
have to be made under the Renewal Policy in force at the time of approval of the grant or
the last policy adopted. Copies of the previous policies are available from Private Sector
Housing on request.




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14 Policy Review

It is intended to review this Policy following evaluation of the Loans Pilot Scheme in 2010.

Administration amendments to this policy may be required from time to time. This may
involve changes to the grant application pack and the mechanisms for processing grants.
Changes that do not affect the eligibility for assistance and conditions of assistance may
be made by the relevant Corporate Director without recourse to Council / Executive.




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Glossary and index of defined terms
Accreditation Plus Scheme – This scheme is run by Cardiff Council to
improve standards within the private rented sector. Details of the scheme,
together with the schemes requirements, terms and conditions can be found
in the published Accreditation Plus Booklet. Copies are available from Cardiff
County Council, PO Box 67, Cardiff, CF11 1LY.
Cardiff Works Standard – this is a working document used by the Council.
It details the standard of work attained for a grant to be certified. This
document may be altered at an operational level from time to time to reflect
changes in service requirements.
Certificate of Future Occupation - certifies that the person concerned –
(a) has an owner's interest in the premises, and
(b) intends that throughout the Grant Condition Period the house or a part of it
(specified in the certificate) will be residentially occupied, or available for
residential occupation, under tenancies or licences by persons who are not
members of the owner’s family for the time being of the house.
Certificate of Intended Letting - certifies that the person concerned –
(a) has an owner's interest in the premises, and
(b) intends that throughout the Grant Condition Period the dwelling will be let
or available for letting as a residence.
Certificate of Title – A signed statement by a bank, building society or
solicitor stating the applicant is the legal owner of the property.
Certified date – means the date on which the execution of the eligible works
is completed to the Council satisfaction, or for a Relocation Grant the date on
which the grant aid is paid.
Completion date – the date on which the Council sign the grant off as
complete.

Council’s Grant Agency – this is a service run by the Council to aid
applicants in undertaking grant aid work.
Disabled Facilities Grant – Mandatory grant aid administrated and approved
under the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 (as
amended)
Elderly occupants – Person aged 60 years or over
Financial resources – refers to allocated monies within Council budget for
the carrying out of grant aid under this policy.
Flexible Tenure Certificate certifies that the applicant -
(a) Has a qualifying owner's interest, and
(b) Intends to live in the dwelling as his only residence or will let the property
throughout the Grant Condition Period




                                                                               64
House-boat - a boat or similar structure designed or adapted for use as a
place of permanent habitation which is a dwelling for the purposes of Part I of
the Local Government Finance Act 1992 (Council Tax).
House in Multiple Occupation – as defined in the Housing Act 2004, i.e. a
house which is occupied by persons who do not form a single household.
Landlord and Managing Agent Qualifying Criteria – as required under the
Council’s Accreditation Plus scheme.
Mobile Home - a caravan within the meaning of Part I of the Caravan Sites
and Control of Development Act 1960 (disregarding the amendment made by
section 13(2) of the Caravan Sites Act 1968), which is a dwelling for the
purposes of Part I of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 (Council Tax).
Most Satisfactory Course of Action – within the meaning of the Housing Act
2004. In determining the most satisfactory action for the dwelling the Council
will have regard to the current guidance issued by the Welsh Assembly
Government.
Owner’s Interest – The person has legal ownership of the property and/or
land whether on his own or jointly with others
Owner – Occupier – holds a freehold or leasehold interest in a property. If
leasehold, the qualifying tenant must hold a lease where the remaining time
on the lease exceeds the grant condition period and must have a repairing
obligation or an obligation to pay for the repairs

Owner-Occupation Certificate certifies that the applicant –
(a) Has a qualifying owner's interest, and
(b) Intends to live in the dwelling as his only residence throughout the Grant
Condition Period.
Rate of Contribution – the amount of money that the applicant will be
required to contribute to the Grant.
Registered Social Landlord – as defined under the Housing Act 1996, i.e. a
social landlord that is registered at the Housing Corporation.
Renewal Area – A defined area identified as declared under the Local
Government and Housing Act 1989 (as amended).
Schedule of eligible works – details of works eligible for grant aid as defined
in section 1.3. For each grant the works eligible for grant aid will differ but
these have been defined within each section detailing the grant.
Supplementary Works – Additional works required under the Council’s
Accreditation Plus scheme that is above the legal requirements for
accommodation as detailed in the Housing Act 1985.
Tenant's Certificate certifies –
(a) That the applicant is a qualifying tenant of the dwelling, and
(b) That he intends to live in the dwelling as his only residence.
(c) That there are five years remaining on the lease.


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Annex 1

Map 1 West Adamsdown Renewal Area




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Annex 2
Map 2 North Grangetown Renewal Area




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DOCUMENT INFO
Description: Cardiff Equity Home Loan document sample