Grants to help you improve your property
Updated: 21 May 2013
There is a wide range of standards in the quality of construction and maintenance of private rented accommodation.
Given the cost of necessary improvements there is a real need to identify and secure additional funding sources in order to adequately address the problems and potential of this tenure. We are always looking at new and innovative ways of providing grant assistance to owners, for example, through our Private Sector Improvement Services and the Strategy for the Private Rented Sector. The Grants Scheme is designed to provide assistance for the improvement and repair of domestic property within the private sector. For information on the types of grants available at any time you should contact your local grants office.
Renovation and repair grants
The most traditional way of helping owners to improve and repair properties has been through the use of Renovation and Repair Grants under The Housing (Northern Ireland) Order 2003. Almost all grants are awarded at our discretion.
As a general rule, grants are automatically available only when the local council has served a statutory notice, such as a Public Health Notice, Notice of Unfitness, Notice of Disrepair or if the property is in an area which we have declared to be a Group Repair Scheme. The one exception is when standard amenities are required. Most of the work undertaken is focused on sub-standard housing.
For further advice on our present grants policy or any query regarding Renovation or Repair Grants, HMO Grant etc, please contact your local grants office.
Main conditions of eligibility
Each grant has different rules about who can apply. You must usually be over 18 and own or rent the property. Home Improvement Grants are only available for residential properties. We also target grant aid at areas and types of properties which will benefit most from assistance.
You will only be eligible for a grant if you own or rent the property, and:
- the property was built or converted more than 10 years ago
- the property is in one of the targeted geographical areas
- a grant is the best option to take to improve the property
There may be other conditions we will impose when awarding a grant. To find out more about the different kinds of grants available, visit the grants section of this website.
Applying for a grant
You should contact your local grants office for a preliminary enquiry form. We will consider your application and whether it is approved or refused, you will receive written notification of any decision made. You must not start the work before the grant has been approved.
Clearly, as part of any overall housing policy, it is necessary for us to take enforcement action to deal with unsatisfactory housing. In the private sector it is not uncommon to find unacceptable conditions that need to be investigated and it is at the outset the policy to try to negotiate to bring about improvement. However, if this fails it is sometimes necessary to serve legal notices to ensure repair work or improvements are done.
In summary, our approach is to:
- negotiate to improve substandard housing conditions without enforcement action
- use statutory enforcement powers where unsatisfactory conditions exist that detrimentally affect the health of the occupants
- explore methods of encouraging owner occupiers to maintain and improve the property
- work with landlords to help improve private rented accommodation
- develop a targeted approach to solving unfitness through the incentive of renovation and other associated grants