Covid-19 Private Sector Grant update

Covid-19 – Private Sector Grant update

We continue to deal with the challenge of coronavirus (COVID 19) and are completing technical inspections as quickly as possible.

We were unable to carry out property inspections during the first lockdown (23 March – 26 June 2021) which led to a build-up of inspections. We thank you for your patience as we continue to work through these.

We are contacting customers to arrange appointments. We are also accepting new applications for grant aid.

Disabled Facilities Grants

Please note that Disabled Facilities Grants must be referred to us by an Occupational Therapist (OT).

Local Health and Social Services Trusts provide OT services.

You can get more information about this service from the NI Direct website at:

Other grants available are:

  • renovation
  • replacement
  • home repair assistance
  • repair

You can read more about these in our section:

The safety of our customers and staff is a priority.  We will work with you to make sure you feel safe during our visits to your home. 

Our team will:

  • carry out a pre-visit assessment
  • wear personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • follow social distancing rules

You can read more information about this in our ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ on this page.

Important Information

As a grant applicant you will use a contractor. You must ensure your contractor is maintaining:

  • a high standard of health and safety onsite
  • observing health and safety regulations

This includes maintaining social distancing.

The questions and answers below will provide more information. You can also read our 'Frequently Asked Questions’ in PDF format.

Information for applicants

During lockdown we were only able to deal with emergency cases

For the majority of those cases we will have arranged an inspection to review any completed work.

Grants Offices continued to work throughout the second lockdown.  We have put in place steps to make sure customers feel safe during inspections and that grant applications are processed.

The Housing Executive administers grants on behalf of the Department for Communities. 

We will agree:

  • the works which can be grant aided
  • the total grant-aid payable
  • to make prompt payment(s) at the appropriate time to the payees you tell us to

We are not responsible for providing or supervising contractors.

You employ your own contractors. 

Once we receive a referral from your OT or an enquiry about a grant from you, we will contact you by telephone and / or email, whichever you prefer. 

During this time we want to reduce risk and allow more electronic processing. We may ask you for more information or documentation. Where possible please send this to us by email.

Restrictions on email size

Please note there is a restriction on the size of email which we can receive. So you must ensure that the total size of one email is less than 30MB. This means you may need to send more than one email.

It is vital that each email you send contains the same subject title. You must also:

  • include the grant’s reference number; and
  • mark each email as 1 of 4; 2 of 4: etc.
  • Grant Office emails:

Belfast / South East

belfast.grants@nihe.gov.uk

Council areas:

  • Belfast City Council
  • Lisburn City and Castlereagh
  • Ards and North Down

Derry/Londonderry

derry-londonderrygrants@nihe.gov.uk

Council area:

  • Derry City and Strabane

West

West.grants@nihe.gov.uk

Council areas:  

  • Fermanagh & Omagh
  • Mid Ulster

North East

northeast.grants@nihe.gov.uk

Council areas:

  • Antrim and Newtownabbey
  • Mid and East Antrim
  • Causeway Coast & Glens

South

south.grants@nihe.gov.uk

Council areas:

  • Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon
  • Newry, Mourne and Down

Well-known webmail providers include:

  • Gmail
  • Outlook.com (formerly known as Hotmail)
  • Yahoo! Mail

These services are free to use.

If you need help to set up an email address you can get help from:

  • The NI Direct website on setting up an email account in its section on:
  • a family member or a friend may be able to help you set one up

We are moving some services online to help process applications more quickly. 

If you’re having difficulty we’d encourage you to ask for help from family in the first place.  If you decide to do this we will need your permission to communicate with a family member. 

You must tell us who you wish to nominate to act as your representative.

You may choose to use the extra support given free of charge by one of the Home Improvement Agencies. Radius and Gable provide these services.

You can read more information on the section: 

Again you will need to confirm in writing we can speak to them about your application.

If you are unable to use any of these options, we will work with you to ensure you complete your application.

Please talk to us on:

03448 920 900 (Textphone 18001 03448 920 900) about other options.

You must not start work until you receive confirmation that you qualify for grant-aid. 

We will send this in writing or by email

We will not pay for any work started or finished in your home before you receive written permission. We will email this to you.

You must tell us if you are:

  • shielding
  • quarantining
  • not comfortable having someone inspect your home

We will arrange an appointment when it is suitable for you

We will contact you to arrange an appointment to visit and inspect your home. This will allow us to decide what work should be grant-aided.

Before the visit takes place we will:

  • write to you by email to confirm the date
  • send details of Covid-19 related information
  • contact you 24-48 hours in advance of our visit to complete a Covid-19 assessment

Before entering your home our Case / Technical Officer will

  • put on PPE - this includes gloves and a face covering (mask)
  • sanitise their hands and equipment
  • complete a final check that you are content they enter
  • show you their work pass

NIHE Staff pass

We will ask these questions.

  1. Are you willing to let a member of our staff into your home?

  2. Have you or a member of your household tested positive for Covid-19 in the last 4 weeks?

  3. Are any members of your household experiencing any Covid symptoms (read more about symptoms of Covid 19)

  4. Have you or any members of your household recently returned to Northern Ireland?

There are countries which you can travel from without having to self-isolate.

You can read the most up-to-date information about this from NI Direct at:

Coronavirus (COVID-19): travel and advice

The technical assessment may take up to 60 minutes. The time taken depends on your property’s size, type, location and application needs.

Our Technical Officer may need access to all areas and rooms in your house. This may include:

  • bedrooms
  • hot press
  • roof space
  • boiler location
  • oil tank location

When in your home our Technical Officer will:

  • keep a social distance
  • tell you where they will inspect
  • tell you how they will inspect and
  • what measurements they may need to take

We would ask you help us and keep a social distance.

Our Technical Officers would appreciate it if you could:

  • limit the number of people in your home
  • have only one person go with the Officer during the visit – maintaining social distancing
  • open all internal doors
  • open gates, doors and windows if asked to
  • Keep busy areas - like the hall, stairs and landing - free of people

Your contractor must make sure that they maintain a high standard of health and safety. They must observe Health & Safety regulations while they carry out the works.

The contractor must keep a social distance at all times.

The Public Health Agency provides information on COVID-19 and social distancing. You can read this at:

During Covid-19 lockdown we arranged to make part payments for completed works. We did this without an inspection.

We are now carrying out technical inspections again and the build-up of inspections from lock-down have been addressed.

Completed jobs

At most, we paid 90% of the cost of the eligible works.  We paid fees in full (except for the Warranty Bond Fee).

Partly completed jobs

Where work had started we could consider making an interim payment of up to 75% of the cost of the eligible works.  We pay fees in full (except for the Warranty Bond Fee). The amount depended on how much work was completed.

Our Technical Officer will assess the work carried out. They must confirm that your contractor has completed the works. The contractor must have completed the works to the relevant standard.

You must make sure that the required documents (eg Building Control Certificate/s) have been sent to us.

The Technical Officer will then arrange to pay the balance of grant-aid.

Anyone making a false statement to get monies by fraud is liable to be prosecuted.

We may make a payment for work which we then find has not been carried out to our satisfaction. We determine this under Article 68 (4)(a) [Housing (NI) Order 2003].

If this is the case, we may look to recover that payment from you. If necessary, we can do this under Article 71 of the Housing (NI) Order 2003.

You  have had works carried out. We may have made payments to you for some of this work. Our Technical Officer will assess the works carried out. They will confirm that these meet the relevant  standard.

Our Technical Officer will re-measure the works (As Built) and note any change that arises due to this. If we need to, we will adjust the Formal Approval to carry out the works  to reflect that change.

We will account for this when we release the final balance of the grant payable.

Anyone making a false statement to get monies by fraud is liable to be prosecuted.

We may make a payment for work which we then find has not been carried out to our satisfaction. We determine this under Article 68 (4) (a) [Housing (NI) Order 2003].

If this is the case, we may look to recover that payment from you. If necessary, we can do this under Article 71 of the Housing (NI) Order 2003.

You may have used the support service available from Radius or Gable when you applied for a grant.

We would like to assure you that we will have told them about these new arrangements.


Next
Types of grants available
Is this page helpful?
Yes No