For home owners and private tenants, Home Improvement Agencies (HIAs) can be another source of funding.

On this page you can find information about:

1. What is a Home Improvement Agency?
2. What can a Home Improvement Agency help me with?
3. How can I find a local Home Improvement Agency?
4. What are the costs?

What is a Home Improvement Agency?

Home Improvement Agencies (HIAs) are small, not-for-profit organisations funded by local and central government. They provide specialist support and advice to older and disabled people, as well as those on low incomes, for maintaining, adapting and improving their homes.

What can a Home Improvement Agency help me with?

HIAs can give general advice on:

  • schemes available to help with home adaptations, improvements and repairs
  • alternative housing options
  • local authority funding processes
  • how to complete forms for local authority funding
  • legal entitlements.

They can also provide practical help and technical advice, including:

  • home visits and inspections
  • advice on the scale and cost of any necessary works
  • help with choosing a reputable and reliable builder
  • monitoring the builder’s performance
  • appropriate contracts and documentation.

HIAs can sometimes help by providing additional housing-based services for vulnerable people: for example, a handyperson, decorator or gardener who can carry out work at your relative’s home, often at a reduced rate.

How can I find a local Home Improvement Agency?

Local HIAs can be found all over the UK. These local agencies are sometimes called Staying Put or Care and Repair schemes, depending on the housing organisation, council or charity they are managed by. For details of schemes across the UK, and to find your relative’s nearest scheme, see our Useful organisations and websites section.

What are the costs?

An HIA’s advice and first visit are free. If your relative decides to accept further HIA help, most agencies charge a fee. Any costs must be discussed and agreed first. If your relative is eligible for any local authority grants, this could be used to pay the HIA’s fee.

More information

  • Self-funding home alterations: find out how you can finance home alterations if you’re not eligible for help with funding.
  • Housing options: read our practical advice on making the different rooms of the home easier to use for your elderly or ill relative.
  • Talking about care options: it can be difficult to know how to talk about care, read our advice on effective communication.

Page last reviewed: 31 December 2015
Next review due: 30 April 2017