Local authorities have discretionary powers to help with urgent home repairs. We explain what these are and how to apply.

On this page, we explore the following areas:

1. What is a home repair assistance grant?
2. Who can get it?
3. How much is it?
4. How to apply

What is a home repair assistance grant?

Each local authority can decide what help it is willing or able to give, and who is eligible for help. Each council must publish its own policy on this.

Using their discretionary powers, social services departments might be able to:

  • help fund work not covered by a DFG
  • top up funding for work that costs more than the maximum DFG available
  • provide financial help if your relative cannot meet their assessed contribution
  • help occupants move to more suitable accommodation.

This grant is intended for urgent repairs – such as roofing or electrical wiring – without which the resident’s health and safety might be at risk. It is available mainly in Northern Ireland, but authorities in England, Scotland or Wales might offer assistance with repairs under discretionary powers, depending on local budgets and priorities.

Who can get it?

Grant restrictions

Be careful to check if there are any restrictions on council grants. For some of them, you need to have lived in the property for a certain number of years. For others, you may have to repay part of the grant if you move within a certain timeframe.

To be eligible for the grant you must be over 18, in receipt of certain benefits or over 60.

How much is it?

In England, the amount and eligibility criteria varies between different councils but the maximum is usually £2,000 for minor works and £5,000 for major works.
In Northern Ireland, you can get a maximum of £5,000.
In Scotland, the amount is discretionary.
In Wales, the amount is discretionary.

How to apply

As explained above, this grant is discretionary and not offered by all authorities, so it is best to check with your relative’s local council to find out what help is available in their area.

More information

  • Benefits and allowances for the elderly: we explain what allowances and benefits are provided by the government, how much you might receive and how to apply.
  • Home Improvement Agencies: for home owners and private tenants, Home Improvement Agencies can be a source of funding home alterations.
  • Mobility aids: from walking sticks to wheelchairs - find out about different kinds of mobility aids and how to get them.

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