We can award a Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG), to help towards the cost of adapting your home to enable you to continue living there. While the grant is administered by us, the rules are laid down by central Government under the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 (as amended).
The DFG is to ensure the disabled occupant can safely access basic facilities, for example:
- access in, out and around the property – such as providing a ramp, widening doors
- access to the main family room, a bedroom, kitchen, bathroom or garden
- provision of suitable washing facilities – such as taking out a bath and providing a wetroom
- install or adapt a heating system, or controls
You can apply if you or someone living in your property is registered or eligible as disabled and:
- you, or the person on whose behalf you are applying, are either the owner or tenant of the property
- you can certify that it is the intention of the disabled occupant to continue living in the property as their main residence for the next five years
- you live in Mid Devon
The applicant must be over the age of 18 so will not necessarily be the disabled person – for example, a parent or guardian can apply for adaptations for a child.
We apply these three tests:
- The adaptation must be ‘necessary and appropriate’ to meet the disabled person’s needs? This is determined by an Occupational Therapist, generally from Devon County Council Social Services.
- Is the adaptation ‘reasonable and practicable’, taking into account the nature, layout, age and condition of the property? This is determined by the Private Sector Housing Team.
- Based on a Test of Resources, does the applicant qualify financially? The financial assessment will be carried out by the Private Sector Housing Team and proof of income and savings will be required. Please note there is no test of resources for an adaptation for a child.
An Occupational Therapist needs to carry out an assessment of the needs of the disabled occupant, you can contact them through Care Direct on 0345 155 1007.
Their assessment, once agreed with you, will be sent to us in the Private Sector Housing Team.
A visit will be arranged for the Private Sector Housing Officer (PSHO) to assess whether the work is reasonable and practicable and a provisional financial assessment will be carried out at that time.
For a valid application to be made we will require two or three estimates for the work, proof of all income and savings, proof of ownership of the property and in some cases consent form the owner (for tenanted properties).
Once a valid application is received we have up to six months to approve or reject the application.
We have a mandatory duty to provide DFGs that satisfy the criteria above up to a value of £30,000. If estimates are felt to be excessive alternate estimates will be required or we will assess what is felt to be a reasonable sum for the work required, and approve the grant on that basis.
If the cost of the work exceeds this amount you may be able to apply to Devon County Council’s Panel for the additional funding.
Subject to financial assessment (not the same as the Mandatory DFG test of resources) a loan may be agreed to fund:
- work costing over the maximum of £30,000
- moving on assistance where the property cannot be adapted
Both are limited to a maximum of £5,000 and in the case of the moving loan it is limited to fees associated with moving house such as estate agent, legal fees and removal costs.
Discretionary Loans will only be agreed in exceptional circumstances.
There are conditions that apply to DFGs, a copy of which will be given with the approval documents. The main conditions are:
- we have the right to reclaim equipment which is no longer required by the disabled occupant within five years of installation
- a charge will be made on owner occupiers where the recipient disposes (whether by sale, assignment, transfer or otherwise) of the premises in respect of which the grant was given within ten years of the completion of the grant. This is only when the grant was greater than £5,000 and the maximum charge that will be recovered is £10,000. So for example: if the grant was £5,500, then £500 would be recovered; if the grant was £30,000, then £10,000 would be recovered
Where the cost of the works are in excess of £5,000 conditions will apply. If the disabled applicant moves within ten years of receiving the grant there will be a repayment required.
The applicant is responsible for obtaining whatever approvals are required to carry out the work involved in the DFG.
For major work detailed plans may be required , if you get a grant, you can use it towards the cost of their fees although no money can be paid before the grant has been approved and the total allowable for fees may be limited so check with the council before employing someone who may be quite expensive as you may have to make up the shortfall in cost.
We have no responsibility for the standard of work carried out by the builder.
The DFG can be paid in whole at the end of the work or in instalments – generally only when the total cost is over £5,000.
Payment will be made:
- when you are happy that the work is complete
- the Private Sector Housing Officer is happy that the work is complete
- the Occupational Therapist has agreed the works meet the applicant’s needs
- Building Control have signed off the work (if applicable)
- appropriate certification has been received - for example, electrical certification for the provision of a wetroom
- once suitable invoices have been received