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Housing standards, improvements, grants and loans

Information about how to save money on fuel bills, Disabled Facilities Grants and other grants and loans to help you heat your home efficiently. Includes details of the local handyperson service.

Response times to enquiries for repairs to your home

As a consequence of the exceptionally high demands on our service, we are now experiencing delays of up to 12 weeks in dealing with these enquiries.

Your enquiry will be dealt with in date order, dependent upon the details you provide. We will contact you to discuss your concerns, and where deemed appropriate, arrange a site visit.

Housing standards and funding for home improvements

Everyone is entitled to live in a home that is warm, has modern facilities and is in a good state of repair.

Use our online form to enquire about home assistance and to find out if your household is eligible.  Read our guidance notes about enquiring for assistance [PDF, 94.8Kb]

Save money and time on fuel bills

North Lincolnshire Council’s successful collective switching scheme offers you a chance to find a better deal and keep fuel bills as low as possible. The scheme has been running since August 2013. So far it has saved local households collectively over £100,000 on fuel bills, with average savings of over £250 per household.

Many residents have highlighted the great savings to be made and how simple the switching process is. Collective switching enables households to sign up to a scheme that allows an intermediary to enter an auction with energy companies on their behalf, to secure a discounted energy price.

Why was there no offer in October?

After running our auction on 12 October, it became clear that none of the tariffs secured were a better option for any of our customers than simply staying on their Standard Variable Tariffs.

Usually, Standard Variable Tariffs are the most expensive on offer, and we use our auction to obtain great value fixed rate tariffs for our customers.

However, in order to stop the Standard Variable Tariffs reaching excessively high prices, Ofgem imposes a tariff cap on them, which limits the amount suppliers can charge. This tariff cap is announced two months before it comes into place and is based on wholesale energy prices from the previous six months.

As wholesale energy prices have risen so quickly and dramatically this year, the new tariff cap that came into force on 1 October is now keeping the Standard Variable Tariffs artificially low – and at present suppliers are actually losing money on these tariffs.

As fixed tariffs do not have any such cap, they are priced much higher than current Standard Variable Tariffs – and reflect the actual situation in the wholesale energy market more accurately.

Given this extremely unlikely scenario, no supplier’s fixed tariff will currently be close to offering the same value as the Standard Variable Tariff. So, there is no benefit at this moment to switching. Further information about why your energy bills are going up is available on the Big Community Switch website.

So, what should you do?

If you are on a Standard Variable Tariff: don’t switch.

We would suggest you might want to stay on your Standard Variable Tariff. Your current energy supplier may offer you a fixed tariff which you might consider accepting if it is cheaper than remaining on the Standard Variable Tariff. This is unlikely right now.

If you are on a fixed tariff: don’t switch.

Assuming you fixed your tariff before the recent rises in the market, this is likely to represent a good deal compared to what is in the market now. So you will want to stay on your fixed tariff until the end of your contract.

If your contract ends before our winter auction in February, your energy supplier will move you to its Standard Variable Tariff if you do not switch. Your current energy supplier may offer you a fixed renewal tariff – which you might consider accepting if it is cheaper than remaining on the Standard Variable Tariff. This is unlikely right now.

Due to the current energy market the ichoosr team is only registering interest at this stage

For further information and to register please visit the Big Community Switch website.

If you do not wish to apply online, call ichoosr directly to register – 0800 048 8439

Contact

Affordable Warmth Officer

housing@northlincs.gov.uk

Everyone is entitled to live in a home, which is warm, has modern facilities and is in a good state of repair. There is a minimum standard that housing associations and registered social landlords have to meet.

The Decent Homes Standard on Gov.UK sets out the definition of what a decent home is. It includes guidance on how the decent homes standard should be implemented.

An energy performance certificate (EPC) will show how easy your property is to heat and give you an indication of the annual heating costs. The certificate also includes an environmental C02 rating that indicates your home’s impact on the environment in terms of carbon dioxide emissions as well as the potential for improvement.

Any properties now being advertised for rent, or if your home is put on the market for sale, must have an energy performance certificate (EPC). This must be available for a tenant and prospective tenants or prospective buyers to see.

An EPC is required by law when a building is built, sold or put up for rent. If you are a landlord or homeowner and need to provide an EPC, you’ll need to contact an accredited domestic energy assessor. They will carry out the assessment and produce the certificate.

For further information see the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) on Gov.UK

Saving energy

Whether you’re a landlord, tenant or homeowner there are many ways of saving energy and making your home more energy efficient.

Funding through flexible eligibility is currently unavailable until the launch of ECO 4 in Summer 2022.

The Lincs 4 Warmer Homes Statement of Intent [PDF, 607KB] sets out the eligibility criteria. The final decision on funding rests with energy suppliers and will depend on:

  • the survey carried out and installation costs calculated
  • the energy savings that can be achieved for a property
  • if suppliers have achieved their ECO targets or require further measures to meet their ECO targets (this will affect the amount of funding available through the scheme)

You can also check out the Steps to Affordable Warmth video for hints and tips on how to afford to stay warm and healthy at home.

You could get a Disabled Facilities Grant from the council if you’re disabled and need to make changes to your home, for example to widen doors and install ramps or improve access to rooms and facilities. For further information see Disabled Facilities Grant on Gov.UK

How the grant is calculated

All Disabled Facilities Grants for adults are means tested. If you are in receipt of certain passported benefits (evidence of receipt will be required) you will not have to go through the full means test process, and you will not have a contribution to pay towards the cost of the adaptations. The means test does not apply to cases where the adaptations are for a child (under 16 years old) or a young person (over 16 but under 20 who is in full time education). The maximum Mandatory Disabled Facilities Grant is £30,000.

Conditions of the grant

For owner occupiers only – if the grant exceeds £5,000 there will be conditions attached stating that if the property is disposed of whether by sale, assignment, transfer or otherwise within a 10 year period then all monies over £5,000 (five thousand) up to a maximum of £10,000 (ten thousand) will be repayable to North Lincolnshire Council.

In all cases – North Lincolnshire Council is not liable for any costs of removal of any equipment/adaptations provided or making good decoration when removed by others. Landlords especially should consider this before providing consent.

Where equipment is installed – the grant will generally provide a five year warranty. After this period has lapsed, the responsibility for servicing and costs for repairs are the responsibility of the homeowner/tenant. This is not applicable to all tenants. Some larger landlords have their own arrangements in place for servicing etc. You should follow this up with your landlord before applying for the grant. The grant does not cover repairs to existing facilities.

Apply for the grant

Adaptations for an adult – contact the Core Therapy Service closest to your home. See contact information at the bottom of this page.

Adaptations for a child/young person – contact 01724 297000 and choose option 2.

If you require any further information or wish to discuss your individual circumstances, please contact us.

The handyperson scheme can carry out minor repairs to your property such as:

  • fitting curtain rails, putting up shelves
  • improvements to access – adding ramps for scooters or additional steps
  • fitting additional handrails

In addition, if you been the victim of burglary or are concerned about your home security, we may be able to help you by fitting some or all of the following items:

  • window locks
  • upgraded door locks or additional locks
  • security bolts
  • door chains
  • door viewers or peep holes
  • kick stops

The scheme is partly funded by North Lincolnshire Council, Humberside Police, social services and several other organisations, therefore services can be provided at a very competitive price. A member of the handyperson service will visit to give you a free quote for the work required. For further information please contact handyperson@northlincs.gov.uk.

The aim of the grant is to help minimise the fear of crime for residents in North Lincolnshire. The council will provide financial assistance to install certain home security measures in the homes of older owner occupiers. A range of measures are available, including door chains, door viewers, window alarms and locks.

The grant can only be approved if a valid application is received from the home owner and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. Proof of the following may be required:

  • Ownership of the applicant property (including proof of occupying the property as their own or main residence for the last 12 months)
  • Age

The maximum value of the assistance will be £250 which is not repayable and limited to one application per household. The Safe and Sound assistance is subject to funding availability.

The measures will be installed by the council’s handyperson service following receipt of a valid application and formal approval by the council.

Apply for the grant

Complete the Safe and Sound Home Assistance grant [PDF, 606Kb] and return to handyperson@northlincs.gov.uk. For more information please contact us.

Please note: We are not completing security assessments at this stage due to Covid-19. However, if anyone has recently installed anything (this financial year) or is planning to install something that can be attributed to security, we may be able to help pay for it or reimburse you (subject to you providing evidence).

We offer a loan with no monthly repayments to help people with the cost of works that affect their health or safety. We want to ensure that homes are safe, warm and weather-proof for those who are most vulnerable. To qualify for a loan you must:

  • be a homeowner and occupy the property throughout the loan period.
  • be 60 or over or in receipt of one of the following benefits:
    • Income Support
    • Working or Child Tax Credit (income less than £16,040)
    • Income-based Employment Support Allowance (ESA)
    • Employment Support Allowance (ESA) with a disability element
    • Have sufficient equity in the property
    • Have a low income and/or unable to access a commercial loan

Loan amount

The minimum amount is £2,000 and the maximum loan amount is £10,000. There is a limited budget each year for this assistance and enquiries will be dealt with in date order.

Repayment

The Home Appreciation Loan is not a grant.  It is an equity release loan but with no monthly payments to make.  You only have to repay the loan when you no longer own your home, for example if you sell it. It allows you to carry out the necessary work to your home without having to make regular repayments like a normal loan would do. When it comes to repaying your loan, the amount you’ll repay is based on how much your property has changed in value when you sell it, or no longer own it.

Loans for minor repairs

The Home Cheque Loan is a council-backed loan operated in partnership with the Northern Lincolnshire Credit Union. For more information, visit the Northern Lincolnshire Credit Union website

We work with the Humber and Wolds Rural Community Council to offer an oil bulk buying scheme. For further information or to join visit Humber and Wolds Rural Community Council.

A cold home is one that cannot be economically maintained at temperatures of 18⁰C to 21⁰C.  Even when it is -1⁰C outside, the heating system should be capable of maintaining these temperatures inside the home. Homes that have an F or G rating for energy performance cannot be economically maintained at between 18 and 21⁰C. People who live in cold homes are at a higher risk of becoming ill. If a property does not have adequate heating it can be danger to health of all the people who live there. Older residents are the most at risk if they cannot keep their homes warm. If a household has to spend more than 10 per cent of their income on heating they are classed as being in fuel poverty. If you make your home more energy efficient it will cost you less to heat it, meaning you can keep warm and save money.

If you rent your home and think it is too cold, you can ask your landlord to make improvements. If they refuse you can contact us for advice. Private tenants and homeowners may be able to get a grant for insulation and possibly heating improvements. Insulating your home will make it cheaper to keep warm.

If you are a landlord, you should aim to achieve an energy efficiency rating of D (the average) or higher for your rented properties. You need to provide an affordable heating system that is capable of achieving temperatures of between 18⁰C and 21⁰C. Systems must be well maintained and tenants should be shown how to use them effectively.

For information on keeping your home warm see the heating your home page on the Energy Saving Trust website

Dampness in the home can be a major problem. It can cause mould on walls and furniture and make timber window frames and floors rot. It can encourage the growth of house dust mites and increase the risk of respiratory illness.

For information on the causes of mould and how to treat it see the fixing damp and condensation page on the Energy Saving Trust website.

There are a number of reasons why properties become empty. They may be in the process of being sold, let, refurbished or inherited. However, empty homes tend to attract crime and anti-social behaviour. They are at a greater risk of arson attacks and vandalism. This can reduce the value of nearby properties and create a cause for concern for local residents.

If you are the owner of an empty property, we can offer free independent advice on ways of bringing it back into use. These areas include:

  • letting the property – by using a managing agent or by becoming a private landlord and letting the property yourself
  • selling the property – either through an estate agent, at auction or by advertising it yourself
  • refurbishing the property for you or family members to live in, or to make the property suitable for letting

Our home energy conservation strategy aims to improve domestic energy efficiency by 30 per cent within 10 years, in particular to:

  • Develop information collection systems to not only monitor progress towards achieving energy efficiency improvements but also to identify priority areas for targeting improvements.
  • Provide advice and guidance on energy efficiency and energy conservation to all householders.
  • Identify and seek to secure funding from any available source to promote energy efficiency and provide energy efficiency measures.
  • Continue and further encourage the development of partnerships, with local statutory and voluntary organisations who have an interest in health and housing, welfare and energy efficiency.
  • Promote and facilitate the uptake of New Home Energy Efficiency Scheme and other energy efficiency schemes through effective promotion and networking.
  • Seek to ensure that members of staff and others in the local community can undertake appropriate training for both giving advice and carrying out energy surveys for properties.
  • Develop links with educational bodies to promote energy efficiency as an integral part of the curriculum.
  • Seek to establish better communication with statutory and other bodies to respond to and where appropriate, influence energy efficiency policy.
  • Provide grants to improve the energy efficiency of the vulnerable households in other sectors of housing.

Please contact us for a copy of the full report.

The Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) is a risk based evaluation tool to help us identify and consider the effect of any hazards in a property. There are 29 hazards that can be identified by the system – including excess cold, fire hazards and falls on the stairs. The system applies to all dwellings including:

  • Owner occupied
  • Privately rented
  • Housing association

Councils have a duty to keep the housing conditions in privately owned property under review, together with a duty to inspect a property to determine if any health and safety hazards exist.

Please contact us for further information.

Contact

Home Assistance Team:

housing@northlincs.gov.uk

Customer Contact Centre

01724 297000

customerservice@northlincs.gov.uk

 

Adults Occupational Therapy Services:

Please note there is a new telephone number for all areas – 03033 306648

email: nlg-tr.sctherapyreferrals@nhs.net

Adaptations for children

If you are enquiring about adaptations for a child/young person with disabilities, anywhere in North Lincolnshire, you must contact:  01724 297000 and choose option 2.