Finding the money

Repairs are inevitable and need to be tackled quickly before more damage is caused leading to bigger bills, possibly affecting the value of your property. Grants for repairs are seldom available.

Savings

Ideally, you and your co-owners should all save together. You could consider a joint Building Reserve Fund or Sinking Fund where you can save for major repairs. If it’s not possible to get one of these set up, you could try setting up a Joint Maintenance Account.

If individual saving is all that is possible, consider setting up a Cash ISA with your bank where you will at least get some tax relief.

If you can only save a small amount on a weekly or monthly basis, consider saving with a credit union. Then, if you haven’t managed to save enough before a repair comes up, you can ask them for a loan.

Borrowing

If the need for repair is causing damage to your building and leading to even further and more expensive work in the future, it is worth considering getting a loan. While you pay interest on a loan, building costs are increasing at a similar kind of rate each year, so one cost tends to set off another. Additionally, getting a repair done may lead to fewer repairs in the future.

If you are in the position of being a minority owner, where all other owners have agreed to a repair and you have no other funds, you may have little choice but to get a loan.

There are a number of different types of loans that you may wish to consider.

You should take advice before taking out any loan and compare rates and conditions before signing up.

Types of loan

Loans secured against your flat are generally cheaper than personal loans, and extending your mortgage, if you have one, may be relatively easy.

Unsecured personal loans are widely advertised, but you should check these out carefully using independent comparison sites which take no commission from the sale or recommendation of loans. Two are listed below.

For older owners

If you are older and on a limited income, you may be able to get an equity release loan (lifetime mortgage or home reversion loan). Neither of these loans requires you to make repayments but they are complicated and expensive and you really must take (and probably pay for) specialist independent financial advice before taking out these types of loan. You may also need legal advice.

AgeUK may be able to help you with these types of loan.

Credit Unions

Credit unions are community co-operatives and offer loans at competitive rates to their members. There may be a local credit union near you or you may be able to join one through your church, your trade union, or your employer. You must normally be a saver with a credit union to get a loan.

Before taking out any loan, get financial advice. See below for sites which can offer financial advice.

Grants

Your council may still be able to offer repair grants, but this is rare. Missing Shares financial assistance is available from some councils. No grants can be paid if work has already started.

Welfare benefits

If you are on benefits, you may be able to get a Crisis Grant from the Scottish Welfare Fund. A Crisis Grant helps people meet expenses that have arisen as a result of an emergency or disaster, to avoid serious damage or serious risk to health or safety. You can apply for a Crisis Grant through your local council.

Can’t pay?

If you simply cannot pay for a repair, tell your co-owners so they can ask the council if they are able to pay Missing Shares. You will still have to repay the council, who may impose a Repayment Order. If the council cannot help, then other owners will have to divide your share of the costs between them. They may serve a charging order on you to enable them to recover their costs when you sell your flat.

Getting money advice
Home Energy Efficiency Programme Scotland (HEEPS)

If you are looking for information about the Home Energy Efficiency Programme Scotland (HEEPS) Equity Loan Scheme, please note that this is now closed. If you require support after the 31st of March 2022, please contact Energy Saving Trust directly by emailing equityloans@est.org.uk or calling 0808 808 2282. Energy Saving Trust will not be replicating the Care & Repair service, but will provide support where expertise and knowledge allow.

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