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FAQs - National Empty Homes Grant

Q. How long will it take for my application to be approved?

As a guide, the timescale that we work towards issuing formal grant approval is 12 weeks. This can vary dependent on for example, Land Registry checks, Local Authorities availability/timescales and the submission of all required documentation to RCT Council.

N.B – where delays are related to the Land Registry, RCT Council would strongly advise individuals to request to expedite matters with the Land Registry, to avoid any prolonged delays.

Q. What needs to be in place before formal approval will be issued & grant aided work can begin at the property?

Please see below.

    • Evidence of ownership of the property (completed via Certificate of Title checks)
    • Estimates covering all works listed in the Schedule of Works provided to have been submitted.
    • Any other relevant documents/evidence requested to have been submitted including but not limited to, building regulations, plans and structural calculations.

Q. What is the legal charge for? How is it removed after 5 years?

The grant applicant, any other owners and any lender, must agree to the registration of a Land Registry Charge against the property title, in favour of Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough, for the duration of the Grant Condition Period (5 years from the certification of grant aided works). 

If any of the grant T&C are breached, this would require the repayment of the grant aid awarded. The legal charge enables us to ensure that any grant investment released, is protected.

The charge will be placed by Rhondda Cynon Taf’s Legal Team. At the end of the 5year period, the provisions will be made to action the removal of the Charge.

Before any grant funding is released to applicants, the Legal Charge will need to be confirmed as secured by RCT’s Legal Department.

Q. Can I use 1 or more contractors/builders?

Yes, we accept that everyone may not wish to use one contractor.  Each contractor will need to submit an estimate, making specific reference to the items from the schedule of work for which their estimate relates.

Q. Can I complete all works at the property on a Do it Yourself (D.I.Y) basis?

If works are carried out on a D.I.Y basis, only the receipted cost of building materials will be eligible for grant assistance. All receipts for materials must correspond with the empty property address.

Please note, there are certain works that will be required to be undertaken by a ‘competent person’ to provide certification, namely:

    • Electrical rewiring
    • Central Heating
    • Windows and Doors (these either need certifying by Building Control, or to be completed by a FENSA or CERTASS registered contractor)
    • Damp Proof Coursing/Timber treatment and tanking
    • Fiberglass flat roof

Q. How will I get paid?

There are 3 opportunities for payment within the original grant timeframe (9 months). We offer 2 interim payments and 1 final payment.

Step 1 - The legal charge will need to have been confirmed as secure against the property

Step 2 -  A Grants surveyor will attend the property to assess the level of works completed (based on the schedule of eligible works).

Step 3 - Once confirmed that a payment can be processed, a member of the team will request that you submit an eligible invoice which should comply with the 12 point checklist (which will be provided during approval). Your bank details will be requested at this point, to set you up on the financial system to process payment.

Q. Is there a threshold that needs to be met for the first payment to be released?

Yes, if the first payment is an interim payment, the Authority will only release payment once you have paid your final contribution and work has been completed to the value of £5000 in excess of your contribution.

E.g. Mandatory contribution £3750 + £5000 – a minimum of £8750 worth of work will need to have completed at the property before the first payment is released.

Q. Are the rates noted in schedules of works produced negotiable?

The rates noted are set and are un-negotiable. The same rates will be applied/allowed for all Empty Homes Grant applicants. If your chosen contractors’ quotations are higher than the costs allowed for under the grant, you, the applicant you would be liable to fund any excess costs. 

Q. What happens if unforeseen work is discovered?

Should any unforeseen works be discovered after the grant surveyors’ original survey, another site visit will be required by the relevant local authority surveyor to determine if the works could be eligible for grant aid. A new schedule of works will be provided if the unforeseen works are deemed eligible/ essential to the grant, and a covering estimate will be required to be submitted to RCTCBC, who will assess if a revision of the grant award is required.

Q. I have a family member who is a tradesperson can they receive labour costs under the grant?

Relatives will only be permitted to support with works and receive payment, provided they are a Limited Company. This will be verified via information available from Companies House. Only the receipted cost of building materials, at the schedule of rate allowance, will be eligible for grant assistance.