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Comhairle nan Eilean Siar

Housing Services

The Scheme of Assistance for the Repair and Improvement of Private Sector Housing

Under the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006 the old system of Improvement and Repair grants was replaced from 1 April 2010 by a new Scheme of Assistance.  All cases are now considered under the legislation contained in the 2006 Act.

Housing (Scotland) Act 2006

The Housing (Scotland) Act 2006 is an Act aimed at improving the condition of private sector housing.  The old housing grant scheme was replaced and a new approach to assisting private house owners was introduced from 1 April 2010.

The Scottish Government hopes that through the 2006 Act, a number of their policy visions will be achieved.  These include that:

  • There will be a cultural change in attitudes to housing quality in the private housing sector
  • Private owners will become more aware of repair and maintenance responsibilities and more proactive in carrying them out
  • Private owners will invest more to ensure their homes have a sustainable future
  • Public money will support owners’ repairs and maintenance only where strictly necessary
  • Government will help disabled people to live more independently in their own homes

These and other objectives will be met through the implementation of a “Scheme of Assistance”.  Each Local Authority has produced their own unique Scheme (also known as a Section 72 Statement) depending on the Private Sector housing needs in each of their area and in accordance with their Local Housing Strategy.  The Comhairle’s Scheme of Assistance (PDF, 265K) is available from Comhairle Offices or on-line.

The Comhairle’s Scheme of Assistance

Below is a brief summary of the Comhairle’s Scheme of Assistance and may be of some benefit for people seeking general advice about repairing and improving their homes:

  • There is a move away from general Improvement and Repair grant awards, with owners expected to become more responsible for the cost of maintaining and repairing their own homes.
  • Assistance in the form of a grant may still be available - but this is most likely to become a grant to cover any shortfall in the cost of carrying out essential works to Below Tolerable Standard houses.  Owners will therefore need to be able to demonstrate that they cannot fund the costs for all their necessary repairs out of their own resources, before any grant award would be considered for the proposed works.  “Own resources” includes savings, or funding the works by borrowing from a reputable source, e.g. a bank or building society or Western Isles Credit Union.
  • More advice will be available for owners from the Comhairle to help them look after their homes.  This will include advice on: the need to carry out regular maintenance, including the frequency of maintenance required; specific repairs or improvement works required; inspecting homes to determine specific problems e.g. dampness; selection of contractors to carry out works and the other types of funding which may be available to help carry out the necessary works, (e.g. Crofting House Grants).

The Comhairle has worked with the HI-Scot Credit Union to set up a Home Improvement Loan Scheme which aims to help specific client groups access funding appropriate to their own personal circumstances.

If you wish to make further enquiries about the Scheme you should contact:

For Lewis and Harris:
Housing Services (Private Sector)
Development Department
Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar
Council Offices
Sandwick Road
Isle of Lewis

Tel: 01851 822691
Fax: 01851 705349

For Uists, Benbecula and Barra:
Building Standards
Development Department
Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar
Council Offices
Isle of Benbecula

Tel: 01870 604990

Adaptation Grants

In respect of Adaptation Grants applications can still be made to adapt a disabled person’s home to meet their particular needs.   

The Comhairle has produced A Guide to the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006 – Scheme of Assistance – Works To Meet The Needs Of Disabled People (PDF, 175K)

In addition, and in close consultation with the Comhairle, the Occupational Therapy Service have updated their Policy and Practice on Provisions of Equipment and Adaptations (PDF, 215K) to reflect the new requirements of the 2006 Act.

Both these documents are available from Comhairle Offices or can be accessed on-line on the Comhairle’s website under Private Sector Housing.
All adaptations must be supported by a referral from the Occupational Therapy Service.

If your home requires such work, then to start the process you should contact either of the following organisations or alternatively contact the Comhairle direct at the appropriate address for your area shown above:

Western Isles Care and Repair

41a Point Street
Isle of Lewis

Tel: 01851 704347
Fax: 01851 702425

(01878-710200 for North & South Uist / Benbecula
01871-810323, for Barra)

Department of Occupational Therapy

Western Isles Hospital
MacAulay Road
Isle of Lewis

Tel:r 01851 708287

(01870-602425 for North & South Uist / Benbecula / Barra)


The Scottish Government’s web site has a number of links which provide further details on Private Sector Housing topics and the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006.