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21 September 2016, 09:17
A new £10 million fund has been launched to help home owners on low incomes repair their property and increase energy efficiency.
The pilot scheme in Glasgow, Argyll and Bute and Perthshire will provide equity loans of up to £40,000 for essential repairs to leaking roofs and building structures.
Housing Minister Kevin Stewart announced the pilot before the launch of Under One Roof, a new website providing free and impartial advice to private flat owners to help them understand their obligations when it comes to property and shared spaces.
He said: "Making sure everyone has access to a warm and affordable home is a priority for this Government, which is why we have committed half a billion pounds over the next four years, meaning over £1 billion by 2021, to tackling fuel poverty and improving energy efficiency.
"We know leaking roofs and poor building structures can drive up energy bills and make them more difficult to heat, but for low income households they can often be too costly to repair.
"This £10 million scheme will provide households with loans to carry out essential repair work and install energy efficiency improvements.
"This will help us make homes warmer and easier to heat, with our record investment already resulting in two fifths of Scottish homes now being in the top three energy efficiency ratings - an increase of 71% since 2010.''
Under the scheme, eligible home owners will be able to borrow from the Scottish Government to fund repairs and energy efficiency improvements - with the loan to be repaid when the property is sold, ownership transferred or upon death.
The funding can be used either as a single equity loan or with other existing Scottish Government grants to fund more expensive measures like solid wall insulation.
Mary Taylor, chief executive of the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA), said: "It is extremely important that we invest in the energy efficiency of existing homes to provide affordable warmth and reduce carbon emissions. It is also important that we invest in existing buildings and keep them in a good state of repair.
"We know from our members that it can be a challenge for housing associations to organise repairs and energy efficiency measures in mixed ownership properties, especially tenements with other owners in the stair.
"This new equity loan fund, coupled with the Under One Roof website - which the SFHA helped sponsor, provide potential solutions to allow owners to fund repairs and energy efficiency improvements.''