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 where you can save for major repairs.  If it’s impossible to get one of these set up, you could try to set up a Joint Maintenance Account.

If individual saving is all that is possible consider setting up a Cash ISA 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.  And you may have fewer repairs to deal with in 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.

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. You can read more about these types of loan on the Age UK website.

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. 

STOP PRESS

A new equity loan scheme is being trialled by the Scottish Government and Home Energy Scotland. This covers an element of external building repairs. If you live in the Glasgow City Council area, Perth & Kinross or Argyll and Bute, you may be able to apply. You’ll can find more details of the HEEPS Equity Loan Scheme here.

Home Energy Efficiency Programme Scotland (HEEPS) Equity Loan Scheme

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.  Apply to your local Council.

Can't pay?

If you simply cannot pay for a repair, tell you 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 share 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 you flat.

Getting Money Advice

Online information about money matters
Citizens Advice Scotland
Finding a money advice centre near you
Other advice centres

Using and finding a professional independent financial adviser

Compare loan interest rates

Which Money Compare 

MoneySavingExpert.com