Provision of assistance for housing purposes
96.Section 71 sets out the purposes for which local authorities may provide assistance for housing purposes. Subsection (3) gives examples of the forms of assistance that may be provided. Assistance may be provided on such terms as the local authority thinks fit, subject to the further provisions of Part 2 regarding grants or loans. Subsection (5) specifies the sections in this Part that do not apply when assistance is provided for the acquisition or sale of a house. The Scottish Ministers may make regulations about the procedures to be used, and the terms to be imposed, by local authorities in the provision of assistance.
97.Section 72 requires a local authority to publish a statement of the criteria by which it decides whether to provide assistance and in what form. The statement must also set out any circumstances in which the local authority intends to cap the costs of work for which grant or loan is available, and the rate of interest or other charges on loans.
98.Section 73 provides that a local authority must provide assistance to the owner of a house in relation to works required by a work notice, or works required to make a house suitable for a disabled person or to reinstate a house that has been so adapted. A local authority must also provide assistance to the owner of non-residential premises which are the subject of a work notice through the operation of section 69. Where works are to make the house suitable for a disabled person by the provision of standard amenities the assistance must be in the form of a grant. Standard amenities (toilet, bath or shower, wash-hand basin and sink) are defined in relation to the Tolerable Standard, and the Scottish Ministers can vary the definition by referring to different parts of the Tolerable Standard. Ministers have powers, by means of regulations, to specify what assistance is provided for disabled adaptations, beyond the requirement that assistance for adaptations to give access to standard amenities must be in the form of grant. The powers could be used to prescribe, for example, the type of assistance that should be provided in connection with particular types of adaptation or when defined criteria about the applicant’s circumstances are met. In particular they could be used to prescribe circumstances when grant must be provided.
99.Subsection (5) specifies that a local authority has carried out its duty under this section if it has invited the person to apply for a grant or loan, but they have not submitted a valid application or have failed to meet mandatory conditions.