The Uplift in Home Lift Installations
People are moving home less frequently according to the Federation of Master Builders. Data shows in the last two decades homeowners moved, on average, every 20 years as opposed to every nine years back in the 1990s.
This behavioural change means homes are being purchased and developed differently and homeowners are making decisions based on continuing to live in their home for many years to come. This can go some way towards explaining why, as people age in place, many are introducing home lifts into their properties to enable them to continue living full and independent lives.
A domestic lift is different to a commercial lift as it is possible to design in key features such as aesthetics, functionality and compactness specifically for home use rather than adapting something originally created for an office or shopping mall. A home lift will not just provide a means of moving between floors at home, but will also be certain to look as if it belongs in a domestic property.
The good news is that domestic lifts are comparatively inexpensive compared to commercial lifts. The average cost of a Stiltz Home Lift is between £16,000 – £20,000. The cost can be impacted by a number of different factors, such as whether the installation is a ‘standard retrofit’. This means an installation that requires minimal building work aside from cutting the aperture for the lift to travel through followed by a quick 1-2 day lift installation. A more complex solution will involve more time and cost and will depend largely on the type of property and the desired location for the lift location. Cost quotations are always provided detailing work needing to be carried out.
Disabled Facilities Grants (DFGs)
If you live in the UK and you have a disability, you might want to explore the option of funding your domestic lifts installation in part, or in full, with a Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG).
This type of grant is designed to provide financial assistance to those who require specific adaptations to their homes designed to improve their quality of life and enable them to live independently. The Disabled Facilities Grant can be applied for if you are planning to install a domestic lift as part of these adaptations.
Here is a breakdown of how it works when you apply:
You can apply for a Disabled Facilities Grants from your local council if you have a disability. For example, you are physically disabled, have age related needs, have a progressive condition or have a terminal illness. All applications
are means-tested, which means you must prove you are not otherwise able to fund the domestic lifts installation yourself. It is worth noting that applications to support accessibility for persons under 18 is not means tested.
To be considered, you must also either own your own property or, if you are renting, have the landlord’s prior consent.
Disabled Facilities Grants are normally paid by your local housing authority who should provide you with an application form. A local authority cannot refuse to allow you to make a formal application or refuse to give you an application form. The means test will be based on the income of the disabled applicant (or their partner if applicable).
In Northern Ireland contact your local Health and Social Care Trust, who will answer your questions, start the process and contact the Housing Executive.
You must not commence any work on your home until your local authority approves your application. If you feel the work is urgent, you should first reach out to your local authority to explain this, and they will discuss this with you. You will also need to consider any necessary planning or building approval which should be organised separately.
The maximum grant amount for home adaptations, including home lifts, is up to £30,000 in England, up to £36,000 in Wales, up to £25,000 in Northern Ireland. DGGs are not available in Scotland. The amount you receive is based on your income and savings.
The Access to Work scheme is an excellent resource for people with disabilities who require adjustments to allow them to carry on working without impediment in their work environment, including those who work from home.
Access to Work is a publicly funded employment support programme that aims to help as many people as possible who have a disability, to stay in work or enter the work place safely and with the correct support.
It can also provide support for domestic lift installations should the person in question be working from home. This helps create the necessary separation we all need for personal and work space in the home.
Here are some key points to consider when researching the Access to Work Scheme as an option for funding your home lift:
The Access to Work Scheme supports individuals with disabilities or health conditions who need help in the workplace. To be eligible, you must have a physical or mental health condition or disability requiring additional support to do your job, or you require further support in getting to and from work.
Access to Work is a discretionary grant scheme provides personalised support to disabled people who are:
- In paid employment
- Supported interns
- Doing self-directed work experience
- On work trials promoted by Jobcentre Plus
- Attending a job interview
You can also apply if you have:
- A job offer letter
- A job start date
- A letter confirming your interview
You will need to be aged 16 or over to be eligible, and the grant cannot be used for business start-up costs. How much you receive will depend on your circumstances. The money does not have to be paid back and will not affect other benefits.
You can apply for Access to Work online through https://www.gov.uk/access-to-work/apply or via the phone by calling 0800 121 7479. You can also text phone on 0800 121 7579. You can apply via the Relay UK service (if you cannot hear or speak on the phone): 18001 then 0800 121 7479.
Easy Read Documents are also available by applying through GOV.UK. website.
There is no set amount for an Access to Work grant as the recommendations of support are bespoke to each individual’s requirements. What you receive depends on your specific circumstances. However, grants are capped annually. For example, for grants awarded between 1st April 2021 and 31st March 2022, the individual cap was £62,900.
Local Authority Grants
Local councils and housing associations often offer grants or assistance programmes to support home adaptations, and this can include domestic lifts if needed. While the eligibility criteria and available funding may vary by region, it is worth exploring these options.
VAT Relief on Home Lifts
A ‘zero rate’ can be applied to many domestic or personal use products designed to help disabled people or those with illnesses which prevent them from carrying out every day activities at home. This means no VAT is charged.
The HMRC internal manual on VAT Relief for Disabled People provides guidance on this, stating “a zero-rating for the supply of the services necessarily performed during the installation of an ordinary lift in the private residence of a disabled person”. This means both the installation service and the product itself, whether a standard domestic home lift or one specifically designed for disabled persons, is chosen is VAT exempt.
Individuals with disabilities or chronic illnesses may qualify for a reduced VAT rate or complete exemption on domestic lifts installations.
Contact your domestic lift manufacturer or supplier for guidance on applying for VAT relief. You will need to provide proof of eligibility such as a medical certificate.
Home lifts are eligible for VAT relief if they are for the use of a disabled or chronically ill person and are installed in their primary residence.
Home Improvement Loans
A home improvement loan is a type of unsecured personal loan allowing you to borrow a lump sum to help fund renovations or refurbishments. If you are not eligible for grants, you can consider a home improvement loan as an alternative source of funding. You need to weigh up the costs involved and make sure it is affordable for the duration of the loan term.
You can apply for a personal loan from a bank or financial institution to cover the cost of a home lift. A personal loan is a type of loan that allows flexible use, short- to medium-term repayment options, and relatively quick funding decisions.
A personal loan can be expensive compared with other types of debt, and it may not be the best option for every situation.
The government offers several loan schemes, such as the Green Finance Initiative, that may be used for home improvements. The ‘Green Deal’, for example, offers a loan which allows homeowners to make energy-saving improvements, but as with other loans, you will have to pay this back.
Some local authorities provide interest-free loans for home adaptations, including home lifts. Check with your local council for currently available loan options.
Fundraising and Charitable Organisations
There are a number of organisations and charities in the UK which offer grants and financial support for home adaptations. Some of the current options are:
Disability Charity Scope UK
Scope is a UK-based disability charity that provides practical information and emotional support when it is most needed. As a charity their mission and vision is to campaign relentlessly to create a fairer society.
The Scope website provides information on funding to get you started and it also has a handy discussion forum where you can speak directly to other community members for advice and support based on their experiences.
The Joseph Patrick Trust
The Joseph Patrick Trust (JPT) provides essential financial support (through grants) to people with muscular dystrophy and related conditions who meet the charity’s criteria.
The grants they provide are offered to cover the cost of equipment that health and social services do not provide, but which are still vital to maintaining independence and good quality of life.
Some home lift providers may offer low cost or interest free financing options so it is worth checking with them as you may be able to spread the cost of your lift over a set period, subject to status.
Installing a domestic lift can be transformative for people with mobility issues as well as those looking to future-proof their homes enabling safe and independent aging in place without the need to move home or adapt downstairs accommodation to avoid using stairs. While the cost of the product and its installation can be a significant investment, there are, as you see, a number of funding opportunities available to help with affordability.
From government grants, personal loans, charitable contributions, and VAT relief there are several avenues available if you need to part- or fully-fund your domestic lift installation.
We recommend investigating each funding option in detail. You can also reach out to one of our experienced team members at Stiltz Homelifts who would be delighted to help and support you on your journey to installing your new home lift.