Need HELP? The City of Toronto is here to lend a hand

The Home Energy Loan Program is now available throughout the City of Toronto.  Photo credit:  Benson Kua via Wikipedia Commons.
The Home Energy Loan Program is now available throughout the City of Toronto. Photo credit: Benson Kua via Wikipedia Commons.

Is your furnace busted? Do you need to replace your windows? Are your home heating bills too high and you need to upgrade your insulation?  If you need HELP with these costs, the City of Toronto can lend a hand through the Home Energy Loan Program (HELP).

Qualified homeowners of detached, semi-detached and row houses can apply for a low interest loan from the City, which can be used to make energy efficiency improvements to your home. You can purchase a new high efficiency furnace, replace your windows, upgrade your insulation or install solar panels to name just a few examples. You pay the loans back over a period of time as a surcharge on your property tax bill.

To learn more or apply for HELP, visit http://tinyurl.com/pcyahjq.

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Home Energy Loan Program

Toronto City Council approved a $20 million water and energy efficiency pilot program in July 2013 called the Home Energy Loan Program (HELP).  This new 3-year pilot program applies to homeowners of private, single-family homes (e.g. detached, semi-detached and townhouses/row houses). 

Older neighbourhoods are targeted in this pilot program and Ward 41 residents are ineligible to apply at this time.  If the pilot program is successful, additional neighbourhoods in the City, including Ward 41, may become eligible to apply to the Home Energy Loan Program in 2016.

The purpose of this financing tool is to help homeowners save money on their water and home heating bills by helping them improve their home’s water and energy efficiency.

Homeowners can cut their energy bills by retrofitting their homes.  Upgrading insulation above and beyond the R8 building code standard and replacing old furnaces with new energy efficient models are examples of retrofits that effectively reduce energy consumption and save homeowners money. 

These retrofits are often costly, which prevents many Torontonians from undertaking these water and energy saving initiatives.  That is why the City of Toronto set-up the Home Energy Loan Program. 

Interested homeowners who qualify for the program can get low interest loans from the City to make improvements to their homes that will reduce their water and energy consumption. 

A special charge is applied to the homeowner’s property tax bill in order to pay off the loan over a period of up to 15 years.  The charge is equal to the cost of the improvements plus interest and a 2% administration fee. 

The payment obligation is associated with the property, not the owner.  If the original homeowner sells the property before the loan is repaid, the new owner assumes financial responsibility for repaying the loan.  The new owner is expected to continue making payments to the City until the loan is paid off. 

One time payments can be made at any time to repay the HELP loan.  Once the loan is repaid, the special charge on the property tax bill will be removed. 

For more information on HELP, such as qualification requirements, eligible home improvement projects and the application process, please visit the City of Toronto’s website:  http://tinyurl.com/n4koao3.