What is HELP?
HELP is a new financing tool offered by the City of Toronto to help you improve your home’s energy efficiency and save money.
Upgrading your insulation and replacing an old furnace are examples of cost-effective improvements – also called retrofits – that can cut your energy bills, improve home comfort and reduce harmful emissions to the environment.
For many people, however, the high upfront cost of these improvements can be a barrier to taking action.
HELP offers a solution
Low interest loans are available to qualifying homeowners who are interested in improving the energy and water efficiency of their home. Through HELP, the City will provide the funding required to complete the improvements and the homeowner will repay the City over time through installments on their property tax bill.
The potential savings you may realize after completing your home energy retrofit will help to offset the cost of your monthly repayments to the City. And by making your home more energy efficient, you will be better protected against rising energy costs.
Five benefits of HELP financing
- HELP allows you to avoid the large upfront cost of home energy improvements and pay for them over time.
- HELP financing is attached to the property, not to the property owner. If you sell the property before the loan is repaid, the new owner will assume the balance of the loan and continue to repay it through the property tax bill.
- You may pay off your HELP loan at any time, without penalty.
- You benefit from low interest rates and longer repayment terms, compared to conventional financing.
- Incentives of up to $2,000 are available from Enbridge Gas, including a rebate to cover the cost of your home energy assessments. And an incentive of up to $650 is available from Toronto Hydro for replacing your furnace and air conditioner with high efficiency units.
Do I qualify?
HELP is a 3-year pilot project, available in specific neighbourhoods in Toronto. If the first three digits of your home postal code are listed below, HELP financing is available to you:
- Black Creek:M3N
- Toronto Centre/Riverdale/Beaches:M4E, M4L, M4M, M4J, M1N, M4C, M4K, M5A
- Junction/High Park:M6P, M6S
- South Scarborough:M1M, M1E, M1C, M1L, M1K, M4B
- Central and South Etobicoke:M8V, M8W, M8Y, M8Z, M9A, M9B, M9C
- Don Valley/Willowdale:M2K, M2L, M2M, M2N, M2P, M3B, M4N
Note: The pilot program is a three-year program. Additional postal code areas will become eligible to participate in the future. Is your neighbourhood not covered? Keep in touch by either subscribing to Toronto E-updates or completing a Pre-Application Form to join our waiting list.
You may qualify for a low interest loan through HELP if:
- you own a detached, semi-detached, row or mobile home;
- all of the property owners on title consent to the program;
- your property tax and utility payments to the City are in good standing; and
- you obtain written consent from your mortgage lender, if applicable.
What types of home energy improvements are eligible?
The following are examples of improvements supported by HELP:
- High efficiency furnace/boiler/central air conditioner
- High efficiency water heater
- Window or door replacement
- Air sealing (for example, weather stripping or caulking)
- Basement/attic/exterior wall insulation
- Toilet replacement
- Drain water heat recovery system
- Heat recovery/energy recovery ventilator
HELP interest rates and terms
HELP offers low interest rates and flexible terms to fit your budget. Interest rates are fixed and will not fluctuate over the term. The table below shows the terms and corresponding interest rates that are valid until December 31, 2014, and may be subject to change thereafter.
|Terms||Program Interest Rates|
An administrative charge of two per cent (2%), reflective of the City of Toronto’s cost of administering the Program, will be applied and calculated on the final funding amount.
The chart below is for informational purposes only. It shows estimates to help you understand what your monthly HELP payments might be.
|Estimated Monthly Payment – 11 payments/year|
|Funding Amount||5 years||10 years||15 years|