Housing adaptations

Improvements and adaptations to your home can help you to continue living there independently; you can ask the social services department of your local council to do an assessment of your home.

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Usually, an occupational therapist will assess what adaptations would best meet your needs. If they agree that you need adaptations to your home, you will be awarded a Disabled Facilities Grant. Find out about applying for a needs assessment by social services on GOV.UK's website.

Disabled Facilities Grants

Local councils give Disabled Facilities Grants to eligible applicants to make houses suitable for disabled people. Depending on your financial circumstances, you may be expected to pay for some of the costs.

Disabled Facilities Grants are available to owners and tenants in both private and social housing up to a limit of £30,000. GOV.UK has more information about Disabled Facilities Grants.

Extra help

Local councils may provide assistance such as low cost loans as well as grants to private homeowners and others to help renovate, repair or adapt their home.

They may also provide other sorts of assistance, for example helping someone move to more suitable accommodation if this would provide a similar benefit to improving or adapting the existing accommodation. For more information, contact the environmental health or housing department of your local council.

VAT relief

Disabled people do not have to pay VAT on the cost of some building work involved in adaptations to their homes. If an adaptation qualifies for VAT relief, the work done to prepare for the adaptation and the work done to tidy up afterwards is also free from VAT. You can contact HM Revenue and Customs to find out more about VAT relief.

Council tax reduction

If you adapt your home so that you, or another disabled person, can live there, you may be eligible for a one-band reduction on your council tax. The GOV.UK website has further information about council tax reduction.

Supporting People programme

Supporting People is a government programme that provides housing related support to help vulnerable people live as independently as possible in the community, whether in their own homes or in supported housing.

The Supporting People website has more about the housing support available.

Getting work done

Home improvement agencies

You may be able to get help from a home improvement agency with arranging for adaptation work to be carried out. They are not-for-profit organisations, which are often managed locally by councils or housing associations. Home improvement agencies:

  • Provide free advice about what work needs to be done.
  • Offer support to tenants who want to adapt their homes.
  • Arrange to have small adaptations and equipment installed.
  • Organise larger adaptation work.
  • Sort out finances.
  • Find a surveyor, architect or builder.
  • Keep an eye on how the work is progressing.

England: Foundations is the national coordinating body for home improvement agencies in England. Visit the Foundations website.

Scotland: Care and Repair Forum Scotland offer independent advice for home improvement in Scotland.

Wales: Care and Repair Cymru works to ensure that all older people have homes that are safe, secure and appropriate to their needs.

Planning permission and building regulations

It is important to get planning permission and take into account any building regulations before you begin major building work. To find out how to do this, visit your local council's website.

Choosing tradespeople and builders

If you decide to hire a tradesperson or builder yourself, it is important to choose someone who operates legally and is qualified for the job.

To help find a builder, you could use the National Federation of Builders, and tradespeople can be found using the TrustMark website.

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