Always seek advice from your local authority before starting any major adaptation
A major adaptation is considered to be a structural change to a property. This can include widening doorways for wheelchair access, converting a bathroom into a wet floor shower room, external ramps, installing a through floor lift.
Minor adaptations are installation of grab rails and banisters, removing door thresholds between rooms.
Grants are available for essential work. If you are on a low income the grant may cover the whole cost of the adaptation, if not you may be asked to contribute to the cost of the adaptation. This will be discussed at the time of the needs assessment.
- If you think you need an adaptation you should contact you local authority and ask for a needs assessment. This applies if you are in council property, private housing or in a private landlord tenancy. If you are in a private landlord tenancy or a housing association you should also contact them to ask for permission to have the adaptation.
- If you own your property and you decide to organise and pay for your own adaptation to be done, you are entitled to do so without informing the local authority provided the adaptation is on your property alone.
- Check with the planning department if you need planning permission and apply if you do. You may need building inspection and certificate of completion for a major adaptation.
- If you have shared access to your property you must get written permission from other property owners if your adaptation will affect their property. For example putting in a ramp access at a communal entry. If there is an objection you cannot proceed with the adaptation.
- Grants If you own your own property and would like to apply for a grant to assist with the finances of your adaptation you will still need a local authority needs assessment.
- Essential work The local authority will only fund adaptations which are considered to be essential. This usually does not include extensions to property. Essential work is to make your home suitable for you or the person in your household with a disability. This can be changes to standard amenities e.g. bathroom and toilet or to change the structure of the home to meet the needs of the disabled person.
- Landlord properties If you adapt a private landlord property or housing association property they may insist on a ”return to original state” clause in the agreement if you decide to move at a later date.
- Timescales Major adaptations will take months from start to finish. If the local authority is involved they have their own guidelines and requirements such as architects and surveyors reports, estimates from more than one source for the proposed work and building inspections reports on completion before payments are made.
- If it is not adaptable In some instances it may not be possible to adapt the property due to lack of space or unsuitable building construction. In some areas there may be planning issues or listed building status which prohibits certain building work. If in doubt check before starting the adaptation.If your home cannot be adapted for your needs, the local authority or housing association may be able to help you to find a suitable alternative.