Aids and adaptations policy
7.1 Major adaptations (typically over £1,000) are adaptations that meet needs identified through an Occupational Therapist referral e.g. stair lift, over bath shower, level access shower, electric opening doors, ramps and hoists.
7.2 Approvals for major adaptations will only be made on receipt of an Occupational Therapist’s assessment and clear recommendation that the work is necessary to sustain independent living, addressing basic needs only (with critical needs assessments receiving the greatest priority).
7.3 When evaluating a request for an adaptation, the council will consider individual, technical and other relevant factors to enable a balanced decision to be taken to ensure best use is made of the available financial resources.
7.4 Wherever possible and suitable for a customer’s circumstances, the council will endeavour to facilitate approved requests for major adaptations through allocations or management moves to an alternative suitable property that meet required needs. This will include consideration of the suitability of the property, where factors such as floor level and under occupation of the property will be considered. For example, if a single household requires an adaptation, but is occupying a larger family home, a transfer to a more suitable property is likely to be more appropriate.
7.5 The council will only consider approving major adaptations in non-adapted properties when moving or allocating to an alternative property which is not appropriate or unlikely to meet critical needs (as identified by Occupational Therapist reports) within reasonable timescales.
7.6 The council will consider the following criteria when prioritising permissions and providing funding for major adaptations works:
- There is a completed independent Occupational Therapist referral with all relevant information to make a full assessment.
- The work requested is to assist in meeting a long-term medical condition that is likely to continue for the near future.
- The Occupational Therapists eligibility criteria to decide if they have priority needs (with ‘critical needs’ receiving priority over those with ‘substantial’ needs’).
- Where there is more than one applicant with the same Occupational Therapist recommendation, priority will be given on date order (i.e. those that have been waiting longest).
- Additional priority may be given where the requirement for adaptation is causing a current health and safety or fire risk.
7.7 The council reserves the right to refuse the request for a major adaptation on the following grounds:
- Where the adaptation is requested in a property that is due for demolition or major refurbishment within two years.
- The property is unsuitable for the resident e.g. too large or too small for their household. In the case of under occupation, the council may on a discretionary basis waive this condition where no other suitable housing is available.
- The property is unsuitable for adaptation.
- Where the request is for the communal parts of buildings.
- The adaptation is considered unreasonable and unsuitable for the tenants needs, for example installing a level access shower to a flat above ground level where there is no lift to access the flat.
- The request is to address specialist needs other than basic needs (Example of specialist needs: self-washing or changing facilities).
- The request affects other areas of health and safety i.e. fire safety.
- The adaptation requested is unlikely to meet the needs of a progressive condition or on-going health needs.
- A suitable, alternative or already adapted property is offered and refused (depending on individual circumstances and subject to review by the Exceptional Circumstances Panel as outlined in 8.5, below).
- Tenants are in persistent rent arrears, is subject to a current anti-social behaviour order or injunction action against them. The council may on a discretionary basis waive this condition in cases of critical need or where there are immediate risks to health and safety to the occupants of the property.
- If the tenant is in the final year of their flexible tenancy we will consult with the Neighbourhood Officer about the likelihood of it being renewed before we decide whether or not to make any major/permanent adaptations to the property. If it has been decided the tenancy will not be renewed no adaptions will be considered.
- If the tenant has submitted an application under the right-to-buy (RTB) scheme. Tenant will be signposted to the Disabled Facilities Grant. The Referral will be reassessed if the RTB is withdrawn.
- Where a tenant has transferred from another property within the last 12 months, which previously had the adaptations that are now being requested again; unless that property was confirmed to be no longer suitable for their needs by a health professional or council officer or if the tenant is downsizing to a smaller property.
- Where the building structure is considered integrally unsuitable for technical and practical reasons, for example widening doorways in prefab buildings, wet floor showers in beam and block floors etc.
- Where the tenants needs may be met by a more reasonable solution. Particularly where the OT has recommended an extension or major works the tenants needs will be assessed and consideration given to applying alternative solutions, for example utilising a ground floor dining room as a bedroom, instead of building an extension, a smaller extension or rehousing.
7.8 The council aims to ensure all major adaptations are completed within 6 months from the date they are requested. Adaptations where a move to a more suitable property has been identified are deemed ‘complex’.
7.9 The council may consider non-permanent adaptations if it is expected to take over 6 months to find a suitable alternative property.
7.10 The council will inspect all major adaptations on completion to ensure that the work has been undertaken professionally and to check that the resident is satisfied with the work.