Introduction

If you or someone living in your property has a disability, you may need some changes made to your home. This could include changes to:

  • make it easier to get in and out of the property
  • make it easier to wash, go to the toilet and bathe
  • make it easier to use the kitchen and make meals
  • make it easier to get to your bedroom and move about your home

The law says you have a disability if you have a physical or mental impairment that has a long-term negative effect on your normal daily activities.

The council funds adaptations to council homes. This won’t affect any benefits you receive.

Who to contact first

We will need an Occupational Therapist ( OT) or OT Assistant ( OTA) to assess your circumstances and recommend the type of work you need.

For adults 

Contact Access Point for an initial assessment and a referral to the Housing Adaptations OT Service if you need major changes to your home. 

Send an email to access-point@brightonhove.gov.uk, phone 01273  295 555 or minicom 01273 296 388

For children and young people (0 to 18 years old)

Parents or carers of children and young people can make enquiries to the Childrens Disability Team. Professionals can make referrals as well as parents or carers.  

The service will identify eligible needs and work closely with you and other professionals to find appropriate equipment, manual handling advice and any major changes you need at home.  

Send an email to: Ot.ChildrensDisabilityTeam@brighton-hove.gov.uk or phone 01273 295550 .      

The OT Assessment

The OT will assess your need for adaptations and make a recommendation about the type of work needed. They might also discuss other options with you, such as moving home to an already adapted or more suitable property and how we can help you with this.

Thinking about the changes that need to be made, the OT will work with you on the design of these, draw up recommendations and agree these with you before any work goes ahead.   

Some changes to your home may need planning consent or building control approval before any work is done. 

Before any major adaptations, we need to be satisfied that the work is necessary and appropriate to meet the person’s needs, reasonable and can be done depending on the age and condition of the property.

The Housing Adaptations Service provides the technical support with the design and planning for all major adaptations for adults and children.

A Home Improvement Officer (HIO) will check that the proposed changes can be made, draw up plans and get ready to order the work. The HIO will also manage the contractors carrying out the work and make sure the work is completed to a good standard.

You might need to wait to see an Occupational Therapist (OT) as the service is busy.    

Getting ready to do the work

As soon as we have a referral for major adaptations, we carry out a tenancy check to make sure you are the tenant, or if the adaptations are for someone else, that they are registered at the address.

We might not agree major changes to your home if:

  • you’re registered on homemove and looking to move
  • you’re been served a ‘Notice of Seeking Possession’ (NoSP) for a breach of tenancy, for rent arrears or anything else

We won’t agree major changes if you’ve put in a Right to Buy application.

Sometimes the work won’t be able to go ahead for other reasons:

  • If it’s not reasonable or possible to do the adaptations to the property – for example, if it’s too small, the access is too steep or the difficulty of doing the work means the overall cost is more than the maximum amount we can fund.
  • The cost of returning the property back to how it was would be too high – for example, if you live in a property that would not normally be adapted, the cost of changing it back in the future will be taken into consideration

The adaptations may also not go ahead if the work will affect your neighbours - for example, if changes need to be made to a shared entrance or common ways.

If the work does affect other residents, we’ll need to consult with them. The housing team will write to neighbouring residents explaining what the proposals are to see if there are any objections. The consultation period lasts for 14 days and any objections must be reasonable.

We won’t generally approve the installation of stair lifts in the common ways of council-owned blocks due to the health and safety concerns and risk of obstructing an emergency evacuation route. The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 states that all common ways need to be kept clear.

If a property is newly-built, we’ll need to check any changes are permitted within the warranty period.

If the work can’t go ahead, we will tell you why.

Asbestos check

We also need to be sure that any proposed adaptations can be done safely and need to know whether there is any asbestos in the property.

We may have this information already, but if not we’ll arrange a survey and report to be carried out. If we do need to arrange a survey, you’ll need to allow access.

Getting the work done

Once we have the OT recommendations and the tenancy and asbestos checks are done, the Home Improvement Officer (HIO) will draw up plans and get ready to order the work. 

The HIO might need to visit you first and will call you to arrange this. If not, the HIO will instruct one of our specialist adaptations contractors to carry out the work.  

The contractor will contact you directly to arrange a start date and tell you about anything you need to do to get ready.

All our contractors who carry out adaptations have been carefully selected based on the quality of their work and customer care, as well as giving the council good value for money

Depending on the work needed, we might need to ask you to move out temporarily while the work is done. The Occupational Therapist (OT) will discuss this with you if necessary.

If it’s a very short time, you may have a friend or relative you can stay with. If it’s longer, we’ll work with the housing team to find alternative suitable accommodation for you. 

After the work is complete

The Home Improvement Officer (HIO) oversees the work on site from start to finish.

When the contractor tells us the work is finished, the HIO will carry out a check visit to see that you are happy with the work and its ready to sign off. 

If there any outstanding issues with the work or anything you’re not happy with, you can tell the HIO and we will put this right.

All adaptations work is covered by a warranty for 12 months or longer.

If you have a problem or need to request a repair within the first 12 months after completion, please send an email to the Adaptations Team at adaptations@brighton-hove.gov.uk or phone 01273 292443.

If you need a repair after the first 12 months, please report it to our repairs helpdesk online or if it’s an emergency, call 0800 052 6140.

Tenants’ Disability Network

The Tenants’ Disability Network is a resident involvement group that can provide help, support and information to residents with disabilities.

To find out more, send an email to the Tenants’ Disability Network at tdnbhcc@gmail.com.