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Appealing decisions on home adaptations

There may be funding available to help you adapt your home. You usually apply through your local authority or housing association.

Ask your landlord

If you are a private tenant, you ask your landlord.

Asking your landlord for home adaptations

It can be a slow process and you may not get the adaptation you want. The local authority or housing association will base their decision on many things, including:

  • if the adaptation will meet your needs
  • if it’s for short-term recovery or to support you in the long term
  • the cost of the adaptation and if it’s practical
  • the age and condition of the property
  • who owns the property
  • the length of your tenancy
  • if you rent your financial situation (means-testing)

How your local authority decides

Your local authority will organise for an occupational therapist (OT) or professional to assess your needs and home. They will start by thinking about the smallest change that could make the biggest difference. They make their recommendations based on what they believe is ‘necessary and appropriate’.

Home adaptations and occupational therapist assessments

For example, if you ask for an extension to your home for a downstairs bathroom. The OT may feel that a handrail or stairlift is more appropriate to help you get to the bathroom upstairs.

The OT sends their report to the adaptations team at your local authority. The local authority will look at whether the adaptation is ‘reasonable and practical’. This means they look at things like:

  • the age and condition of your home
  • if the adaptation will affect other residents
  • if it’s cost-effective

For example, they may not be able to get permission to make a major adaptation if you live in a listed building. They may suggest helping you move to another property.

If you’re a tenant, you will also need permission from your landlord. If you have a short-term tenancy, you’ll need a certificate or statement to say that you plan to stay in the property for the next 5 years.

Getting permission for adaptations

Disagreeing with a decision

If your local authority rejects your application, they should explain why. They should include the options available to you, like moving to an accessible or adapted property.

Ask for copies of any reports and notes from meetings when they made their decision.

If you disagree with the decision, there are things you can do to challenge it.

Gather evidence

It can help to make a clear case for why you feel the decision is unsuitable. Think about the points they’ve raised and try:

  • going back to your OT, social worker or healthcare professional for support
  • showing what equipment or changes you’ve tried in the past
  • getting support from an advocate or organisation to help you make your case

It can also help to keep letters, emails, documents and records of conversations about the adaptations.

Social care advocates for assessments and appeals

Get support from Citizens Advice

Get a second opinion

If you do not agree with your local authority's OT report, you could get a private OT assessment for a second opinion. But this can be expensive and there's no guarantee that the private report will help support your dispute. Your local authority does not have to consider it.

Find a qualified OT through the Royal College of Occupational Therapists

Follow the complaints process

Every local authority and housing association has their own process for complaining. Check if they have a dedicated appeals process for home adaptation application decisions. You could search on their website for:

  • ‘home adaptations appeals process’
  • ‘Disabled Facilities Grants appeals process’

If not, raise a complaint using their standard complaints process.

You may need to follow the process through to the end. It can be a long process.

Find your local authority’s complaints process (GOV.UK)

Tips for challenging a local authority decision (Which?)

Contacting the ombudsman

An ombudsman is someone who has been appointed to look into complaints about companies and organisations.

If there are long delays when you follow the complaints process, you could contact the ombudsman to get advice. You should also let them know if the local authority does not follow their own complaints process.

Contact the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman in England

Contact the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales

Other organisations that can help

Home Improvement Agencies (HIAs)

HIAs are not-for-profit organisations run by housing associations, local authorities and charities in England. They provide impartial advice and home adaptations.

Find My HIA


In England, Healthwatch is the independent national champion for people who use health and social care services. They can give you advice and help you make a complaint.


Community Health Councils in Wales

These councils are independent and aim to improve the quality of local health services throughout Wales.

Community Health Councils in Wales

Social Care Wales

Social Care Wales works with people who use care and support services and organisations to make improvements in social care in Wales.

Social Care Wales

Last reviewed by Scope on: 08/03/2022

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