Temporary housing during home adaptations

This information applies to England and Wales.

If your home needs adaptations to make it accessible for you, it may not be safe for you to live there during building works.

You only have the right to temporary accommodation from your landlord if it’s in your tenancy agreement.

If your home is not safe, you could apply for emergency homeless accommodation from your local authority. This may not be in your local area or accessible.

Housing associations and local authorities

Local authorities and housing associations should have policies on temporary accommodation and major building works. For example, they could have an adaptation or decant policy. Ask your housing officer if you’re not sure which policy to look at.

Getting evidence

Get written evidence to show that your property is not safe for you to live in.

Evidence could be an email, letter or report. It should show that you need temporary accommodation. This should include:

  • medical information that explains how the building work would affect you and your condition
  • how the building work will affect your home

Medical information

This could be anything that shows how the building works could be unsafe for you because of your condition. For example, how building dust could make your condition worse.

This evidence could be a report or letter from a healthcare professional. For example, your:

  • doctor
  • community nurse
  • occupational therapist
  • speech and language therapist

Building works

Your evidence should show how your home will be affected by the building work and for how long. For example:

  • no water supply
  • no toilet
  • not being able to get into and around your home safely
  • nowhere for your overnight carer to sleep

You could get information from the builders.

Take your own photos. Keep the original photo files as these will include the time and date of when they were taken.

If you need adaptations to your home to live more independently, you might get these from:

  • your local authority
  • your housing association
  • the NHS

These adaptations can be to your own home or one you rent.

Getting home adaptations


If you receive Housing Benefit or the housing element of Universal Credit, you usually only receive enough to pay the rent for 1 property.

Talk to your landlord to see if you can get written permission to pay rent for only 1 home during the building work.

You may get help with the rent on 2 properties for up to a month if you’re waiting for adaptations.

Claiming benefits for 2 homes (Shelter)

You may still be eligible for support with Council Tax.

Help with Council Tax

Bedroom tax and housing benefits

Emergency local authority housing

You may be eligible for emergency homeless accommodation if you can show that it’s not ‘reasonable’ for you to stay in your home. This would be because the building works mean that it is not possible to live there with your condition or impairment.

If you are offered somewhere to stay, it could be a room in a hotel, bed and breakfast or hostel rather than a flat or house. The emergency accommodation may not be close to your home.

Contact your local authority and ask to make a homeless application. This might be called the ‘housing options unit’. If this does not work, you could also try contacting social services.

Find your local authority (GOV.UK)

If you cannot get help from your local authority

Get housing advice.

Contact Shelter in England

Contact Shelter in Wales

Last reviewed by Scope on: 13/11/2023

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