Moving if you have special needs

If you are a disabled person or have special requirements, there are some additional things you need to take into account when you move house. This page explains more.

How can I find a home that's suitable for my needs?

There are lots of things you need to think about when you're looking for a new place to rent or buy. What kind of area do you want to move to? How much can you afford to pay for your rent or mortgage? The pages on finding a place to rent, renting from the council and buying a home have lots more information and advice on this, as well as useful checklists for you to download and use when you're looking at potential properties. You can also download our accessibility checklist (or a large print version) - this will help you assess whether a property is suitable for you.

Can I adapt my new home to meet my needs?

If you're renting your new home but need to adapt it to suit your needs, you can ask the landlord for permission to do the necessary work. By law, your landlord can't refuse your request unreasonably - this applies to councils and housing associations and private landlords.

Your landlord is also responsible for providing you with any extra aids and equipment you ask for, to help you to get the most out of the property you're renting.

If you own your own home or have a private landlord, you'll have to fund any adaptations yourself, although the council may provide a grant to help you. In addition, you'll need to make sure you have the relevant planning and building permissions before you go ahead with any work.

What about support services?

You'll also need to think about your support needs, and the services that are available in your new area. For example, you may get personal care at home, help with your housework or shopping, or meals on wheels.

Services from the council

If you currently receive services from the council, contact your social work department to let them know you're moving. They should get in touch with social work in your new area, so that you continue to receive the services you need without a gap. Bear in mind that if you're moving to a new council area, the services on offer may be different, or may be run in a new way.

If you have any special equipment on loan from the council (for example, a ramp or hoist) you'll probably need to return it before you leave.

Once you've settled in, your new social work department may have to carry out an assessment of your needs, to make sure you're getting the right help and support. An occupational therapist from the new department can also recommend special equipment and adaptations for your new home.

Services from other agencies

If you get services from another agency, for example, a voluntary organisation such as Help the Aged or Capability Scotland, talk to your service provider to find out whether you can continue to receive the service in your new home.

You can find organisations that provide support in the area you are moving to on the Scottish Government's House Key website. You can also contact a disability information centre in your new area to find out about local healthcare provisions and support services.

What if I get self-directed support (direct payments)?

If you arrange your own services and receive self-directed support to pay for them, you need to let your council know you're moving, so they can arrange for your new council to make the payments instead. You may receive a slightly different amount from your new council, as each council has its own system of payments. Or you may find that you have to pay for services that your previous council offered for free, or vice versa.

What if I'm claiming benefits?

If you are claiming benefits (for example, income support or disability living allowance) you must let the benefits service know that you're moving. The amount of benefit you receive shouldn't be affected by your move.

What about housing and council tax benefit?

The amount of housing and council tax benefit you're entitled to may alter when you move, depending on the size of your new home and who you'll be living with. The page on changes to your circumstances explains more, and includes a letter you can download to send to the housing and council tax benefit department.

If you're moving into rented accommodation for the first time (for example, if you're leaving home), you can find out more about applying for housing and council tax benefit.

If you're claiming housing benefit but can't live in your new home until it's been adapted for you, you can still get your benefit paid for up to four weeks before you move in. If you have a home already, you can continue to receive housing benefit for your old home.

If you need housing advice, contact us for free.

Last updated: 29 December 2014

Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.

This content applies to Scotland only.

Get advice if you're in England