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Sheltered housing options

You could get sheltered housing if you’re:

  • aged 60 or over

  • disabled

Sheltered housing is also sometimes called retirement housing. It can give you the independence of your own home, with the safety of having an alarm and a 24 hour warden on site.

If you need help with household chores or personal care you could get:

  • a type of housing called very sheltered housing

  • a place in a care home

  • housing support at home

We have guidance on your options if you need care or support at home.

Check if you can get sheltered housing

You’ll need proof that you need sheltered housing. This should be a care assessment from your council’s social work department. Find your local social work team on

If you need help to get an assessment done, your GP, health visitor or district nurse can ask the council for an assessment for you.

Applying for sheltered housing

Finding a provider

Contact your local council to ask them for a list of local sheltered housing providers.

You can also ask the council for a housing options meeting if you’d like help with your applications.

For more advice on your housing options, contact Age Scotland on their helpline on freephone 0800 12 44 222, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

Renting from the council or a housing association

If you’re applying for a social tenancy with a sheltered housing provider, you’ll be put on the waiting list until a suitable home becomes available to you.

Some providers might ask you to fill in paper forms and some might allow online applications. We have guidance on applying for social housing.

When a suitable home becomes available you'll be offered a Scottish secure tenancy, which gives you strong rights. Check our guidance on your rights in a Scottish secure tenancy.

Privately renting or buying sheltered housing

It’s also possible to buy sheltered housing or rent it privately.

If you want to buy, you’ll need a solicitor who deals in property sales, called a conveyancing solicitor. You can find a solicitor on the Law Society of Scotland website.

If you're looking to privately rent sheltered housing, the council should be able to help you identify local providers.

Paying for sheltered housing

How you pay for sheltered housing will depend on:

  • your income

  • how much money you have saved or in assets, like an owned home.

You could get benefits to help you pay the rent, such as:

The rent you pay will often include service charges for maintenance and staffing. This includes running and maintaining communal spaces and facilities like:

  • a garden

  • washing machines

  • an alarm system

  • social events for you and your neighbours

Check with each provider you apply to what your rent includes. Sometimes these charges might be separate.

Last updated: 19 January 2023

Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.

This content applies to Scotland only.

Get advice if you're in England