Councils provide support to residents of both private and council housing if they need to build a wet room in their house to provide better living conditions for a disabled or elderly family member. This blog post will explain the process of how a resident can apply for a wet room through their local council office, the grants that may be able for funding the in case they are unable to bear the cost of adaptations as well as some details regarding disabilities and council housing provision.
How Can I Get Wet Room From Council?
In case you are a council housing resident, the entire cost of a wet room will be taken care of by the local council office. In case you are a private housing resident, the amount of financial support extended by council authorities will be based on the result of your means-test. Private homeowners may find it easier to get council help; while private tenants will also need to seek permission from their landlord and agree to certain terms of tenancy.
Once a resident applies for a wet room facility to their local council office, an occupational therapist visits their home to assess the premises and gather information regarding the applicant’s need for a wetroom, the reason(s) for the application, as well as to conduct an overview of their current living conditions.
In certain conditions, the assessment may reveal the need only for minor adaptations to the premises without the necessity of a wet room. These may include the following:
- Adapted chairs and beds
- Bath seats and shower stools
- Concrete steps or ramps
- Hand/Grab rails
- Raised toilet seats
- Security lights
- Thermostatically controlled mixers
These may be covered under the Minor Adaptation Grant and are estimated to cost less than or around £1,000. In such a case the entire cost is borne by the council authorities
However, when major adaptations such as wetrooms are required to be made to the structure of the premises, the council will not be able to cover the costs on their own and the applicant will need to apply for a Disabled Facilities Grant through them. Residents in England can apply for a grant of up to £30,000.
After the assessment is complete and there is an agreement on the funding amount, council authorities will hire a contractor (generally through a process of raising a tender) to proceed with the work. Payments and the terms of engagement are managed directly through council authorities with the contractor.
Who Is Eligible For A Disabled Facilities Grant?
To be eligible for a Disabled Facilities Grant, the applicant must fulfil the below conditions:
- Either the applicant or a member of their household is living with a disability
- The affected person must either be a house owner or tenant who intends to continue living on the premises for a minimum of five years
The amount of funding that the applicant will receive in this case will depend on their income and savings, which will be assessed through a means test. On the basis of the results, the council will decide the amount that they may be able to arrange through the grant and the amount that the applicant is expected to pay for.
In addition to wetrooms, the Disabled Facilities Grant can also provide for the following:
- Improvement of garden safety
- Widening of doors to improve access
- Construction of an external ramp
- Improved heating and lighting installations
- Installation of stair and through floor lifts
- Kitchen improvements to facilitate food preparation
What Happens If Council Rejects My Wet Room Application?
In case your application for the wet room is refused on grounds of ineligibility and the council does not provide your financial support through grant funding, they may still be able to advise you on how and where to purchase low-cost material for the adaptation to your house.
If you are unable to find such help, you will still be able to seek guidance through:
- Charity Assistance
- Council Tax Reductions
- Disable Related Financial Support
- Home Improvement Agencies
- VAT Relief
What Are VAT Exemption Schemes For Wet Room?
If your application for Disabled Facilities Grant is rejected by the council and you still need to proceed with home adaptations, you may be able to find equipment at VAT exempted rates. This can reduce your adaptation cost significantly.
Applicants who have suffered a stroke or are suffering from arthritis can claim 0 per cent VAT exemption on the supply and installation of the following items:
- Accessible Showers
- Door Widening
- Kitchen Adaptations
- Mobility Wet Rooms
In the other case, 5 per cent VAT exemption is available on the following:
- Access Ramps
- A Walk-In Bath
- Grab Rails
Can I Get Council House If I Have Disabled Child?
Yes, not only will you qualify for council housing if you have a disabled child but you will be put on priority so that you may receive council housing at the earliest possible.
However, not everyone who has a child facing disabilities will be looking for a council house. Depending on the needs of their child, they may make modifications to their existing home and claim state benefits such as Disability Living Allowance.
It is in cases where the parents’ previous home becomes unsuitable for a child with disabilities or they can no longer afford it due to reduced income (in case one of the parents had to leave their job to tend to their child), would they be in need for council housing.
What Are The Benefits For A Disabled Child?
If your child has a mental or physical disability, in addition to council housing, you will also be eligible for the Disability Living Allowance (DLA) to tend to your child’s care and mobility needs. DLA is a monthly allowance paid directly into your account to tend to the needs of your disabled child. Depending on the extent of care and their individual requirements, claimants may receive anything between £23 to £89 for the Care Component and between £23 to £65 for the mobility Component.
Additionally, your local council can help you with short breaks, holiday play schemes, care at home as well as financial help. They can also help you apply for direct payments if you claim benefits. These may include the following:
- Disability Living Allowance
- Personal Independence Payment
- Carer’s Allowance
- Child Tax Credit (CTC)
- Working Tax Credit (WTC)
- Child Benefit
- Universal Credit
- Family Fund
- Disabled Facilities Grant
- Housing Benefit
- Council Tax Reduction
Do I Have To Pay Council Tax When Renovating A Property?
If the property is uninhabitable due to the renovations that are being made to it and the nature of work includes structural changes or major home repairs, residents will be exempt from paying council tax for the tenure of the process.
However, if you are unable to qualify for an exemption from council tax, certain home repairs may count you as eligible for a council tax reduction; while renovations that do not affect everyday living and the property remains occupied while work proceeds will not qualify for either an exemption or a discount.
You may be able to avail of a discount on your council tax bill if any of the following repair works are being done at your home:
- repair of roof structures or foundations
- rebuilding of external walls or chimney stacks,
- replacement of floors
- removal of internal walls (not partitions)
Can I Apply For A Council Tax Discount For Home Renovations?
To be able to qualify for a council tax discount while your home is being renovated, you must inform your local council office prior to the commencement of the repair work at your premises (or as soon as possible once the work starts. If the claimant informs their local council after the renovations are complete, they will be required to provide substantial evidence to be considered for a council tax discount.
The next steps will be as follows:
Step 1: The council contacts the residents and sends a representative to survey the premises.
Step 2: If the property qualifies for a discount, the reduced amount of council tax will remain applicable for an entire year (this may be up to a 100 per cent discount).
Step 3: Once the property becomes inhabited, residents liable for council tax payments must inform their local council within 21 days.
Step 4 (a): If the property remains unfurnished and uninhabited for less than 2 years, a full council tax bill becomes applicable.
Step 4 (b): If the property remains unfurnished and uninhabited for more than 2 years, residents will be liable to pay a premium called “empty house premium”. This is an additional charge over and above the full amount of their council tax bill.
Through this detailed discussion one may be able to conclude that while councils do provide support for wet rooms and other adaptations to improve the living conditions of residents, there are certain eligibility criteria that applicants need to meet. Additionally, they must keep in view that the amount of funding extended through councils will depend on the applicant’s means test regarding income and savings. Where councils are unable to extend support, there are many charities and grants that can be reached out to for both equipment and financial support.
FAQs: How Can I Get Wet Room From Council?
Can you get funding for a wet room?
Yes, you can get funding for a wet room by applying for the Disabled Facilities Grant through your local council office. If you meet the eligibility criteria, adaptations up to £ 30,000 can be provided under this grant.
Can I get a grant to have a shower fitted?
Yes, you can get a grant to have a shower fitted. For home adaptations that cost less than £1,000, you may be avail to avail the Minor Adaptations grant by applying at your local council office.
Do you need planning permission for a wet room?
No, you do not need planning permission for a wet room. You will need to apply to your local council for a wet room facility. Depending on your eligibility criteria and means test, the council will approve your application as well as the funding amount that can be arranged through the Disabled Facilities Grant.
Will the council fit me a bath?
Yes, you can contact your council office if you need a bath to be fitted. They will send an occupational therapist to your home to assess your need and living conditions.
Can I get a grant from PIP?
If you are on PIP, you may additionally be eligible for extra money, a reduction on your council tax bills, road tax bills and discounts on travel.