The responsibilities of council authorities and their tenants are ideally expressed clearly in the tenancy agreement. Through this blog post, we aim to explore whether council authorities are responsible for fitting a bath in council houses and what are the applicable conditions under which they will do so. For a holistic view of the topic, we will also discuss other provisions that council authorities provide such as a shower or a wetroom; as well as the options available to tenants if council authorities are unable to meet their needs.

Will The Council Fit Me A Bath?

Whether or not the council authorities fit a bath for a tenant will depend on certain factors. Some of these are discussed below:

  • If the council authorities have agreed to provide a bath in your tenancy agreement, they will most certainly do so; even if it takes some time.
  • If the currently installed bath is not in a condition to be used and requires repairs or re-installation, the council will provide you with one.
  • If your council house comes with a shower fitting in the bathroom and you have requested for a bath to be fitted, the council authorities may require sound reasoning for the demand. This includes having younger children, a disability or a medical condition due to which a bath is essential for the tenant(s).
  • If the tenant requests for a bath to be installed due to a disability or health condition that they or a family member are faced with, the council may suggest applying for a Disability Facilities Grant for a bath to be installed in the council house.
  • If a tenant does not qualify for a Disabled Facilities Grant but still requires a bath to be installed due to their medical condition, the council may recommend charities or grants who can provide funds for the purpose.

In either of these situations, the council authorities will arrange a visit by an Organisational Therapist to visit your house and conduct an assessment to confirm the need for a bath. Based on the report filed by the Organisational Therapist, the council will be able to decide whether or not they will be able to provide a bath in your council house.

If your request for a bath is rejected by the council on the grounds of lack of eligibility, you can discuss the following possibilities with them and seek permission for the bath to be fitted:

  • you pay for the expense of fitting a bath on your own; or
  • you arrange funding through a charity or grant for fitting the bath

If neither of these options proves to be a solution, you can request the council authorities to help you swap your council house where a bath fitting is already installed.

Will The Council Fit Me A Bath If My House Is Not Fit For Inhabitation?

If your house is not fit for inhabitation, the currently installed bath or shower is non-functional or the current bathing facilities are not reasonable for the tenants, the council will have to meet your needs by fitting a bath.

This means that the tenant must fall under one of the following conditions to qualify:

  • their health is being seriously affected
  • they are at risk of physical injury
  • they are unable to make full use of the property they live in

Therefore, whether you rent from the local council, a housing association or a private landlord, if your house is not fit for inhabitation, they will have to provide you with a bath (or any other housing equipment as the case may be).

Will The Council Fit Me A Shower?

While it is at the discretion of the council to fit a shower for tenants (nearly all council houses have baths fitted in the bathroom), in case a tenant faces old age or a disability, councils will have to provide a walk-in shower in the bathroom. If they are not able to do so, tenants can apply for a grant to have a shower fitted in their bathroom.

Once a tenant applies for a shower fitting in the bathroom, the council authorities will get a formal assessment conducted of the premises to assess the severity of need regarding a shower. This happens particularly in cases where extensive plumbing and restructuring work is needed to install a shower.

Will the Council Get Me A New Bathroom?

The council will arrange a new bathroom for a tenant if the property that they are living in fulfils the following conditions:

  • The current bathroom facility is at least 30 years old.
  • No major repairs have been carried out on the bathroom in the recent five years.
  • The tenant has not applied to purchase their council house.

Generally speaking, a basic bathroom upgrade includes the following modifications to the existing facility:

  • new wash hand basin, toilet and bath, over bath electric shower and light fitting
  • freshly papered and painted bathroom walls and ceiling painted with floor vinyl laid
  • fitting of wallboards fitted around the bath and behind the wash hand basin area

Any installations that are required from the council will be prioritised depending on the age of the property. Once a tenant’s request for bathroom replacement is approved, a design consultant visits the property and discusses the layout/requirements.

Will The Council Fit Me A Wet Room?

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 at 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.   

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.

Can A Secure Tenant Make Changes To Their Bathroom?

If you are a secure tenant, you can seek permission from your council authorities and manage minor changes or upgrades to your council house on your own.

In fact, as a secure tenant, you can carry out interior and exterior decor as well as home improvement tasks such as installing new bathrooms or a fireplace or even building an extension or greenhouse. Still, you must attain written permission from your social housing landlord or housing association before the start of any such work on the property.

However, you will need to make sure that any building or reconstruction that is carried out in your council house fulfils Building Regulations.

Can I Get 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. Based on 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.

Will The Council Pay For Repairs In My Council House?

Yes, council authorities  and housing associations are responsible for the following repairs to your council house or housing association property:

  • appliances provided by the council
  • baths, pipes, sinks and toilets
  • electrical wiring 
  • gas appliances
  • heating and hot water
  • lifts and communal entrances
  • roof, walls, windows and external doors

Will The Council Pay For Home Adaptations?

The council will pay for home adaptations that cost less than £1,000 such as the installation of grab rails or a concrete ramp. Some of the home adaptations that councils can provide include the following:

  • fitting a bath lift, walk-in shower or a grab rail
  • installing a stairlift or a bannister on the stairs
  • lowering kitchen worktops
  • putting in an outdoor ramp or step rail
  • providing security equipment, such as outdoor lights and intercom systems
  • widening of doorways

However, councils will not be able to pay for expensive home adaptations that exceed £1,000 in cost. In such a case, you can apply for funding through a Disabled Facilities Grant or contact a charity such as Independence At Home.

Conclusion:

The discussion in this article portrays a clear picture of the circumstances under which council authorities will install a bath for their tenants. While the decision in this matter is mostly dependent on the results of a needs assessment carried out by an Occupational Therapist who visits the premises, if council authorities do not provide a bath fitting to their tenants, the tenants can consider paying for them, applying for a Disabled Facilities Grant or seek funding through a local charity.

FAQs: Will The Council Fit Me A Bath?

Who is entitled to a wet room?

If someone is challenged with a disability or a health condition, they may qualify for a wet room. However, councils will base their decision on the matter after an Occupational Therapist has conducted a survey and shared their results.

How much does it cost to fit a bath in the UK?

The average cost of fitting a bathtub in the UK is between £80 to £125.

What is a council wet room?

A council wet room is a glass-covered enclosed space in a bathroom that serves as a walk-in shower area.

Can I get a grant to have a shower fitted?

Yes, depending on your circumstances and whether you apply to the council authority or a local charity, you are quite likely to get a grant to have a shower fitted in your house.

Can you get a grant for a walk-in shower in the UK?

Yes, if you qualify for a Disabled Facilities Grant in the UK you can get funding to have a walk-in shower installed in your bathroom.

References:

Council housing: Repairs and maintenance – GOV.UK

Disabled Facilities Grants: Overview – GOV.UK

Home adaptations for older people and people with disabilities – NHS

Repairs and maintenance in council and housing association homes – Shelter England

https://england.shelter.org.uk/housing_advice/repairs/is_your_home_fit_for_habitation

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