While councils can provide basic infrastructural facilities to tenants, repair and maintenance remain the responsibility of the tenants. Through this blog post, we aim to learn whether or not council authorities will fit a shower for their tenants as usual council homes have fitted baths. Additionally, we will also learn about how councils provide wet rooms for tenants, the impact of such modifications on ones’ property value and subsequent council tax bills.

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.

However, many council tenants tend to use a clip-on hand shower that is attached to the tap. This is not only a cost-effective option but also does not require the involvement of local authorities for approval and cost bearing. 

Such expenses 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.

How Can I Get Wet Room From Council?

In case you are a council housing resident, the 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

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.

 What Are Building Regulations?

These are some basic standards for the design and structural changes that are to occur and are essential to be met during construction, conversion or refurbishment of properties. Building Regulations have been set to assure that the health and safety of the residents will not be compromised in any way as a result of the said modifications to the property. 

These include the following:

  • Structural changes such as house extensions or conversions should not affect a load-bearing wall, beam or chimney breast or which will make access to property difficult. 
  • There should be no electrical safety concerns due to the addition of fuse boxes or plugs, or a change of electrics that causes new electrical wiring.
  • Installation of heating appliances such as a boiler, radiator or fuel-burning appliance should be managed with extreme caution.
  • There should be no concern for fire hazards due to construction work and the escape route (of the added/converted section to the premises) must comply with fire safety standards.
  • Installation of a new bathroom or kitchen should not affect the overall plumbing of the house.
  • New windows, doors or fixed air-conditioning systems should meet the safety and design standards set by Building Regulations.

What Kind Of Changes To Property Affect My Council Tax Bill?

There are certain circumstances due to which properties may be revalued and their bands reassigned by the local council. Below is a list of factors that may cause a change in band:

  • a part of your property is demolished and is not rebuilt
  • the property is altered to subdivide it into self-contained units, (this could be a single unit with an annexe – each unit will be considered under a separate band) 
  • a single property is reconstructed into self-contained flats
  • flats are converted to a single property
  • residents start or stop working from home
  • changes were made to property the property by the previous owner
  • significant changes such as a new road are being made to the local area
  • the council tax band was changed for a property with similar features in the same area

While some of the changes listed above are directly related to renovations and repairs being made to premises and they also might be in control of the resident, some might be involuntary and external changes that do have an impact on council tax bills. 

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.

How Much Do Home Renovations Cost In The UK?

According to House Renovation Cost in 2021 it may cost you around £80,000 to renovate (with major changes)  a three-bedroom house in the UK. However, depending on the nature of individual repairs and modifications required, the cost of minor changes may vary. Below is a quick guide:

  • New heating system: £5,500
  • New gas supply: £1,500
  • Rewiring: £5,750
  • Replastering of walls: £2,500 to £15,000
  • New kitchen: £10,000 to £25,000
  • New bathroom: £4,750

The best way to proceed is to prepare a list of changes that you would like to make and then arrange a survey of your premises to learn about the expected expenses. Here is a link to guide you How Much Are House Survey Costs in 2021?

Conclusion:

While most councils will provide repairs or installations that cost less than £1,000, fitting a shower may at times require extensive plumbing work to be carried out. This is the reason why if councils are unable to provide walk-in showers, may tenants opt for handheld clip on shower hoses that can be attached to a tap. However, the best way to learn about the offers your council has, you should discuss your options with them before making a decision.

FAQs: Will The Council Fit Me A Shower?

How much does it cost to install a shower in the UK?

Depending on the need and usage of the shower and whether it is a Digital, Electric, Mixer or Power, installation of one may require cost between £360 to £1330.

Do I need a plumber to install a shower?

Yes, you will need a plumber to install a shower especially if you are installing one for the first time.

Can I install an electric shower myself?

Yes, you can install an electric shower by yourself if you are used to setting up installations by reading instructions.

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.

How long does it take to fit a shower?

It can take between three to five days to fit in a shower. This is the reason why a lot of tenants opt to attach a clip-on shower hose to their bathtub tab rather than installing a walk-in shower in their bathroom.

References:

Council housing: Repairs and maintenance – GOV.UK

Council house improvements

How Your Local Council Can Help You Install Your Wet Room

Council Tax band changes

House Renovation Cost in 2021

Guidance overview: Permitted development rights for householders: technical guidance

The council and showers — MoneySavingExpert Forum

Home adaptations for older people and people with disabilities – NHS

Guide to Accessible Shower Installations.

What was missing from this post which could have made it better?

John has 22 years of experience in financial services. This spans across financial research, financial services (As a qualified mortgage broker and underwriter), financial trading and sales at global investment banks. While working as a publishing research analyst, he covered European bank credit and advised institutional clients on investment strategies at both JP Morgan and Societe Generale. John has passed all three levels of the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) programme.

John has 22 years of experience in financial services. This spans across financial research, financial services (As a qualified mortgage broker and underwriter), financial trading and sales at global investment banks. While working as a publishing research analyst, he covered European bank credit and advised institutional clients on investment strategies at both JP Morgan and Societe Generale. John has passed all three levels of the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) programme.