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Adapting your home

What are adaptations?

Adaptations are physical changes that can be made to your home to meet a health or disability need. Adaptations can be:

minor such as:

  • handrails at steps
  • grab rails

major such as:

  • stairlifts
  • walk-in showers

These works are designed to help keep people safe and independent at home.

What you need to know

Most people referred for an adaptation will need to be seen by an Occupational Therapist (OT) or Bathing Advisor (BA). The OT or BA will assess the person at home or in a clinic locally. They will then make recommendations based on the individual's needs. Some referrals for small works (minor adaptations) may not need an assessment.

Our Adaptions Team can:

  • carry out adaptation work in a council owned property

The Care and Repair Team can:

  • assist if someone lives in a privately owned or rented property

Who can apply?

If you have a permanent health problem or disability you can ask for an assessment. If you know someone who's having difficulties you can refer them for an adaptation.

Minor adaptations

This type of work includes:

  • lever taps - that can be turned on and off by pushing and pulling a lever
  • stair or banister rails
  • raised sockets - spacers on the sockets so they are further away from the wall
  • window winders - windows can be open and closed through winding a handle 
  • replacing doors to give better access
  • door entry
  • fitting key safes
  • fitting security lights
  • steps

Major adaptations

These are changes to your home that involve major work.

The Occupational Therapist (OT) will visit you at home and find out what your difficulties are. They will also assess if your home can be adapted to meet your needs and will make recommendations for works.

Major adaptations include:

Depending on our budget, we may not be able to carry out all the recommendations. The OT may recommend that it would be better to move house to meet your long term needs.

Get advice before applying

Who you need to contact for home adaptions advice will depend on the property you live in.

Council owned property

If you live in a council owned property you will need to contact us for advice.

Privately owned or rented property

If you live in a privately owned or rented property you will need to contact the Care and Repair Team for adaptions advice.

The Care and Repair Team can: 

  • give advice on what you need 
  • check if you're eligible for a disabled facilities grant (DFG) or home improvement grant
  • get a surveyor to draw up a scheme to meet your needs
  • help find contractors to get the best price
  • supervise contractors' work

Find out more about the Care and Repair Team

Adaptions for children

If you need to make adaptations to your home for a child you will need to contact Surrey County Council.

Contact details are:

Get help if you have care needs

If you or a family member needs help to manage daily tasks such as:

  • washing
  • dressing
  • preparing a meal
  • moving and handling needs

You can contact Surrey County Council Social Care Team for advice or assessment on 01483 517262 or email

Apply for adapted housing

If you have health issues which are affecting your housing situation, e.g. a wheelchair user living in a first floor flat you can register to be rehoused using our housing portal.

Register to be rehoused using our housing portal

You can also request an Occupational Therapist (OT) assessment of your housing needs.

Apply for occupational therapy assessment

Our OT will usually be able to visit within six to eight weeks.

We are unlikely to carry out adaptations to your existing property if you're waiting to move.

What happens next?

The OT will visit you to:

  • assess your difficulties - talk to you about your situation, observe your home and how you manage certain tasks
  • look at activities you are struggling with and make recommendations
  • discuss recommendations with the housing team

If adaptations are needed, recommendations will be sent to the adaptations team. They will then arrange the works.

More information

Are there any adaptations we cannot carry out?

Yes, these include:

  • building a mobility scooter store room
  • adaptations for friends or visitors

We may say no to requests for adaptations if:

  • there is a more suitable property available
  • you've applied to buy your home under the right-to-buy scheme

After the work is finished?

We will send you a customer questionnaire. Your feedback helps us to improve the service we provide.

Will my council rent increase as a result of the adaptations?

We will only put up your rent if we have made your home bigger or increased the number of rooms. Some adaptation could result in lower council tax.

How long will it take to get the work done?

We aim to have your home assessed by an occupational therapist within six to eight weeks of your enquiry. The occupational therapist will give us their recommendations. We aim to have any work completed in six to eight weeks. This could be much longer for major adaptations.

Appeals and complaints

We will respond to any appeals or complaints in line with our complaints policy and procedure.