Rights in supported housing

Your rights when you live in supported accommodation depend on the type of accommodation and what support you receive there.

What is supported accommodation

Types of supported accommodation can vary widely. For example, supported accommodation may be:

  • a house or flat where you receive support from social workers or other organisations
  • sheltered housing
  • a care home or nursing home
  • a hostel or rehabilitation centre.

Your rights depend on the kind of accommodation you live in and who your landlord is.

Find out more about the types of housing support you could be eligible for.

Tenancy agreement or a licence agreement

When you moved into your supported accommodation, you should have been asked to sign an agreement setting out your rights and responsibilities. This should explain to you what kind of tenant or occupier you are.

Tenancy agreements in supported housing

You probably have a tenancy agreement if you rent a house or flat or you occupy at least some of the accommodation exclusively (for example, a bedroom), and the accommodation is the main element in the supported package.

Your tenancy rights depend on the kind of tenancy agreement you have.

If you rent:

If you share accommodation with your landlord, you are probably an excluded occupier.

Licence agreements in supported housing

You may have a licence agreement if:

  • you rent a room in a group home run by a housing association/charitable association where you share communal rooms (for example, a bathroom or living room) with other people
  • the main purpose of your stay is to receive support (for example, if you live in a rehabilitation centre, a hostel, or a hospital).

In these situations you are probably an excluded occupier, with fewer rights than a tenant. This is especially likely if you are only staying there temporarily.

Support in care homes

A care home can be a residential or nursing home offering support to:

  • older people
  • people with drug and alcohol problems
  • children and young people
  • people with disabilities
  • people with learning disabilities
  • people with mental health problems

Your care home should be registered with the Care Quality Commission. The physical standards of the accommodation and your rights and responsibilities as a resident should meet the national care standards.

Physical standards in supported housing

The premises must conform to all health and safety standards.

The home should be clean, hygienic and light, and the décor should be in good order.

Also the bedrooms and washing facilities must meet minimum size requirements, with space for you to move about.

Lifestyle and care standards in supported housing

The national care standards ensure that you have the right to:

  • a written agreement in a format you can understand that outlines your occupancy rights and the terms and conditions of your residence
  • be treated with dignity and respect at all times
  • have your privacy and property respected (for example, to have a lock on your bedroom door and for staff to knock and wait for permission to enter)
  • make informed choices about your life in the care home, how you spend your time and how you receive support
  • feel safe, secure and free from bullying, harassment and discrimination
  • make complaints without worrying about the consequences

Find about more about these and other national care standards from the Care Quality Commission.

Complaints about supported housing standards

Use the complaints procedure at your home if you don't think standards are being met in your accommodation or you have any other complaint about your care home.

By law, your care provider must have a complaints procedure which you can ask to see. It explains how to make a complaint.

If you aren't satisfied with their response or feel your complaint hasn't been taken seriously, there are a number of actions you can take, depending on who the care provider is and how your care is funded:

Supported housing help and advice

Get advice to work out your tenancy rights in supported accommodation.

A Shelter adviser specialising in disability or care needs, debt and welfare benefits as well as housing can look at your individual circumstances and explain your rights to you. 

Your local Shelter advice centre may also be able to help if you are concerned about your rights or have been asked to leave your accommodation.

Use Shelter's directoryto find a local adviser.

Find more about housing support you might be eligible for.

Find out more about help available from your local council.

Fill out my online form.

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