Living in unsuitable housing

Your accommodation may be unsuitable if it is overcrowded, in poor condition or is affecting your health or the health of someone you live with.

Help may be available to make your home more suitable, if the condition of your home is making it difficult to stay there. This section gives information about what you can do if your accommodation isn’t suitable.

Could your home be adapted?

If your home can be adapted or improved you may want to stay there, especially if you like where you live and don’t want to move. Both older and disabled home owners and tenants may be able to apply for financial help to provide adaptations.

You may be able to get financial help for adaptions through:

  • a disabled facilities grant from the councils’ housing or social services department
  • a home improvement agency
  • financial help with loans you took out yourself, if you are now in hardship.

The adaptions could include things to help you:

  • Climb stairs
  • Get around the home
  • Get in and out of the bath
  • In the kitchen.

For more information on getting adaptations, click here or, if you are an older person, contact Care & Repair Cymru.

Can you get care at home?

If you need help with daily tasks such as washing, cooking and cleaning, social services may have a legal responsibility to provide care and support for you. This could include care and help at home. If you or your carer believe that you are in need of help you should contact your local social services department and ask them to carry out a needs assessment. The outcome of that assessment will determine what help you may be given.

For details and links to other agencies that may be able to help you click here.

Can your home be repaired?

If you think your home is unsuitable because it needs repairing, there may be action you can take to get the repairs done. This is the case whether you are a home owner or a tenant.

Council, housing association and private landlords must keep properties in good repair. If you are a tenant you might be able to take action against your landlord to make them carry out repairs. The type of action you can take depends on the type of tenancy you have.

If the condition of your home is so bad that it is affecting your health (for example because of serious damp, condensation or excessive noise) or is dangerous, or causing a nuisance to others, then you can report the problem to the council’s public protection (or environmental health) department. The council can carry out an assessment and, if it identifies ‘hazards’ at the property, can take action against the landlord.

See our pages on Repairs and bad conditions for more advice on what action you can take to improve the conditions at your property.

Was the unsuitable home provided by the council?

Any accommodation offered or provided to you by the council after you have made a homelessness application must be suitable. If the council has housed you in accommodation which you think is unsuitable (for example, Bed and Breakfast accommodation), you may be able to take action. However, you should get advice first. Challenging the suitability of accommodation provided by the council can be very difficult and you might risk not being offered anything else.

For more details about what could be considered suitable council accommodation, click here.

Would it be better to move?

Moving might be an option if:

  • you can’t improve or adapt your home,
  • the conditions in your home are so bad that they are affecting your health or the health of someone you live with, or,
  • your home is severely overcrowded.

If you are a council or housing association tenant, you can ask to transfer to another property or arrange to exchange your home with another council or housing association tenant.  Private tenants can apply to the council’s waiting lists (also called the ‘housing register’) for another home.

If you have somewhere to live but it is not suitable, you may be able to get help from the council as a homeless person in certain circumstances. This is particularly the case if the condition of your home means that it is not reasonable for you to live there. The council might be able to take action to help you make the property more suitable so you can continue to stay there, or, might be able to help you secure somewhere else to live. What advice and help the council can give you will depend on your circumstances.

Older or disabled people who can no longer manage in their own home may benefit from housing with extra support, such as sheltered housing. Councils, housing associations and private companies provide this.

Whether you are a home owner or a tenant you should get advice about your situation from Shelter Cymru. They will be able to go through your housing options with you and tell you what is the most appropriate course of action.

We are sorry that we cannot provide this information in Welsh, however if you would like to speak to an adviser in Welsh please contact 0345 075 5005.

Phone an adviser

If you have a housing problem, call our expert housing advice helpline
0345 075 5005

Email an adviser

If you have a non-urgent problem and would like to speak to an advisor
email us

This page was last updated on: October 17, 2018

Shelter Cymru acknowledges the support of Shelter in allowing us to adapt their content. The information contained on this site is updated and maintained by Shelter Cymru and only gives general guidance on the law in Wales. It should not be regarded or relied upon as a complete or authoritative statement of the law.