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How to find housing to meet your needs

When you live with a muscle wasting condition, it’s important to live in suitable housing. It’s a key part of independence, your overall wellbeing and quality of life, but it can be a challenge finding the right sort of home.

If your current home isn’t suitable for your needs, or it can’t support the adaptations you need, then you may want to consider moving to a new property. If you live in a home provided by the council, you would need to contact them and make a request. If you own your own property, contact your council to request a Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) for adaptations.

Things to consider if you are moving home

If you’re thinking of moving to a more suitable home for your needs, here’s what you need to consider:

  • Are you getting the financial support you’re entitled to? Check what you may be eligible for by using a free, online benefits calculator. They will tell you what benefits you could get and how to claim them – you’ll also see if you’re currently getting the right benefits.
  • Whether you are entitled to further financial support, depending on your circumstances. For example, discretionary housing and budgeting loans.
  • Is there a housing charity to help you explore suitable housing options locally? They may also be able to advocate on your behalf too.

It can be challenging to find a home that is right for you and your family

We’re aware there is a significant shortage of homes, and often the demand for housing outweighs supply. This means you may have to wait a long time for a suitable property to become available.

We’ve included many different housing options to help you find a suitable home for your needs.

Housing options

Social housing

Local councils or housing associations provide social housing. A housing association is a non-profit organisation that provides homes to individuals with particular needs, such as health conditions or disabilities. Social tenants rent their homes from their local council or housing association. There are some differences between council housing and housing association properties, such as tenancy agreements and rights to the property. But social housing provides access to more affordable housing than private renting options, as well as a more secure tenancy. The housing association or council would be your landlord and because they manage the property too, they’ll be responsible for maintenance and repairs.

Council housing

You can apply for council housing through your local council. Each council has its own application process. For most councils, you can apply to the housing register online, or you can contact the council’s housing department directly. You need to be 18 or older to be eligible to apply for council housing, although some councils will accept applications from those who are 16 and over, depending on individual circumstances.

Each council will have their own eligibility criteria to go on to the register; this could be, for example, a local connection to the area. However, there may be circumstances where you don’t meet the full eligibility criteria, but you may have special circumstances. In these cases, we’d advise you to contact your local council’s housing team directly.

The process is different for individuals who are currently homeless or are at risk of becoming homeless.

The information you provide during the application process will help the council decide on your eligibility for council housing, but also your priority on the waiting list. If you need to move home because of a health condition or disability, the council can give you priority based on medical grounds.

The medical grounds could include, for example:

  • If the health condition or disability of anyone in your household is made worse by your living conditions
  • If anyone in your household has mobility difficulties that mean they struggle to get around your home.

This is not an exhaustive list. You can find out more from your local council’s or housing association’s allocation policy, which will detail who gets priority and for what reasons.

Because muscle wasting conditions are rare, your local council may have limited knowledge and understanding of how your condition can affect you. So, it’s important to give your council as much information as you can about how your muscle wasting condition affects your day to day living.

If you have to move home because of a disability or a medical condition and you’re applying to the local council and/ or housing associations, they will usually ask for medical supporting letters to go with your application. You could ask a healthcare professional from the below list to support you:

  • Neurologist
  • Specialist nurse
  • Care advisor
  • Social worker
  • Physiotherapist
  • Occupational therapist
  • GP

Supporting letters from healthcare professionals can help get your application in the correct priority group, making it more likely that a suitable property will become available sooner.

Once your local authority has accepted your application for council housing, they will usually place you on their waiting list. They will put applications in order of who needs a home most urgently. Each local council will have their own allocation policy, which you can find on your council’s website.

You can also apply for housing through your local council. If you are unsure which council you fall under, you can use this tool to find out.

Housing associations

Housing association properties are available to people on low incomes or with additional needs, such as a medical condition or disability. Housing associations offer similar types of housing to those of local councils. You can apply either directly to the housing association or through your local council, and you can apply to more than one housing association at a time.

We recommend exploring all suitable housing options in your local area and applying to all of the ones that meet your needs. This will give you more options and make it more likely a property will become available sooner.

Swapping your home

Another housing option that you might want to consider is swapping your current home for a home more suitable for your needs. HomeSwapper is a mutual exchange service with over 500,000 tenants, looking to swap Council and Housing Association homes.

How to appeal a decision on your housing application

If you think the decision made about your social housing application is wrong, you can challenge this by asking for a review.

You can challenge on the grounds of, for example:

  • if you’ve been told you’re not eligible to be placed on the waiting list
  • if you think the priority you have been given doesn’t match the urgency of your needs.

If you can show that the council’s decision is wrong, they could change their initial decision. Read the decision letter or email closely, to see if there’s a deadline by which you need to ask for a review. If you need support to challenge a housing application decision, your local Citizens Advice can help you.


If you’re homeless or are going become homeless within eight weeks or less, your local council must help you.

The council must give you emergency housing if you are homeless and have a priority need, such as a disability or medical condition. You’ll need to tell the council about your disability and how it affects you or your family member. You can find out more about what help is available if you’re homeless and have a disability here. Or you can contact the housing charity, Shelter if you need further help.

Private housing options

Private housing options could include:

  • Renting privately or from a letting agency
  • Buying your own home.

Renting from a private owner or letting agency

Renting from a private owner or from a letting agency may be an appropriate option for you. However, you may need to consider that private rented accommodation often offers limited security in terms of tenancy and you would usually need the owner’s permission to carry out adaptations in the home

Buying your own home

Buying your own home, if you live with a muscle wasting condition, can give you greater independence. You can choose where and how you want to live, and you may be able to adapt your home to suit your needs. If you’re buying your own home, it may be useful to discuss your needs with an occupational therapist. You can also access a copy of our ‘Adaptations Manual’ to support you through the process. Get in touch with your local council who can put you in touch with occupational therapy services.

If you’re considering buying a new home, you can apply for various grants and schemes, depending on where you live. You may also apply for grants for adaptations to your home.

Help with buying a home


Home ownership for people with long-term disabilities (HOLD)

The HOLD scheme can help to buy any home for sale on a shared ownership basis (part-rent/part-buy).

My Safe Home

My Safe Home provides support to people with a disability who want to buy their own home. Available to individuals in receipt of the daily living component of Personal Independence Payments (PIP).


Help to Buy

Help to Buy Wales provides a shared equity loan to buyers of new-build homes. The scheme supports the purchase of homes up to £250,000 from a participating builder.

My Safe Home

My Safe Home provides support to people with a disability who want to buy their own home. Available to individuals in receipt of the daily living component of Personal Independence Payments (PIP).


The Open Market Shared Equity (OMSE) scheme

If you cannot afford the full price of a home for sale in the open market, you may be able to get help through the OMSE scheme.

Help to buy

Help to Buy provides support to individuals who want to buy a new-build home and can’t afford the total cost. It’s available to both first-time buyers and existing homeowners, and can help with up to 15 percent of the purchase price of a new-build home.

New Supply Shared Equity (NSSE) scheme

NSSE provides support if you want to buy a new-build home from a housing association or local council but can’t afford the total cost.

The Scheme of Assistance

The Scheme of Assistance is a system of financial and non-financial help that local authorities can provide for private housing, which is in disrepair or below the tolerable standard, or needs to be adapted because a person is disabled.

Low-cost Initiative for First Time Buyers (LIFT)

The LIFT scheme helps buyers on low to moderate income buy a home by providing applicants who are eligible with funding towards the cost of a property.

Northern Ireland

Low Cost Home Ownership Schemes

There are several schemes in Northern Ireland to help you purchase a home. These include the house sales scheme, equity sharing and Northern Ireland Co-Ownership scheme.

This list is not exhaustive, and you may be able to apply for other schemes and grants, depending on your circumstances and where you live.

Need further housing support?

Here are some organisations you can contact for further support with housing:


Shelter England


Tel: 0808 800 4444 (urgent housing queries such as homelessness, or if you are at risk of harm)

Citizens Advice


Tel: 0800 144 8848

Relay UK: If you can’t hear or speak on the phone, you can type what you want to say to 18001 then 0800 144 8848


Shelter Wales


Tel: 08000 495 495

Citizens Advice Wales


Tel: 0800 702 2020

Community Housing Cymru


Tel: 029 2067 4810


Shelter Scotland


Tel: 0808 800 4444 (urgent housing queries such as homelessness, or if you are at risk of harm)

Citizens Advice Scotland


Tel: 0800 028 1456

Housing Options


Tel: 0131 247 1400

Northern Ireland

Shelter Northern Ireland


Tel: 028 9024 7752


Community Northern Ireland


Tel: 028 9026 2532

Housing Rights


Tel: 028 9024 5640

Textphone: 028 9026 7927

Legal advice relating to housing matters

We’re unable to provide legal advice relating to housing matters. If you wish to seek legal advice, you may wish to get in touch with any of the organisations listed below.

Disability Law Service


Tel: 0207 791 9800


Civil Legal Advice


Tel: 0345 345 4345

Law Centres


Law Centre Northern Ireland Web:

Tel: 028 9024 4401

Shelter England and Wales


Shelter Scotland


Citizens Advice England and Wales


Tel (England): 0800 144 8848

Tel (Wales): 0800 702 2020

Citizens Advice Scotland


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