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Visit different schemes and gather as much information as possible before you decide on a particular sheltered housing provider.
It is always valuable to have a chat with residents too as they will give you their views and experiences.
Below is a checklist that will remind you about the sort of questions you should ask or the information you should consider before choosing sheltered housing. You may have different priorities or have questions of your own.
Costs and Contracts
How much is the service charge and how is it worked out?
What is included and are there any anticipated increases?
Who is responsible for repairs, maintenance and improvements?
Are there any charges for ground rent and insurance?
What charges would you be responsible for?
Are there any special clauses which could terminate the lease?
It will be important for you to know about these.
If you are buying the property, what happens if you want to sell it later?
What happens if you need more care or support later on?
Facilities and Services
What is the accommodation like?
Is there enough room for any furniture you’d like to take and is the amount of storage space adequate?
Does the housing suit your mobility needs?
Are the doorways wide enough for a walking frame or wheelchair?
Is there a lift?
Are the light switches, electricity sockets and door handles in easy reach?
Ask if it is all right for you to make minor adaptations: for example, putting in a hand rail or ramp.
Is a cooker or fridge provided, or do you have to bring your own?
What type of heating system is there, how does it work, how is it controlled and how do you pay for it?
Can you take a pet into your new home?
Are there parking spaces that can be used by you and/or visitors?
Are there any private garages and if so, what is the cost of having one?
What communal facilities are there and are they well kept?
Is there a garden? What laundry facilities are available?
Check to make sure that you are happy with the machines and the way they work.
Is there a guest room and will a charge be made for using it?
Do many social events which are organised by residents or the manager of the scheme take place?
Is there a residents’ association?
Are there local amenities nearby, such as shops, transport, libraries, post offices, doctors, churches and pubs?
Are visiting health services available, such as chiropodists and community nurses?
Safety and Security
What does the warden or scheme manager do?
Is there 24-hour cover? How do you alert the warden in an emergency?
Ask to see the alarm system working.
What will happen if your health changes and you need more care than an alarm service and a warden can provide?
Are security devices fitted on windows and doors?
For example, is there a spy hole and chain on the door and are there locks on the windows (especially important if the accommodation is on the ground floor)?
Is there a communal entrance door?
What security arrangements have been provided?
You can print out this handy sheet and add in questions of your own so you can take it with you when you are visiting various homes.