Accommodation in sheltered housing is in unfurnished properties specially designed or adapted for older people. They provide a convenient and comfortable home in a setting where tenants can continue to maintain their independence.

Sections in this guide (click title to view)

1. Sheltered housing

Sheltered housing is usually built in groups, called schemes. They provide a convenient and comfortable home in a setting where tenants can continue to maintain their independence. Tenants can come and go as they please, in an environment that is safe. Bidding for this sheltered accommodation under Choice Based Lettings.

2. Who can use this service

An applicant for sheltered housing (and your partner if you have one) must normally:

  • be aged 60 or over and retired from their lifetime employment
  • be aged 55 or over and have a disability
  • be aged 55 or over and have a mental health problem.

You must also:

  • need the security of an alarm system and the assistance of the Scheme Manager (SM)
  • be able to care for yourself with the help of community care services (such as home help or meals-on-wheels)
  • not require a high level of nursing care and domiciliary services.

A support needs assessment will take place to ensure clients requesting sheltered housing meet the eligibility requirements. With the exception of Lambeth Council tenants, a separate assessment will also take place to determine eligibility for social housing such as council or housing association accommodation.

Lambeth Council tenants should register for a transfer with their local area office before applying for sheltered housing.

Applications for nominations to extra care sheltered housing for frail older people are assessed in conjunction with Lambeth Adults’ and Community Services (ACS).
Please contact the ACS call centre on 020 7926 5555 for further information.

To apply for sheltered housing, you can contact either:

  • your local housing office
  • your doctor, home help or social worker.

Next steps

If you are accepted, you will need to bid for a property under Choice Based Lettings. If you accept the property after viewing it, you sign up for the property in the normal way.

3. Facilities in sheltered housing

Nearly all sheltered flats are one bedroom properties. There are a few two bedroom properties. All flats in one bedroom and two bedroom properties are self-contained with their own kitchen, toilet and bathroom. All sheltered flats are connected to an emergency alarm call system.

Some sheltered properties are specially designed or adapted for people with disabilities and allow wheelchair access.

Communal lounges and social activities

Most sheltered schemes have their own communal lounge for tenants to use. Tenants may just want to meet and talk over a cup of tea or arrange other social activities like bingo, darts, card games and keep fit. Tenants are encouraged to arrange these events themselves by forming committees. SM will give advice about setting up committees and organising events. Elderly people living locally are also encouraged to join in.

Special TV licence

Most sheltered schemes qualify for concessionary TV licences. We send a list of all sheltered tenants living on a scheme to the TV licensing centre. There is no need for tenants on these schemes to buy a full TV licence. Tenants should check with their SM whether they are covered under this scheme.

Guest room

Some of our sheltered schemes have a guest room. This is for friends or relatives of tenants to sleep overnight for a day or two if they are visiting. This is often used when tenants are ill and they need support for a short time, and we always give priority to these cases.

We make a small charge for the room. Although linen is often provided, visitors must bring their own towels. Visitors should leave the room clean and tidy. Some guest rooms have cooking facilities. Tenants who want to book the guest room should speak to the SM in advance.


All sheltered schemes have laundries, usually in the communal building. They have a washing machine and tumble dryer. The SM will show tenants how to use the machine. Sheltered tenants are usually given a time when they can do their washing and have sole use of the machine.

If sheltered tenants cannot do their own washing, then relatives or a home carer can use the machines to do it for them.


The rules about pets for sheltered tenants are the same as for ordinary tenants. Sheltered tenants must make sure that they arrange for proper care of any pets if they have to leave their home (to go into hospital for instance). Scheme Managers (SM) can't look after pets. If a tenant has to go into hospital, social services will put the pet with a private kennel. The tenant must repay the kennel charges when they leave hospital.

Repairs and decorations

Report any repairs in sheltered properties to the local housing office. If you have a problem reporting a repair or getting the repair done speak to your SM

Sheltered tenants are responsible for decorating the inside of their properties. If you are over 70 or disabled, and there is no other member of your family or household who can help, we will decorate a number of rooms in your home under a planned programme. Your SM can tell you how to apply for this.


Good security on sheltered schemes is in everybody's interest and sheltered tenants should follow security rules.

Sheltered tenants should not allow any person into their flat without first checking who they are. All council workers must carry identification and tenants should insist on seeing this. If tenants are in any doubt, they should refuse entry and contact their SM.

Tenants should keep their front doors closed and only use chains on the inside when they are opening the door. If sheltered tenants leave their chains on all the time, this could stop us getting in quickly in an emergency. Tenants should not leave their windows open at night or when they are away.

Entry phone systems

Some sheltered schemes have entry phone systems and the SM will show tenants how to use this. Entry phones give better security to the tenants by stopping unwelcome visitors. Before allowing entry to anybody, tenants should check their identity first. If tenants are in doubt, they should not let the person in and contact their SM


If a sheltered tenant wants to leave their belongings to anyone, then they should think about making a will. Council staff are not allowed to advise you about this but the local Citizens' Advice Bureau can help or will put you in touch with a solicitor.

If tenants want to leave special instructions about their funeral, they should do this in writing. They should leave the instructions with the person the tenant has agreed will act for them when they die. The SM needs to know how to contact this person. The information is kept on the tenant's confidential file.

4. Lambeth community alarm services and emergencies

The emergency alarm system in every sheltered tenant's property and common area gives a direct voice link to the Scheme Manager (SM).

When the Scheme Manager (SM) is off duty the the emergency call goes straight through to Careline - the Lambeth community alarm service. The officers from Careline are trained to deal with your call. In the absence of the Scheme Manager (SM), if the emergency needs a visit, the Careline staff will visit the sheltered scheme and deal with the problem directly.

The alarm system is for emergencies only, not for general enquiries that can wait for the return of the Scheme Manager (SM)

Entering your property

Under normal circumstances, nobody can enter your property without your permission. But sometimes (a serious fall or illness for instance), it may be necessary to enter the tenant's property to help them. A spare set of every tenant's keys are kept locked in a safe in the SM's office for emergencies. The Careline officers also have access to this safe.

Sheltered tenants are asked not to put extra locks and bolts on their front doors without talking to the SM first. If there are extra locks, and no key is given to the SM, it could waste vital time if they have to try and force entry.

Regular checks to emergency systems

SM's regularly check the emergency alarm system and the smoke alarms linked to it for faults. Of course, we expect tenants to let the SM in for this check.

5. Sheltered tenants

Sheltered tenants have the same secure tenancies as other council tenants. However, there are a few differences:

  • Sheltered tenants cannot buy their properties under the government's `right to buy' law.
  • Sheltered tenants will not normally be able to pass on or assign their tenancy. But we may allow a succession of tenancy in special cases.
  • Sheltered tenants must make sure that no paraffin, petroleum, bottled gas or any heater that burns these fuels is used or stored in their property.

6. Sheltered Manager Service

Scheme Manager (SM) are practical and understanding people who are familiar with the problems faced by older people. The SM, together with the Lambeth community alarm services, provide cover 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year. All staff members are trained in first aid, and can call tenants' relatives, doctors or other professional help when needed.

The Scheme Manager's duties

The SM checks each tenant, Monday to Friday to make sure that they are ok. We expect sheltered tenants to co-operate with the SM by accepting daily calls. If tenants go away from their property, they must tell the SM.

The SM works normal office hours, Monday to Friday and can be contacted within this time, after this time the tenant can contact Careline 24 in the event of an emergency. They get to know the tenants living on their sheltered scheme. The SM's first duty is to help and encourage elderly tenants to lead independent lives.

Confidential records

We keep confidential records, so that we can contact relatives in an emergency. This information is important. Such information includes contact addresses and phone numbers (for example, doctor, next of kin, friends and relatives).

These records may also have information about any medical condition a tenant has. This information could be vital in an emergency. Sheltered tenants must tell the SM about any changes of information.

General enquiries and day-to-day problems

The SM is trained to advise on day-to-day problems sheltered tenants have. They can give information about services that the tenant could get: for example, home care, meals on wheels, welfare benefits.

Sheltered tenants are encouraged to help each other with everyday tasks as good neighbours. SM's are not responsible for looking after sheltered tenants' valuables or money.

Social activities may be arranged by the SM or by the tenants themselves. No sheltered tenant is forced to take part, the choice is theirs.

If sheltered tenants have personal problems or general enquiries, and have no close friends or family who can help, very often the SM can point them in the right direction. You can speak to the SM in confidence. If the SM thinks the problem is something they can't deal with, they will make sure that the right person or department are contacted.

The Scheme Manager (SM) can:

  • be with you quickly in an emergency
  • offer first aid and get medical help
  • offer a sympathetic and listening ear
  • help organise social events
  • help tenants to find help to deal with any problem they have.

What Scheme Manager (SM) do not do

  • act as a nurse
  • give domestic help (except in an emergency)
  • take responsibility for your valuables, money or your personal finances.

SM's are not there to act as nurses or to do cleaning, shopping or collecting pensions for tenants. If a tenant needs this help, we expect relatives and friends to help them. Social Services may be able to help if the tenant does not have this support available.

If a tenant has a problem but it is not an emergency, then it should wait until the SM comes back on duty. If it is an emergency, sheltered tenants should pull their emergency cord and ask Careline 24 to help them.

7. Sheltered housing schemes in Lambeth

We manage 20 sheltered housing schemes across Lambeth.

All schemes are blocks of self contained flats or bungalows to rent. Tenants have their own front door and live independent

Scheme Manager (SM) provide support to help people live independently.

To apply telephone 020 7926 6000.

If you are already a tenant of Lambeth Council please contact your local housing office.

Brixton/ Herne Hill

Matlock Close - 23 flats
Herne Hill
Telephone: 020 7346 6876

113 Norwood Rd - 20 flats
Herne Hill
SE24 9AE
Telephone: 020 8683 9620

Fitch Court - 34 flats
Effra Road
Telephone: 020 7737 1131

Crowhurst Close - 28 flats
Loughborough Road
Telephone: 020 7737 9140


Carfax Place - 35 flats
Clapham Common
Telephone: 020 7819 5000

Heather Close - 30 flats
Heath Road
Telephone: 020 7627 9540

Gipsy Hill

Queenswood Court - 29 flats
Hamilton Road
SE27 9SH
Telephone: 020 8766 5050

Northwood House - 50 flats
Hamilton Road
West Norwood
SE27 9SL
Telephone: 020 8766 9100


Holland Grove - 28 flats
Telephone: 020 7091 1500

Cloisters - 45 flats
Melbourne Mews
Myatts Field
Telephone: 020 7582 6214


Macintosh Court 269 Leigham Court Road - 44 flats
SW16 2SB
Telephone: 020 8696 7800

Nuneham - 30 flats
Garrads Road
SW16 1JY
020 8835 7160

The Glebe - 34 flats
Prentis Road
SW16 1QR
Telephone: 020 8696 7420

Spa Court - 30 flats
Well Close
Valley Road
SW16 2AH
Telephone: 020 8696 7860

Cherry Tree Drive - 40 flats
Leigham Avenue SW16 2PE
Telephone: 020 8835 7100


Castle House - 29 flats
Wilcox Close
Telephone: 020 7627 9410


Burchell House - 37 flats
Vauxhall Gardens Estate
SE11 5LF
Telephone: 020 7793 3110


Chaplin Close - 28 flats
Gray Street
Telephone: 020 7921 9520

West Norwood

Balmoral Court - 30 flats
Gipsy Road
SE27 9UF
Telephone: 020 8766 9200

Joe Hunte Court - 28 flats
St Vincent Close, Knights Hill
Telephone: 020 8766 9240