RBK Vulnerable Adults’ Housing Policy

RBK have recently produced a policy which tells you what you can expect from RBK housing services as a vulnerable adult including how a vulnerable adult may be identified. A policy summary is below, full policy can be found on the link at the bottom of the page.


Kingston Borough Council (‘the Council’) owns and manages 4,620 properties which are a mixture of general needs and homes for older people. As well as being a social housing landlord, the Council provides housing advice and assistance to residents and has a duty to prevent homelessness in the Borough. In addition, the Council seeks to improve the quality and suitability of homes in the private sector, from owner occupied homes and caravans to privately rented flats and houses in multiple occupancy. 

The Council aims to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to access and benefit from its services, but realises that for some people who use our services, barriers may exist which may prevent participation. 

The objectives of this Policy are to set out:

  • How vulnerabilities and support needs are identified and the importance of recording any vulnerability on case notes and keeping this up to date 
  • How we assist vulnerable residents and customers in accessing housing services they may need  
  • How we consider any additional needs due to  vulnerability and where appropriate vary our service delivery to ensure vulnerable residents still receive the same level of service
  • The safeguards which are in place to protect vulnerable adults  
  • How we will take account of known vulnerability factors in the provision of services and in decisions around tenancy management and enforcement
  • How Housing Services staff will signpost and refer vulnerable adults to other services and organisations, when they require additional support.  

Vulnerable adult definition

For the purpose of this Policy, a vulnerable adult is defined as:

  • Anyone aged 18 or above or aged 16/17 with a guarantor; and
  • who experiences difficulties with everyday living to the extent that they need some additional support to make sure they are not at any disadvantage and /or to sustain the occupancy of their home and maintain independence

The definition does not replace statutory definitions, for example in homelessness legislation. 

The Council recognises that someone can be vulnerable for a number of reasons, this list is not intended to be exhaustive, but these reasons may include:  

  • Mental health problems  
  • Learning disability or difficulty  
  • Sensory impairment  
  • Physical disability or illness  
  • They are frail and elderly, aged over 60   
  • They have alcohol or substance misuse problems  
  • They are an ex-offender  
  • They are experiencing domestic abuse or harassment  
  • They have left Care  
  • They have been recently bereaved
  • English is not spoken, or spoken only as a second language 
  • They are a member of the Gypsy,Roma or Traveller community
  • They were previously a member of the Armed Forces  
  • They lack capacity to make decisions for themselves (under the Mental Capacity Act 2005) 

A person may be vulnerable as a result of a single problem or condition, or due to a combination of factors. Vulnerability can also occur at different points in a person’s life, for instance someone may need support following bereavement for a temporary period, whereas another may require support permanently. 

This Policy does not assume that whole groups of people are vulnerable. For example, it is not correct to assume that all older people are vulnerable or that all disabled people are vulnerable. 

There are a number of signs that someone may be vulnerable. These may include, but are not limited to the following:  

  • Concerns about an adult whose care and support needs are not to being met  
  • Falling into rent arrears or other debt problems  
  • Issues with maintaining the tenancy  
  • Being the victim, or perpetrator, of anti-social behaviour, hate crime or harassment  
  • Disputes with neighbours  
  • Damage to the person’s home  
  • A detrimental change to a person’s physical appearance  
  • A failure to respond to correspondence or to answer the door when visited  
  • Self-neglect, hoarding or other behaviour which results in the person’s home and/or garden becoming damaged, neglected or otherwise unfit for occupation 

Legal duties and regulatory requirements 

RBK  has a duty under the Equality Act 2010 to “advance equality of opportunity between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it” but we recognise that many other residents can be vulnerable for reasons other than the characteristics protected under the equalities legislation, and this policy sets out how we define vulnerability and how we aim to respond to those customers’ needs.

Recording Information 

We will record on the database any known vulnerability, any particular communication or access needs and whether there is anyone with delegated authority to speak to us on the residents’ behalf, such as a care or support worker. This will ensure our staff will have advanced knowledge of any additional factors to consider when delivering services.

The purpose of recording this information is to ensure that when any future contact with a tenant or service user is made, there is a record of the level and type of support required to enable the member of staff to act accordingly. 

What happens when a tenant or service user is identified as needing extra support 

When a tenant or service user is identified as vulnerable (according to the Housing Services definition above) by a member of staff, that member of staff will seek to support the service user in a number of ways, which are highlighted in the Policy.

The nature of the assistance provided will depend on the level of vulnerability and the individual’s, or the household’s circumstances. Some assistance may be provided by Housing Staff directly, or via third parties (e.g. Financial Inclusion, Advice Agencies etc)

General signposting and referrals 

When a member of staff identifies someone who needs additional support  they will seek to signpost or refer the person to appropriate support if it is needed. Some of the services signposted or referred to may include for example:  

  • GPs and other health services  
  • Mental health services  
  • Adult Social Services (for care and support services or safeguarding)  
  • Floating Support Services for those struggling to live independently  
  • Support & Move On (if in Temporary Accommodation)
  • Housing Solutions (if threatened with Homelessness) 
  • Occupational Health for Aids and Adaptations 
  • Substance misuse services  
  • Domestic abuse services  
  • Debt advice and welfare benefit services  
  • Advocacy services 

It is also recognised that carers, who are caring for vulnerable people in a voluntary capacity (e.g. partner, relative or friend), may also need support in fulfilling their responsibilities and in looking after their own wellbeing. Carer’s will be signposted, wherever appropriate, for carer’s assessments and/or to other carer’s support. 

Making adjustments to service delivery arrangements 

We will use vulnerability information proactively to inform the way we deliver our services. This may include:  

  • more regular contact maintained;  
  • agreeing a nominated contact person (e.g. a carer);  
  • providing information in other formats, where agreed with the customer, that this is the most appropriate means of communication (e.g. translations, interpreters, signers, audiotapes, Braille, large print documents);  
  • allowing more time for the person to get to the telephone or door;  
  • accelerating repairs for people with particular health and/or vulnerability issues which we are working to put in place;  
  • waiving recharges for repairs in certain circumstances, with the approval of a manager;  
  • Providing an assisted bidding service for Choice Based Lettings 
  • Supporting people with benefits claims or form filling 

Community Housing

The housing community team consists of Housing Solutions and support teams and Accommodation Services team which covers:

  • Prevention of Homelessness
  • Support & Move on for those in Temporary Accommodation
  • Income Maximisation (formerly welfare reform)
  • Older and Vulnerable Persons & Resettlement Floating Support

Accommodation Services

The teams in Accommodation Services are responsible for: 

  • Property Management of Temporary Accommodation
  • Management of the Housing Register and Choice Based Lettings Scheme
  • Allocation of temporary and permanent accommodation
  • Leasing Schemes and Procurement of Temporary Accommodation

The Financial Inclusion Service

The financial Inclusion Service takes a holistic and practical approach to resolving problems and preventing homelessness by improving outcomes in a range of areas, including: managing money, claiming benefits, debt including rent arrears, 

Housing for older persons team / Careline service

The Housing Service has 8 housing schemes for older people and provides for a broad section of community needs including people who have housing issues and may require additional assistance with daily living tasks. 

The Housing Management Team

The housing management team consists of:

  • estate management team
  • housing officers
  • Anti-social behaviour Team (ASB) 
  • Domestic Abuse coordinator 

Housing Repairs and Maintenance Team

The Housing Repairs and Maintenance Team repair and renew council properties. The team  install disabled adaptations in council properties following a request from a  Kingston Occupational Therapist. 

Private Sector Housing Team

The Private Sector Housing Team aims to improve the condition of housing in the private sector in all private sector tenures (privately rented, owner occupied, housing association tenants) and housing types including traditional family homes, houses in multiple occupation (HMO) , mobile homes/caravans and houseboats.  


If a tenant or service user is not satisfied with the service they have received from the Housing Service, the Council's Corporate Complaints Procedure can be followed. 

Data protection

The UK GDPR and Data Protection Act 2018 regulate the processing of information relating to individuals, which includes the obtaining, holding, using or disclosing of such information. 

The Council needs to collect and use certain types of information about its service users in order to carry out its everyday business and to fulfil its objectives and its statutory functions. The Council’s: privacy notices sets out how it will protect special category and criminal convictions personal data; 

Equality and diversity

The Council is committed to welcoming and valuing diversity, promoting equality of opportunity and tackling unlawful discrimination in accordance with the Equality Act 2010. The Council, in delivering this Policy, will have regard to the Public Sector Equality Duty and ensure that no individual is discriminated against based on their sex, sexual orientation, marital status, pregnancy and maternity, gender reassignment, race, religion, belief, disability or age. 

The Public Sector Equality Duty is a duty on the Council and that responsibility cannot be delegated to a contractor/service provider and is a continuing duty. 

View the RBK Vulnerable Adults’ Housing Policy.

Last Modified: 24/11/2023 09:38:35