Orkney Islands Council
Working together for a better Orkney

Sheltered Housing

This page provides guidance on our lettings policy in respect of sheltered housing and is intended to supplement our leaflet called ‘house letting’.

Orkney Islands Council offers housing for particular needs. This includes:

  • Sheltered Housing
  • Extra Care Housing
  • Supported Housing

Separate leaflets are available on each type of housing. This leaflet focuses on sheltered housing.

The Service

Sheltered housing is supplied by a warden service which offers low level housing support including:

  • Providing a range of housing management welfare services to tenants including a daily welfare check.
  • Providing a care taking service within the sheltered housing scheme.
  • Responding to a crisis or emergency outside normal working hours when available.
  • Carrying out various administrative duties.
  • Any other duties relevant to the provision of a housing support service as required.

A written support plan between the Council and the tenant will be agreed at the start of the tenancy and will be reviewed whenever the tenant’s needs change or at least 6 monthly. These reviews can be held in a formal manner or on a more informal level with relevant individuals. Tenants’ wishes will be fully taken into account in all such matters.

Separate services may be available on a needs basis and a separate fee may apply. This may include frozen meals, cleaning and telecare / telehealth.


We provide sheltered housing at two separate locations in Orkney. These are as follows:

  • Lambaness, Kirkwall 14 bungalows.
  • Rae’s Close, Stromness 15 properties (9 bungalows and 6 flats).

Our sheltered housing consists of a group of small (either 1 or 2 apartment), easy to manage properties, grouped together in a scheme with the services of a warden or housing support worker. All properties are provided with a community alarm system for use in emergencies.


The service is regulated by the Care Inspectorate. All warden staff have had Protection for Vulnerable Groups checks. Confidentiality is a key requirement on site and tenants are assured that they will be treated with utmost respect and dignity at all times.

How to apply

Prospective tenants can apply directly to Housing Services. If you prefer, staff from Housing Services can visit you at your current home, explain the application process and assist you to complete the necessary forms.

If you would like further details of Orkney Islands Council’s Lettings Policy and Procedures, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will be pleased to assist with your request.


Sheltered housing is available to individuals who have been assessed as having low dependency.

Sheltered housing can provide support for individuals / couples who:

  • Are aged 65 years or over (being the current retirement age), and
  • Have a housing need;
  • Have a need for the community alarm service;
  • Have an IoRN* classification that indicates a low dependency (that is IoRN A – C).

* The Indicator of Relative Need (IoRN) scale is a nationally recognised tool for assessing an individual’s abilities in respect of independent living in relation to health, social, mental and physical needs. This assessment will be undertaken by Orkney Health and Care.

In exceptional circumstances consideration will be given to housing someone below age 65 who otherwise meets the criteria.

Places will be determined by a panel who consider whether the individual’s care and support needs can be met by a placing in sheltered housing or whether a more appropriate option is available.

Eligibility - Household Size

Our Lettings Policy covers the Council’s rules governing the match between property and household size and these are as follows:

  • Single person – 1 / 2 apartment dwelling.
  • Single persons wishing to share – 3 apartment.
  • Couple – 2 / 3 apartment (not with boxroom as well).
  • Applicant(s) with one child – 3 apartment.
  • Applicant(s) with 2 children – 3 / 4 apartment.
  • Applicant(s) with 3+ children – 4 / 5 apartment.

Please note apartment size includes living room therefore a two apartment house is a one bedroom property with a living room.

Allocation of Tenancies

When an application form is received, Housing Services will ensure that supporting information is received in the form of a medical assessment form and a single shared assessment. Accordingly the household will be awarded a priority pass under the terms of the Lettings Policy for Housing for Particular Needs.

When a vacancy occurs, an allocation panel will meet to decide who should be offered a tenancy. Using information from the housing application and the single shared assessment the panel will consider whether the services offered in respect of sheltered housing meet the individual’s current and anticipated housing and support needs. Where there is more than one applicant for a vacancy, the priority pass and the single shared assessment are used to determine who has the greatest priority for housing. An individual’s community care and support needs are however likely to be the deciding factor in each allocation decision.

An allocation decision will be agreed by consensus between Housing and Orkney Health and Care.

Tenancy Agreements

Tenants will be granted a Scottish Secure Tenancy.


Rent is charged on the basis of property size and type and more detail is provided in our Rent Setting Policy.

Depending on your financial circumstances you may be entitled to housing benefit to help with the cost of the rental charge. Staff will be pleased to assist with the completion of any benefits claims forms.

Currently a charge of £1 per week applies in respect of the housing support service.

In the event that the member of the household who has the support need is no longer part of the household, the remaining household members may benefit from the removal grant scheme. This is an incentive scheme which is intended to offer some financial assistance towards moving into a smaller property or one without special features for those with particular needs.

Further Information

Housing application packs for extra care housing are available from Customer Services, Orkney Islands Council and the Warehouse Building, Stromness. In addition our housing application forms can be downloaded from the 'Related Links' section of this page.

If you wish to seek further information please contact one of the following:

Housing Management Section

Housing Management Section, Housing Services, Orkney Islands Council, School Place, Kirkwall.

Telephone: 01856873535

E-mail: allocations@orkney.gov.uk

Homelessness and Advice Section

Housing Services, Orkney Islands Council, School Place, Kirkwall

Telephone: 01856873535.

E-mail: homelessness@orkney.gov.uk

Citizen’s Advice Bureau

Anchor Buildings, Bridge Street, Kirkwall.

Telephone: 01856875266.

Orkney Health and Care

School Place, Kirkwall.

Telephone: 01856873535.

Related Links