2. Looking after your property if you are in hospital or residential care
Normally when you go in to hospital or residential care the care of your property is planned out.
Your relatives or friends will take care of your house, pets and bills until you come home or until other arrangements are made for you.
The Council's involvement
If Oldham Council is involved in your care and not happy with the arrangements for the protection of your property, we will get help from our Client Finance Officer.
Oldham Council has a duty to make sure that your property is looked after and protected in the short-term if you are:
- Admitted to hospital, or
- Admitted to residential care arranged by Oldham Council, or
- Removed from your home to anywhere else (under section 47 of the Care Act 2014)
You've been admitted to hospital or residential care
After you have been taken into hospital or a residential home a member of staff from Oldham Council’s Financial Team will visit your home.
If there are no problems with your property (like the need to arrange cleaning or fumigation) the Financial Team will:
- Remove perishables (such as food)
- Remove medication
- Complete an inventory of the contents of large items, such as furniture
- Take photographs of the property where needed
- Remove small portable valuable items such as bank books, cash, wills, jewellery, insurance policies, credit and debit cards.
The items listed below are normally safe in your property and will not be removed
- Miscellaneous papers
- Birth certificates
- Death certificates
- Items of furniture
Home security and safety while you're away
Once a basic search has taken place, a member of staff from the Financial Team will visit regularly and make routine security checks.
They will also let people from the gas or electricity boards in, if needed.
Services like gas, electric and water may be cut off if necessary.
The police will be told that no one is living in your home and that Oldham Council are looking after it and the police will be asked to keep an eye on your house.
Animals are taken into boarding homes until the owner comes home, or other arrangements can be made.
You will have to pay for the cost of the boarding home, but the Council can pay this on your behalf for up to 13 weeks and claim this back from you. If you have pet insurance it may cover you for this too. Please check with your insurer for details.
If you are away from home for more than 13 weeks other arrangements will have to be made. If this is the case your care manager will go through other arrangements.
Taking valuables to hospital
Property should be handed into the Patient’s Welfare Officer who will keep your valuables safe while you stay in hospital.
They will give you a receipt and will give you your property back when you are discharged from hospital.
Paying bills while you're in hospital
A member from Oldham Council financial team will arrange for any of your bills to be paid where possible. This will normally be from your own funds.
How long is property protected for?
Oldham Council will protect your property either until you return home or until other arrangements are made for you.
If you return home you will be asked to sign a receipt to get your belongings back and your property will be handed back to you.
If you are not able to return home you will have to decide what to do with your property. A solicitor or relative can help you decide.
If you lack the ability to make that decision, a decision may be made in your best Interest under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 and appropriate legal authority obtained to deal with your property.
You may have to pay for the work Oldham Council have to do to secure and look after your property whilst you are in hospital or residential care.
You will have to pay the fees in full for your pet/s to be looked after in a boarding home whilst you are in hospital or residential care.
The council will charge a fee of £584.23 to complete an inventory of the property and ensure it is secure.
Storage of property is free for the first 28 days.
If your property has to be held for longer than 28 days, you will have to pay an annual storage charge of £63.00.