Looking after your property and pets if you are in hospital or residential care

If you have been admitted to hospital or residential care in an emergency, you may not have been able to arrange for your property or pets to be cared for. We can help.

Sometimes people are admitted to hospital or residential care in an emergency and have not been able to arrange for their property or pets to be cared for. If this happens and you do not have anyone who is willing or able to look after your property or pets, we can help you.

We have a duty under the Care Act 2014 to protect any moveable property, if we think, there is a risk that your property might be lost or damaged. Moveable property includes pets as well as personal property, such as valuable personal possessions.

Looking after your home

Normally a stay in hospital or a move into residential or nursing care is planned in advance.   If you are going into hospital or have a planned temporary stay in a care home and need help with making arrangements for your pets or your property, you can discuss this with your health or social care worker. If you do not have a health or social care worker, you can contact the council’s adults social care service on 01642 771500.

How we protect your property and pets

Usually, a member of our property and financial affairs team will need to go into your home to protect your property.

For example, we may need to:

  • switch off electrical or gas appliances
  • make sure that all of the doors and windows are locked
  • temporarily re-home your pet
  • remove your valuables, cash or bank books for safekeeping.

If we need to visit your home, your health or social care worker will talk to you about it first.  When we visit, there will always be at least two members of staff and they will carry a letter with them that shows they have authorisation to be there.

If we remove any items from your home we will store them in a safe or in a locked cupboard and will keep a record of the items that we are safekeeping for you. We will also keep your key until you return home.

If you cannot find your key, we will arrange for a locksmith to visit your property to change the locks. We will keep your new key safe until you return home.

We will look after your home and pet until you can return home or make other arrangements. If you are unable to return home, your health or social care worker will talk to you, or to someone who is authorised to act on your behalf, to agree what to do with your property.

Provide consent

If you need us to help look after your home or pet, you will need to sign a consent form to show that you have given us permission to enter your property.

If you are too poorly or lack capacity to make a decision, and do not have anyone else who can act on your behalf, a social worker will make a decision in your best interest.


Sometimes we will have to pay to protect your property or look after your pets. This could be for secure storage or locksmith costs or for boarding or vet fees for your pet.  If we have to pay something on your behalf, we will send you an invoice to cover the costs. We will talk to you about it first, and if you are concerned about paying, you can speak to your health or social care worker.

For further information please read our guide to looking after your property and animals if you are in hospital or residential care.