In the UK, there are over 11 million people with long- term illness, impairment or disability.
A person has a disability if:
a) a person has a physical or mental impairment, and
b) the impairment has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on persons’ ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.’
The most commonly-reported impairments are those that affect their mobility, lifting or carrying. The prevalence of disability rises with age: 6% of children, 16% of working age adults, and 45% of adults over State Pension age.
Disability Rights UK
Disabled people face problems in finding adequate housing, and this is a major barrier to independent living.
Independent living is a human right and is possible through the combination of various environmental and individual factors that allow persons with disabilities to control their own lives. This may include the opportunity to make their own choices and decisions regarding where to live and with whom.
People should freely enjoy their most fundamental rights and to live independently in the community as affirmed in Article 19 of the UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities.
In England, with a shortage of accessible housing, disabled people face problems in finding adequate housing, and this is a major barrier to independent living. Many disabled citizens are on the waiting list for housing and are often forced to resort to an accommodation that may cause distress or discomfort.
Although the gap in non-decent accommodation has closed over recent years, 33% of households with a disabled person are still living in non-decent accommodation.
Many disabled people are forced to live in closed and inadequate institutions subject to inhuman and degrading treatment and are unable to exercise fundamental
The Equality Act 2010
The Equality Act 2010 was introduced to protect ‘people from discrimination in the workplace and in wider society’.
If a disabled person wants to rent or is looking for a place to rent, they might have a right to changes that will help them live there with their disability. The Equality Act 2010 calls these changes ‘reasonable adjustments.’ It’s covered in sections 20, 21 and 36 and Schedules 4 and 5 of the Equality Act 2010.
The Equality Act 2010 doesn’t apply in Northern Ireland. Instead, the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) apply.
However, since there exist different varieties of disabilities, discrimination covers everything from wheelchair users, sight and hearing difficulties but also any other type of disabilities.
As a Landlord, you have a duty to make reasonable adjustments. Failure to comply with a duty to make reasonable adjustments may be discrimination.
Adapting homes for disabled people
Make sure the home is warm, safe and secure. Disabled tenants may ask for a reasonable adjustment of policies, practices or terms of their agreement.
If a tenant asks to make adaptations, they have to make a request in writing, and any request must be ‘reasonable’.
Although there are certain obligations on a landlord to make adaptations, it doesn’t include removing or altering what’s defined as a physical feature of the property.
However, to make it easier for them to live in the property, you have an obligation to provide them with what’s called ‘auxiliary aids and services. Take reasonable steps to provide auxiliary aid if it put at a substantial disadvantage compared with those who are not disabled. It can mean providing extra equipment or support, like:
• A ramp for ease of wheelchair use
• A suitable entry system (visual entry system, phone system etc.)
• Making changes to furniture and provide special furnishings in the property
Exception of ‘Reasonable adjustments’
However, there are a few exceptions you should be aware of:
- The law does not require a landlord to do anything that would involve removing or altering a physical feature.
- If the landlord or his/ her family live in the same property and share a bathroom or kitchen with the tenant, a tenant will not be covered by the Equality Act 2010.
Finding a suitable rental property for a disabled person
Looking for a disabled-friendly home that will give you independence and freedom?
If you are looking for a new accommodation, we will advise you to first answer the following questions:
1. Where you want to live?
-Do you have a particular place you would like to live? and is a good public transportation link to a particular place important to you?
2. What are you needs?
-Do you have any particular requirements, like a property with full wheelchair access, a bathroom adapted for accessibility, or a dedicated parking space nearby?
Once you have this information, communication is important so we, as an estate agent, can get a good understanding of your needs to further assist you.
Disability rights UK- What Landlords should know
It is important to follow these rules in order to avoid discrimination against disabled tenants, which is against the law.
• you cannot refuse to rent your home to a tenant because they are disabled.
• you cannot refuse a disable tenant to keep a guide dog or any other assistance dog
• you cannot charge a higher deposit or rent than you would do from other tenants
• you cannot include any terms in a tenancy agreement that you would generally not include to a non-disabled tenant.
It is therefore important for a Landlord to make sure that the tenant is safe and provide a comfortable living as possible.
If you are planning to let your property to a disabled tenant, it might be necessary to do some adjustment. According to the Equality Act 2010, these adjustments are landlords’ responsibilities.
Since both the nature and severity of individual disabilities will vary among prospective tenants, as well as the standard of accommodation, the number of alterations will vary from place to place. However, it may also be necessary to do some further alterations later on during the tenancy, if the circumstances of the current tenant have changed.
To cover these costs, the Landlord can apply for a
Each application is subject to an eligibility test to assess whether the work is appropriate and can be accomplished.
It seems still to exist a lack of homes that offer independent living for disabled people. By renting out to disabled people, landlords and tenants may mutual benefit.
Disabled people are in need of disability-friendly housing with a decent affordable standard of living, while landlords will be renting out properties to people who are struggling to find somewhere to live – with a high potential of becoming long-term tenancies.
For more information, contact Abito Homes today.