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There’s a shortage of properties for disabled tenants – can landlords do anything about it?

2-minute read

There’s a shortage of properties for disabled tenants – can landlords do anything about it?
Mollie Millman

Mollie Millman

8 May 2019

Landlords who rent to disabled tenants will need to consider a range of factors. But if they get it right, an adapted property could end up in high demand.

Issues to think about range from legal requirements to making sure that the property has the right facilities and accessibility.

First, there’s the legal stuff, which is based on The Equality Act 2010. This was introduced to protect “people from discrimination in the workplace and in wider society”.

What is the definition of ‘disability’?

The Equality Act 2010 defines having a ‘disability’ as a physical or mental impairment, which would have a “substantial and long-term adverse effect” on a person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

It’s illegal for a landlord to discriminate against a disabled tenant, and it’s possible you’ll need to make a number of alterations to your property if the situation arises.

These may include:

  • providing a ramped approach to the main entrance
  • door widths that accommodate wheelchairs
  • light switches that can be reached by someone in a wheelchair

The cost of these alterations may set alarm bells ringing for landlords as they could cost tens of thousands of pounds – or more, depending on the property.

But there are grants available to landlords

Landlords might be able to apply for grants to help with these costs, provided by local councils. However, a landlord may decide to cover the costs themselves.

For example, local councils may provide a ‘disabilities facilities grant’ to help cover the cost of the adjustments.

But if they're too expensive, there may be a case for not doing them.

While landlords do need to make reasonable adjustments, they can refuse to carry them out based on what is known as ‘objective justification’. For example, this could be if the adjustments needed are too expensive.

Adapted homes are ‘sought-after commodities’

Ultimately, landlords who face the prospect of adapting a property could end up better off.

This is because experts suggest that the shortage of rental properties available to those with a disability means that once a property is adapted, it will be in high demand.

David Cox of ARLA Propertymark said: “If you have a disabled person and can get the grant then it’s a good idea because they may stay in the property longer and having an adapted property is a sought-after commodity for other disabled tenants.”

Have you ever adapted your property? Let us know about your experience in the comments below.

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