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Disabled Home letting: A Handy Guide

There are several key benefits for both tenants and landlords, when equipping a house with access for the disabled. One of these is that disable people will be afforded a good standard of living. The other is that landlords may find that by equipping their home, they’ll be in a position to offer prospective disabled tenants a place to live when listing it via an online property agent, which could lead to much longer tenancies.

There are a number of factors which need to be considered here – which range from legalities to providing the correct facilities in terms of accessibility. If you’d like to know more about equipping your property for disabled access, why not have a read of our handy little guide.

Disability Housing Rights

The Equality Act 2010 was established to safeguard people from discrimination in the workplace and in wider society’. It also helped define “disability.” According to the act, an individual has a disability if they:

a: Have a physical or mental impairment

b) The impairment has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

The the Equality Act 2010 does not apply to Northern Ireland, who use the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) instead. Both, however share common principles and both also apply to the rental sector. It is illegal for a landlord to discriminate against a tenant who is disabled, and more information on this is available via Shelter. The protection these acts provide extends into the rental sector and subsequently provisions must be made to ensure that a property meets these standards.

What You’ll Need to Have in Place

If you’re a landlord who is looking to provide housing for disabled tenants, then there are fair few things to consider as well as several key alterations you will have to make to the property. These may include:

  • Level, solid pathways and approaches to allow access to the property
  • Ramped access to the main door
  • 750mm+ door widths to allow wheelchair access
  • Door handles and switches placed at a height between 750mm and 1200mm
  • Bedrooms, lounges, kitchens, DD complaint toilets and wet-rooms placed at ground level
  • Citizens advice also offers some more suggestions regarding documentation relating to the property.
  • If a tenant is visually impaired, a copy of the tenancy agreement on an accessible format like a CD
  • Changes to the tenancy agreement to allow for guide dogs

Housing Adaptations for the Disabled

Landlords often decide to cover the costs of converting a property themselves. However, they can also apply for a Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG). This is usually granted via a local council, which after an eligibility assessment, subsidises the work.

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Installing a ramp will cost around £450 and widening entrance doors to accommodate a wheelchair £2500. Windening internal doors is also not cheap, at around £2000. A stair lift is perhaps the costliest endeavour, at roughly £9600. Ten grab bars for easy movement around the house will cost £2500. And finally, the cost of a wet room conversion to a bathroom, £3500 – indicting that total costs clock in at around £20,550.

Regardless of total cost, if you have chosen to convert your property for tenants with a disability, the work must be carried out thoroughly and professionally. Otherwise, you as a landlord can face substantial legal costs, should the facilities not be deemed suitable for disabled living.

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