Meeting the needs of disabled tenants
If you are a tenant, or are looking to become a tenant, and have a long term disability (the Government has issued guidance on who may qualify as ‘disabled’ available here), it is possible that you have a right to changes that enable you live in your home with your disability.
The Equality Act 2010 entitles tenants to what is known as ‘reasonable adjustments’ where you are a tenant, leaseholder, or part of a commonhold as well as other people that live as part of your household and you have a disability as defined under section 6 of the Equality Act 2010.
The range of ‘reasonable adjustments’ that you might be entitled to will vary, but could include such things as:
- changes to policies, practices or terms of your tenancy / lease agreement.
- Extra equipment or support (known as “auxiliary aids”)
Your landlord will only have to make the adjustments if you ask them to do so, and your requests are considered to be reasonable. They should also meet the costs of complying with the duty, so it should not be met by the tenant requesting the changes, such as through their rent or service charges.
Any failure to make a reasonable adjustment would constitute discrimination under section 21 of the Equality Act 2010.
There are limitations in the legislation. It does not extend to altering or removing physical features of your home or changes to common parts. However, it is also worth checking the terms of your tenancy agreement, as in some cases (particularly older tenancies issued by Councils pre-1977) you might have additional rights to improvements.
There is further and more detailed information on your rights relating to housing and disability available here:
Disabled Facilities Grants
If you need to make changes to your home because you are disabled, it might be possible for you to get financial and practical support to assist you with this. This could include changes such as:
- widen doors and install ramps
- improve access to rooms and facilities – e.g. stairlifts or a downstairs bathroom
- provide a heating system suitable for your needs
- adapt heating or lighting controls to make them easier to use
Full details of what is available in terms of funding through the Disabled Facilities Grant regime, who is eligible to apply for such grants and support, and how to apply is supplied on the Government website here.