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How Landlords Can Make Properties Accessible for Disabled Tenants

Recently, the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee of MPs in Parliament launched an online survey to help it establish how to provide disabled tenants with access to housing that meets their needs.


In an inclusive society, it's essential for landlords to ensure their properties are accessible to all prospective tenants. This not only broadens the potential tenant pool but also demonstrates a commitment to equality and diversity.


This guide explains how landlords can make their properties accessible and welcoming for disabled tenants.


Understanding the Need for Accessibility for Disabled Tenants


Before delving into making modifications to your rental property, it's important to understand why accessibility is crucial.


Disabilities vary widely, from mobility impairments to sensory and cognitive disabilities. This means that you need to consider a number of different aspects when considering how to make the property more accessible.


The Equality Act 2010 states that disabled tenants in England and Wales have the right to request portable auxiliary aids. This means things like changing taps or door handles to make them more accessible to the tenant’s needs or removing furniture from the property to make it easier to move a wheelchair around, for example. Landlords are not obliged to make structural changes. 


Of course, this doesn’t mean that you cannot make structural changes, just that you are not bound to. Many landlords want to make their properties more accessible and this might include going beyond what is required.


Accessible housing can significantly improve the quality of life for disabled tenants, offering them independence and comfort.


How to Improve Accessibility

Property Entrance

Start with the property’s entrance. Could you create a ramp to improve accessibility? Check that the door is wide enough to allow easy wheelchair access. It should have a minimum clear opening width of 775mm, but 900mm is preferable.

Internal Layout and Design

The internal layout of the property should facilitate easy movement. This includes hallways free of obstacles and wider doorways. An open floor plan, especially in communal areas like the living room and kitchen, is also helpful. Avoid raised thresholds between rooms to prevent tripping hazards.

Bathroom Adaptations

Bathrooms are critical areas that need special attention. Install walk-in showers with non-slip surfaces, grab bars near the toilet and shower and lower sinks to make them wheelchair accessible. Consider the height of bathroom fixtures and ensure they are reachable from a seated position.


Kitchen Modifications

In the kitchen, adjust the height of countertops and appliances to be accessible from a wheelchair for disabled tenants. Ensure that storage spaces are within easy reach, and consider installing pull-out shelves or drawers for easier access.


Technological Integrations for Sensory Impairments

For tenants with visual or hearing impairments, integrate technology and design elements that assist in daily living. This includes a visual alert system for doorbells or fire alarms, and induction loop systems for hearing aid users.


Smart Home Features

Smart home technology can greatly enhance accessibility for disabled tenants. Your tenants can operate automated systems to control lighting, heating and security via smartphone apps or voice commands.


Legal Compliance and Funding

You should be aware of legal requirements regarding accommodation for people with disabilities. In the UK, the Equality Act 2010 requires landlords to make reasonable adjustments for disabled tenants. Additionally, explore funding options such as the Disabled Facilities Grant for financial assistance in making these modifications.


Considering Adjusting Your Property


By making properties accessible for disabled tenants, you not only comply with legal standards but also contribute to a more inclusive society. The key is to approach accessibility as a fundamental aspect of property management, ensuring that all potential tenants, regardless of their physical abilities, can enjoy a safe, comfortable and independent living space. To outsource your property management, free up your time and relieve some of the stress of renting properties, talk to Executive Property Management Solutions today on 0208 5757630.


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