United Kingdom

Accessibility consultation opens

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The government has opened a consultation into whether landlords should have to make more modifications to their properties for disabled tenants.

Currently, under the Equality Act 2010, landlords must make “reasonable adjustments” to properties when requested to do so by a disabled tenant. This doesn’t require them to remove or alter structural features of the property, but may include installing temporary grab handles or replacing taps or door handles.

Politicians are now considering extending this duty to include communal spaces, for example by providing an allocated parking space or better lighting at a block of flats.

Landlords with disabled tenants in England and Wales can apply to their local councils for a Disabled Facilities Grant to help cover the cost of certain modifications. However, other practical barriers remain. Under the proposals, landlords of leasehold flats would need to pass the request for adaptations on to the freehold owner and also consult with other residents likely to be affected.

The issue of disability access in the private rented sector is only likely to get bigger, potentially creating niche investment opportunities for landlords. Increasing numbers of people are renting into retirement. The Social Market Foundation recently predicted that as many as 12% of over-65s could be renting privately by 2035, up from 6% in 2018. By installing stairlifts and grab handles now, landlords could tap into a growing market. Industry analysts also expect to see private landlords buy more bungalows to cater to elderly renters.

Letting agents and landlords are encouraged to respond to the consultation, which closes on 18 August.

Other housing market headlines

Housing market shows signs of cooling, says Halifax – BBC

Bank of England could exceed interest rate expectations – Financial Times

John Lewis unveils first locations for its build-to-rent homes – This Is Money 

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