Skip to the content

Accessible or adapted properties - do you know the difference?

Landlord's guide to accessible and adapted properties - what's the difference?

As a landlord, you may, at some point, rent your property to a tenant with a disability. The property must be suitable for them to live in, without struggling to manage in terms of day-to-day living and access to their home. However, there are some differences between an accessible and adapted property and landlords have legal obligations to their tenants which are important to know.

Let’s go over the definitions of both accessible and adapted properties and the specific legal implications for landlords for both. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at haart, we can help.

What is an accessible property?

According to the Accessible Property Register an accessible property is “a home where the design and layout is free of barriers that might limit its suitability for some potential buyers. For example, a property with steps to the front entrance is unlikely to appeal to a wheelchair user.”

An accessible home allows a disabled person to live without barriers to their independence, helping them to lead full and active lives. It may also allow them to receive the right care safely at home.

Accessible properties may also include design features such as:

  • Level access shower or wet rooms
  • Adapted kitchens with lowered work services
  • Wider doorways
  • Easy access to upper floors with stairlifts or a through-the-ceiling lift
  • Fixed or tracking ceiling hoists
  • Level or ramped access to the garden or outside space

What is an adapted property?

An adapted property is one that was not originally designed with disabled access or use in mind, but has since been altered to accommodate these requirements.

In 2018, an enormous 93% of 8.5 million rental homes in the UK were found to not be fit for disabled access. Adapting a property you intend to rent could work towards fixing the issue, opening it up to a wider range of potential renters.

Can I get funding for adapting properties?

A tenant can legally request for adaptations to be made and you are able to access funding to help cover the costs of such adaptations. This is often in the form of a Disabled Facilities Grant from your local council. Disabled Facilities Grants usually cover adaptations costing between £1,000 and £30,000 but you will have to contribute to the cost of the adaptations if your income is over a certain amount.

What responsibilities do landlords have?

As well as the general responsibilities and obligations a landlord has, there are some legal rights disabled tenants have that you must adhere to. As a landlord, it is illegal to:

  • Refuse to rent to a disabled person because of their disability
  • Refuse to allow a guide dog or assistance dog under the no pets rule
  • Charge higher rent to disabled tenants
  • Refuse access to additional facilities that are available to other tenants such as a parking space
  • Evict a tenant due to disability or illness
  • Provide tenants with a less secure tenancy agreement

When renting to a disabled tenant, landlords are responsible for providing necessary, reasonable adaptations to make the property accessible and suitable for the tenant’s individual needs. The equipment you may need to include, also known as auxiliary aids may include things like wheelchair ramps, raised toilet seats, and clear signage with Braille.

If you refuse to make these changes you may be breaking the law, however you may take into consideration the length of the lease, how much work is required for the adaptations, and planning permission/leaseholder consent.

Advice for landlords

There are resources available for landlords to help with adapting property, checking for compliance and articles around the issue of housing for the disabled. Below are a few to get you started, but we are more than happy to answer your questions here at haart, so feel free to give us a call.

Adapted housing: the eight things you need to know, The Guardian

Renting to disabled tenants: how to adapt your property, Not Letting Go

Disability Discrimination Act and property lettings, The Property Landlord

haart’s property management service

Being a landlord can be an intense job, so at haart we developed a range of property management services to help take the pressure off. We can help find the right tenants, accompany viewings, and manage rent payments, and more. There are a whole host of advantages of a property management service from haart, so why not give your local branch a call to see how we can help?