Housing Options Guide 5b
5b. Disabled adaptations to your home
Equality Act 2010
Under the Equality Act 2010, service providers have a duty to make reasonable adjustments to their services and premises to make sure they are accessible for everyone, despite any disability. All tenants have certain legal rights depending on the type of tenancy agreement they hold, but the Equality Act 2010 strengthened rights for disabled people.
Landlords have duties that fall into the following areas:
- They should provide auxiliary aids or services if it is reasonable for them to do so
- They should change practices, policies or procedures where this is required
- They should change the terms of an existing tenancy where this is required
A landlord does not have a duty to remove or alter a physical feature, such as installing a concrete ramp, as oppose to fixing something to a wall with a screw. Although they have no duty to make adjustments to physical features, landlords must change the terms of a lease agreement to allow a disability-related improvement to be made. For example, if a tenant with mobility problems asks their landlord's permission to install a stair lift at their own expense, the landlord must make sure that the lease allows for this installation. If the lease prevents the installation of a stair lift at the tenant's expense, the landlord must change this term in the lease agreement.
Adaptations for our tenants
We have an annual budget that allows us to carry out disabled adaptations to our council homes. Work is carried out following an assessment by an occupational therapist. Any work is carried out in order of what is the most important priority for the tenant's well being. In certain circumstances, if the work is going to be very expensive or will not fully meet the needs of the household, a more detailed assessment of needs may be required. This will investigate other options that may solve the problems, such as a move to more suitable accommodation.
If you think you would benefit from adaptations to your home, the first step is to contact the Access Care Team who can arrange a care assessment. You can find out more about the work of our occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants here.
Adaptations for private tenants
Private tenants who think they would benefit from adaptations to their home should contact our Access Care Team for advice, and to arrange for an occupational therapy assessment of their needs. If it is agreed that an adaptation should go ahead, formal permission should be given from the tenant's landlord. Private landlords cannot unreasonably refuse permission for the adaptation to progress.
We can provide information and advice to private tenants or landlords about how to reinstate any previously adapted property if this is required.
Care and repair service
Our Home Improvement Team offer a free Care and Repair service which provides practical advice and assistance to help owner occupiers and private tenants carry out adaptations to their home. This allows them to remain in their homes and communities in comfort and safety. To access the service the applicant, or their partner, should be over the age of 60 or disabled.
Our team can help by:
- Offering advice and information on what repairs or adaptations are needed in the home
- Providing details of reputable contractors to carry out any work
- Gathering estimates of the works needed so applicants are informed about costs
- Assisting with grant or loan application forms
- Arranging a pension check to make sure applicants are claiming all the benefits they are entitled to
- Directing applicants to other organisations or services that may be able to help
For more information on the Care and Repair service, read our leaflet or contact the Home Improvement Team by phoning 0300 1234 566 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
If major alterations are needed to make a home suitable for the tenant's needs, grant assistance may be available. An applicant's financial ability to contribute to the works involved, will be assessed. The income from all people assessed will be calculated to determine the rate of grant available. For mandatory grants this will not include work to extend an existing home to create an additional living space, or work to create living accommodation in a separate building from the main home.
Discretionary grant assistance may be available to extend the structure of a home and provide additional living accommodation, if the occupational therapist agrees that is the best option to meet the housing need. This type of work is not included in mandatory grant provision due to the high costs involved, and because it can add value to a property. Grant assistance will be determined by a test of the applicant's resources. If they are not able to fund their share of the cost, we can provide information on commercial loans and charitable funding. All grant applicants will be offered the assistance of the Home Improvement Team to help them with submitting the grant application.
Adaptations for housing association tenants
Housing association tenants who think they would benefit from adaptations to their home should contact our Access Care Team for advice, and to arrange for an occupational therapy assessment of their needs. If it is agreed that an adaptation should go ahead, the tenant should contact their landlord to discuss how their housing needs will be met.
Phone: 01343 563999