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Asking your landlord for home adaptations

If you are disabled under the Equality Act 2010, you have the right to portable support aids or temporary adaptations when you're renting. These are called 'auxiliary aids'.

The law says that your landlord does not have to let you:

  • remove or alter a physical feature
  • change shared areas such as hallways and entrances in a block of flats

You can still ask for adaptations even if you're not entitled to them by law.

What counts as disability (Citizens Advice)

Asking for adjustments to help with your disability (Citizens Advice)

You have fewer rights if you live together in the same property as your landlord.

Talking with your landlord

If you qualify as disabled under the Equality Act 2010, you have the right to 'auxiliary aids'. These are temporary or portable adaptations.

You do not have the right to remove or change physical features of your home, although you can still ask about this.

Auxiliary aids

These are temporary adaptations or portable support aids. It's something that is not a physical or structural change to your home.

The Equality Act says that you have the right to an auxiliary aid if all of the following apply:

  • you are disabled as defined in the Equality Act 2010
  • the auxiliary aid would stop you being at a 'substantial disadvantage' in your home

These rules are from Schedule 4, paragraph 2(9) of the Equality Act 2010.

For example:

Warning

Get permission from your landlord

Something like a temporary grab rail or painting a wall a different colour would not count as a structural change. You should still check your tenancy agreement and get permission from your landlord.

A report from an occupational therapist saying what you need may help.

Home adaptations and occupational therapist assessments

Removing or altering physical features

Your landlord or agency may allow adaptations that remove or change part of your home if:

  • they want you to stay
  • the work will add value to the property

Even if you do not have the legal right to an adaptation, you can still ask.

The landlord may be more likely to agree if they know that they do not have to pay. For example, if you can get a Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) from your local authority. DFGs are means-tested (based on your savings and income).

Disability grants for home adaptations

If your landlord refuses

If your landlord will not let you make changes to the structure or physical features, you could look at auxiliary aids.

For example, if your bathroom is not accessible, a shower chair might help.

If you cannot use a shower chair or other auxiliary aid, you may need to start looking for somewhere new to live.

If reasonable adjustments aren't made after your request (Citizens Advice)

Housing law is not clear

The law says that if you are classified as 'disabled' under the Equality Act, you are entitled to reasonable adjustments. But there is no set definition of what is reasonable. It depends on what you need and how expensive or hard the adjustment would be for the landlord.

What counts as disability (Citizens Advice)

Warning

Proving discrimination is hard

It can be hard to prove disability discrimination if your landlord does not give you permission to make adjustments.

For example, your landlord could decide not to renew your tenancy. It may be hard to prove that your landlord did this because you asked to adapt your home.

Finding somewhere new to live

Other landlords may allow adaptations or may have properties that are more accessible.

If you cannot find somewhere better, you may need to ask your local authority to re-house you.

Find your local authority (GOV.UK)

Your local authority may re-house you if all of the following apply:

  • your local authority agrees that you need adaptations that are structural or would change physical features
  • your landlord refuses to allow the adaptations
  • you cannot find somewhere new to live or a landlord who will allow the adaptations

This can take a long time. Start by asking your local authority for an assessment.

Getting assessed by your local authority

Speak to your local authority as soon as you can.

You have a right to a free assessment by the local authority. The amount of time this takes can vary. They have a duty of care under the Care Act 2014 (GOV.UK) to assess someone for support they might need.

Apply for a social care needs assessment (GOV.UK)

Some home adaptation information can be hard to find. Look for a section of your local authority's website that talks about 'housing' or 'disabled people'. Some pages might be called 'help to stay in the home' or 'care assessments and housing adaptation'.

Sometimes it's not clear who you should contact. If you're not sure, contact your local authority's general number or email address. They can tell you who to contact or refer you to the correct department. It can help to ask for the Community Occupational Therapy office.

Local groups or groups supporting people with your condition may be able to support you. Your GP may also know about groups that might be able to help.

Last reviewed by Scope on: 05/02/2020

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