Can you imagine you or a family member not being able to go for that dream job you have landed in London, only because you cannot find anywhere to live that will suit your needs?
Can you imagine not being able to visit your friends and family, because their homes are inaccessible for you? Can you imagine not being able to get back into your own home following an accident or due to a medical condition, which means it is no longer accessible for you?
For many, sadly, there is no imagining to be done, for many people with disabilities, it is a hard reality…
We have a young graduate man on our books who has secured his dream position, in a very well-known organisation which most of us would want to work for. He has worked extra hard to land this job and has been diligently looking since April this year (2023) for somewhere accessible to live that will meet his needs and his budget. He contacted us and we have been searching for time, but despite improvements in building new accessible properties, we are finding the issues that people with disabilities have always faced.
To give you some background on his story, we asked him what his plan B was if we cannot find a property before his start date: he told us that, without somewhere to live, he will have to travel between London and Swindon twice a day, to enable him to fulfil his job. Again, to fully paint his picture, he will have to do this at huge expense of time and money. A long and complicated journey for anybody but imagine doing this day after day in a wheelchair and that this is only necessary because of lack of accessible properties.
Some of the problems faced are not even a consideration for the non-disabled population. For example, the simple act of crossing the threshold is the number one issue for people using wheelchairs. Getting through the front door, negotiating stairs or narrow doorways and corridors is still the top obstacle to people with disabilities. The second most common obstacle is the bathroom. Something as basic and essential as access to a loo and shower is a right rarely available in the non-accessible property market.
We have raised this issue for many years, but still see too little improvement. There simply aren’t enough properties that are accessible, inclusive and have a wet room.
For example, of 1566 two bed flats on Rightmove within the budgeted price range, only one property was found which had a wet room. Offsetting benefit of the wet room was the fact that it was a split level property so obviously not accessible.
Despite our continuing efforts to work with landlords to adapt properties to make them inclusive, we have only one inclusive rental on our books at present. We need more landlords to adapt their two bed properties for rental. Despite the fact that many think cost and effort make adaptions impossible to achieve, it is doable and cost need not be prohibitive. By making the property stylish and inclusive, as a landlord, you’re opening up your property to everyone; disabled people, elderly people, expectant families, those who have had an accident, able bodied, in fact everyone!
On our waiting list, we have many students and graduates who are looking for an accessible one- or two-bedroom flat in London, at an affordable rent. Yes, the rental market is crazy at the moment with rents being sky high; properties being snapped up at the rate of knots, with block viewings and bidding wars. Even non-accessible properties are in such high demand. Accessible properties are almost non-existent.
But, with those we are helping to search for accessible and inclusive rentals, that is an even harder and much more complex search, although it shouldn’t be…
Developers are required to ensure that ten percent of their developments are accessible, and this is a positive improvement. In fact, we’re working with a developer at the moment, who is producing some fantastic accessible and inclusive properties to rent in the Battersea area. We are proud to partner up with them on this project.
By way of example, take a look at this is fantastic apartment with accessible and inclusive plus points designed into the apartment and throughout the development. It is available to those who have a larger budget, please see the details are here: https://www.branchproperties.co.uk/property/luxury-one-bedroom-accessible-property-to-rent-in-central-london/
Despite the efforts of many, the reality is that these are the issues that all wheelchair users face when trying to find suitable accommodation. We still have a long way to go before we can claim that there is equality in housing provision and on that basis, we appealing to everyone. Do you know of an accessible property that is likely to come on to the market soon? Are you a landlord with plans to adapt.
Are you able to assist in securing somewhere in London for this young man to live, so he can start his new job and begin the next phase of his life as a professional young man living in London, where he should be.
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