Landlords’ commitments to accessible properties
Most of the landlords we talk to are committed to making their property accessible in whatever way they can. This can range from putting grabrails in appropriate places to undertaking quite extensive adaptions.
There is so much going on in the housing market at the moment with sales on fire and in the residential lettings market around the issue of rent arrears and evictions that it seems important to us to acknowledge that many landlords don’t have a massive portfolio of properties they have put to work to earn them a packet. Most have just one property that was their home, and due to change in personal circumstances such as a new relationship, they are able to offer to a tenant.
How easily properties can be made accessible? (when they are the right type!)
Some houses are not very disability-friendly due to the type of build or location, but more often than not, there is a lot that can be done to make a place an accessible home.
Take the average terraced house for example. They often open onto the street making it almost impossible to manoeuvrer a wheelchair other than on the busy pavement. They generally have at least one step up to the front door, and a narrow lobby or passage that is too tight to accommodate a wheelchair, leading to small rooms without any turning space. The kitchen is usually long and thin with the back door to the garden fitted to a side wall. And that’s without mentioning the bathroom and bedrooms that are all up that narrow staircase!
Semi-detached houses and bungalows can seem like the obvious solution, but how accessible they are depending on the original design, width of corridors, wheelchair turning space, location of the bathroom and so many other factors.
Raising the issues of the accessible housing crisis.
That there is a housing crisis due to lack of accessible housing is something many of us have been raising for some time. Branch Properties was founded because of this issue as have many other organisations and individuals.
There are many schemes currently available with packages to help people start their journey on the housing market, but these relate to private ownership which is not available to all. Anyway, it seems there is a still a long way to go before all new builds are made accessible. This was raised by Disability News Service in their recent article on this subject.
We also wrote of the accessible housing crisis last month, asking why there was not enough housing for disabled graduates: https://www.branchproperties.co.uk/why-is-there-no-adequate-accessible-housing-for-our-graduates/
Highlights of adaptions for inclusivity coming up…
All in all, it seems clear that we need our landlords because so many already have or are ready and willing to make adaptions to their property to make it accessible. For some, the notion of adaptions is something to be avoided because it might look ugly or clinical or devalue the property. This is absolutely not true and to highlight the brilliant adaptions that can be made we are going to run a series of blogs, interviews, reports on individual companies and suppliers so they can demonstrate the improvements they can make. Next week we start with bathrooms, so don’t forget to check in and see what you can do to your home.
Otherwise, if you think you can help us by providing an accessible property whether is needs modifications, or not, we would be absolutely delighted to hear from you. As would the many people we have on our waiting lists, needing accessible and inclusive properties.