The sad reality of accessible housing for those who need it…

The sad reality of accessible housing for those who need it…

The reality is, we have an accessible housing crisis, with many wheelchair users having to give up on thier dream job or graduate scheme, simply down to the lack of suitable and available housing…

Recently, we were really pleased at Branch Properties to be approached recently to market these spacious adapted and wheelchair accessible homes for rent in Battersea, London.

Wheelchair accessible two- bedroom apartments for rent in Battersea

With such a lack of accessible housing (everywhere!), it was not surprising that we were inundated with queries about this brand-new collection of stylish adapted apartments with wheelchair access throughout the flat and the development.

The eligibility requirements for living in these properties are for someone who requires wheelchair accessibility and lives or works in the London Borough of Battersea. The phenomenal response (over 150!) highlights how much accessible and adapted properties are needed.

The three properties were viewed and snapped up very quickly, but we now have a waiting list that continues to grow…

In addition to our waiting list for that development, we also have three graduate students that we are searching find suitable housing for (they were not eligible for the above) They require one-to-two-bedroom homes on the ground floor with wet rooms like these

Image of two bed floor plan
Image of two bed floor plan

Our searches reveal that those that are available with wet rooms, are on generally on upper or lower floors, in areas that are not good for travelling into Zone 1 and at the top end of budget.

We also find that there are Development Companies who are incorporating rooms which is great and to be applauded, but graduates and others starting out in their careers, can be priced out.
Often, a requirement is that they must pay 12 months’ rent upfront, for example £3000 pcm x 12… not many can afford that. We have a client relocating from the US to London who is a position to earn a significant income but has a dependent, and consequently is unable to raise such a large lump sum.

Whilst our searches for clients looking for accessible or adaptable properties are made all over the country, and have recently included Bristol, Glasgow, and Coventry, and we are pleased to report that there are more housing associations offering adapted and accessible properties nationwide, this is still a national crisis, although significantly worse in London.

We are desperate for inclusive housing of all sizes, but especially two-bedroom, ground floor properties across London. One recent search we made covering 5000 flats in London, for one and two beds between a particular price bracket, only raised a handful of options that will be suitable.

What is the issue here time and time again? Wet rooms, similar to that shown below and the lack of them.
They are only found in 1% of properties and, sometimes even in properties that are inaccessible to a wheelchair user.

Here at Branch Properties, where we have been specialising in finding accessible homes for people with disabilities since 2015, we are pleased to have seen some small changes to the accessible housing shortage, but sadly and worryingly it is nowhere near enough. Clearly there is a need for accessible housing yet it is clear that there is no level playing field when it comes to choose about properties that are accessible.

For example, we have a young lady from Italy who has been offered a job at Greenwich University, who may not be able to accept it until we can find her a suitable, accessible, and safe place to live. You might wonder what on earth it is that she needs in her home to make it so impossible to find? Well, the truth is that all she wants is to be able to get through the front door and to have a shower!

Another example of the difficulties encountered by disabled people because of the lack of inclusive thinking around housing provision is a young man who came to us to find a property that would meet his housing requirements last year when he was a graduate. He was offered social housing which was fortunate but carried a risk that sadly recently became a reality. We’ll let his mother’s words described the dreadful situation he found himself in.

“There is only one lift in the building serving the upper floor for five full-time wheelchair users. The lift is unreliable and constantly breaks down leaving him housebound, on occasion for up to 13 days at a time while engineers sourced parts and worked on the lift.
Today the reverse happened and he was trapped outside along with another resident in these baking temperatures. An engineer has now attended after several hours and said that the lift is not repairable today. My son has been stranded outside and brought to tears with the situation, once again which jeopardises his job as he was unable to log-on this afternoon as he was working from home today, let alone removing his independence and liberty to access his own adapted home.”

We face a housing crisis generally, but the impact of this on disabled people is so much more significant and limiting. Many new developments are described as accessible, yet they have baths instead of showers, and even they are not built as wet rooms.

This is all so very upsetting and unnecessary. Developers are required to build 10% of homes that are accessible, yet clearly this is still not happening. The new builds that are complying are not yet making a significant improvement of the rights of people with disabilities to have the same opportunities to have a comfortable home of their own as those without disabilities…

And sadly, on the other end of the scale, there are properties that are available sometimes for months possibly for years, such as those in developments that are for over 55’s like this one:
https://www.branchproperties.co.uk/property/one-bed-wheelchair-accessible-property-for-sale/ because the eligibility is restricted. We even heard from a client last week whose late mother’s retirement home has been for sale for the last five years!

Clearly the accessible housing situation is dire and there is need for change. The government has again pledged to do more:
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/supply-of-accessible-homes-to-receive-vital-boost – We are waiting to see significant improvements and results…

As we said, we are desperate for inclusive housing of all sizes, but especially two-bedroom, ground floor properties across London. Are you a landlord, developer that can help?
Please contact us on 020 3475 4022 or email us on info@branchproperties.co.uk if you can help!

www.branchproperties.co.uk