NRLA chief executive Ben Beadle on the association’s new guidance showing landlords the role they can play in supporting the UK’s ageing population and disabled renters
Could you provide a home for someone with a disability, or elderly tenant that needs a place offering that little extra help?
Properties suitable for tenants are in high demand but short supply, yet many landlords are unaware of the potential within their properties – or the funding available to adapt them.
Now, with the need set to increase as our population ages we are asking the government to work with private landlords to bridge the country’s accessibility gap – before it is too late.
Many landlords are unaware of the potential within their properties – or the funding available to adapt them and in our new adaptations guidance we set out how private landlords can consider requests for adaptations from their tenants.
The guidance was created with input from access and adaptation specialists from across the housing sector, and we hope it will improve awareness of the opportunities out there when it comes to providing adapted properties for a more diverse range of tenants.
According to recent research conducted by the Social Market Foundation, the number of PRS households headed by a person 65 years or older is set to double by 2046.
In addition to this, data from housing provide Abode Impact shows four in five disabled people live in housing that doesn’t meet their needs and 91% say they experience barriers to renting.
Many tenants who need them, say they can’t access adapted properties in the PRS – that these homes simply don’t exist.
At the same time our research suggests that there has been a lack of engagement between local authorities and PRS when it comes to responding to these needs.
We believe the time has come to tackle the issue and work in partnership with local authorities before the situation reaches crisis point.
If we want to help expand the number of adapted homes for UK disabled and older renters then landlords need to be aware of the support that is out there.
Funding: Disabled Facilities Grant
Under the Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) scheme landlords can claim up to £30,000 (in England) to adapt their property so that it meets the needs of a disabled tenant. The figure is £36,000 in Wales.
However recent research by the NRLA shows 79% of landlords had no knowledge that the scheme existed.
On the plus side once they were told about it 68% were more willing to make adaptations.
The NRLA is now asking local authorities – which are responsible for distributing the grants – to do more to raise awareness of the DFG scheme and support landlords willing to adapt their homes.
Of course we are realistic. We know that there are limitations.
There are some properties that can’t be converted and are not suitable for adaptations, due to their size, layout or structural integrity.
But there are some that, with grant funding, could offer a vital home for someone struggling to find a property that meets their needs.
The NRLA is working to bring about a successful, vibrant and above all inclusive private rented sector that works for all.
With this in mind please take some time to look and the guidance to see if adapting your property is an option for you.
- To access the full guidance click here.
- As part of this month’s Listen Up Landlords podcast we spoke to Sallie Stone-Bearne, founder of specialist letting agency Branch Properties, which sources adapted and accessible properties and Josh Wintersgill a wheelchair user who has struggled to find a rented home to meet his needs. To listen to the new episode click here.