The National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) has called for greater cooperation between landlords and local authorities to resolve the urgent need for more adapted private rented accommodation.
It wants councils to give landlords more information about disabled facilities grants and says while 14.8% of people with disabilities live in the private rented sector, only 8% of these grants go to private renters.
NRLA research found 79% of landlords had no knowledge of the grants but that after finding out more, 68% were more willing to adapt their properties.
The NRLA believes local government should take the lead on the increasingly important issue by taking practical action now, before the UK’s adaptation challenges become even more acute.
According to Social Market Foundation research, the number of private rented sector households headed by someone aged 65+ is set to double by 2046.
The NRLA’s new report – Adapting the Private Rented Sector – explains that it would be in everyone’s interest for responsible tenants to have longer tenancies and for landlords to outline their willingness to provide a variety of tenancy options.
“It is our experience that landlords would be keen to facilitate such tenants, which would be to the benefit of disabled, older and vulnerable tenants looking for stability in the PRS.”
Meera Chindooroy, NRLA deputy director, campaigns, public affairs & policy, says there has been a lack of engagement with landlords on the issue. She adds: “The acute problems facing those with accessibility needs requires urgent attention and it is imperative that steps are taken now to ensure that a challenge doesn’t become a crisis for the sector.”
The NRLA has now launched its new guidance to support landlords in better managing tenant requests for home adaptations.
This explains: “A common concern and misunderstanding is that adaptations look institutional and medical, affecting how desirable the property is for renters. In fact, adaptations can be carried out in an ‘inclusive’, attractive, contemporary way and can be a positive feature, including increasing the potential marketability.”