Disability rights groups have called on the government to include information about accessibility for disabled people on its new property portal due to go live next year.
They want details about how many properties can be adapted with relative ease and at low cost, as well as information about available grants, and say landlords should complete a short questionnaire about accessibility when homes are registered through the portal – due to launch this year as part of the Renters Reform Bill.
Advice for Renters has been working with Inclusion London, Disability Rights UK and Branch Properties to persuade the government to recognise the importance of promoting information about the accessibility of private rented homes.
During a recent meeting, it told DLUHC officials that existing housing stock across England is often not accessible or adapted to meet disabled people’s needs while there is no requirement for landlords to provide basic accessibility information.
Only 6% of the Disabled Facilities Grants available to adapt properties to make them more accessible go to private renters.
It says that while it’s positive to learn that active consideration is being given to making accessibility information available when private rented homes are marketed, it is not convinced there is enough understanding about the importance of ensuring disabled people have the same housing rights as others.
Laura Vincinanza (pictured) from Inclusion London, says finding an accessible home in the private rented sector is extremely difficult for disabled people, if not impossible.
She explains: “With rising rents, competition between potential tenants attending mass viewings and bidding wars, there is no incentive for landlords to provide basic information about the accessibility of their properties. We believe the government’s proposal to introduce the property portal in the PRS represents a vital opportunity to embed accessibility.”