My tenant is recovering from an accident and is struggling with mobility. Am I obliged to make amendments to my property to suit his new needs, or is it down to him to arrange?
A recent study of the housing market revealed that around 300,000 people with disabilities were stuck on housing waiting lists and forced to ‘make do in accommodation that did not meet their needs.’
Therefore, if you have a tenant who might benefit from adaptation, if you are able to assist with this, you may find that not only is their lifestyle greatly improved, meaning they are likely to remain in your property long term, but you are also easing the strain on this highly pressurised market.
There are certain obligations as a landlord that you have to your tenant, and other changes that you do not have to make.
Legally, you do not have to make any changes that impact the structure of the property, or permanently alter the building. For example, there is no obligation to install ramps, widen doorways or remove walls. However, under the Equity Act there are some changes that you do have to make, which include:
- Remove, replace or provide any furniture, furnishings, materials or equipment - so long as it would not become a permanent fixture when installed
- Replace or provide signs or notices
- Replace taps or door handles
- Replace, provide or adapt your door bell or door entry system
- Change the colour of any surface - for example, a wall or a door.
It is a good idea to have a discussion with your tenant regarding his long-term plans, and what changes could be made to the property in order to make it work best for him. If you can come to an agreement that works well for him, you could consider getting a quote for the work required and working out if it is worth having it carried out I order to retain a long-term, happy tenant, who has a home perfectly catering for his individual needs.
Whilst adaptation costs in a standard residential property are not always cheap, they could be priceless to your tenant if they offer him a route to independent living, and there are lots of grants and funding options available to help you both with the financial burden.
|Installing a ramp||£450|
|Widening entrance front door||£2,500|
|Widening internal doors (four door estimate)||£2,000|
|Installing a stair lift||£9,600|
|Installing ten grab bars||£2,500|
|Wet-room conversion of bathroom||£3,500|
|Initial building costs||£0|
Disabled Facilities Grants (DFGs) are provided by local authorities and are available to help meet the cost of adapting a property for the needs of a disabled person. The scheme operates in England, Northern Ireland and Wales. As a landlord, you are eligible to apply for a DFG, as is your tenant.
The grants can help with the costs of changes such as:
- Changes to assist with access to and from the home (widening doors/installing ramps)
- Make the home safe for the disabled person, and others living with them
- Provide easier access to a living room/bedroom/bathroom (including the provision of a stairlift)
- Assistance using a lavatory, bath/shower, hand basin
- Assistance in cooking food
- Proving an improved heating system
- Providing a source of power, light or heat that is easier to use
- Creating easier access and movement around the home to enable the disabled person to care for someone dependent on them who also lives there (such as a child, spouse or partner)
- Have easier access to the garden or make access to the garden safe
If your tenant requests your consent to make the changes himself (at his own cost), you cannot unreasonably refuse them. You must provide a good reason for refusing consent if you choose to do so. If you unreasonably refused consent, your tenant would have the right to challenge you in the county court.
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