In this week’s #ExpertView, National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) Chief Executive, Ben Beadle, discusses the association’s new guidance showing landlords the role they can play in supporting the UK’s ageing population and disabled renters.

Adapted homes are in high demand, but unfortunately short supply.

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.

The figures

According to recent research conducted by the Social Market Foundation, the number of private rented sector (PRS) households headed by a person 65 years or older is set to double by 2046.

At the same time, the proportion of older people making their home in the PRS is set to grow exponentially.

In addition to this, data from housing provider 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.

We believe the time has come to tackle the issue and work in partnership with local authorities before the situation reaches crisis point.

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.

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.

Disabled Facilities Grant

Under 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.

Once they were told about it 68% were more willing to make adaptations.

This shows the will is there, but there is a knowledge gap that can be tackled.

The NRLA is asking local authorities – responsible for distributing the grants – to do more to raise awareness of the DFG scheme and support landlords willing to adapt their homes.

We know that there are limitations. There are some properties that can’t be converted and are not suitable, due to their size, layout or structural integrity.

But there are some that, with a little investment funded through grants, could offer a vital home for someone struggling to find a property that meets their needs.

We are 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 at the guidance to see if adapting your property is an option for you.

More information

  • 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.

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