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Demand for home adaptations

Challenges to securing appropriate home adaptations can act as a significant barrier to independent living. The 2019-20 English Housing Survey report on home adaptations recorded 8% of all households in England
(1.9 million) as having at least one person with a long-standing physical or mental health condition who required adaptations to their home. 

The Equality and Human Rights Commission’s report, Housing and disabled people: Britain’s hidden crisis (PDF, 2018) noted particular difficulties with securing adaptations to common areas of dwellings: “Disabled people told us that requests for adaptations to common parts were sometimes refused ‘unreasonably’, even when there was no cost to the other people living in the premises.”

Leaseholders: gaining consent for adaptations

The Disability Discrimination Act 2005 made it easier for long leaseholders to obtain a landlord’s (freeholder’s) consent to carry out adaptations to the internal areas of let premises. These provisions were carried over into the Equality Act 2010.

There remained a problem with securing adaptations to the common parts of residential dwellings, such as doors and stairways. A Review Group on Common Parts was set up in 2005 which made several recommendations in relation to commons parts (PDF) including a call for the Government to:

…develop (and consult on) legislation for England and Wales which would ensure that when requested by a lessee to make a disability-related adjustment to the common parts of let residential premises, the landlord would be under a duty to make the adjustment where that is reasonable.

Subsequently, the Equality Act 2010 provided a new requirement for disability-related alterations to the physical features of the common parts of let residential premises, or premises owned on a commonhold basis. The provisions are set out in section 36 and schedule 4 to the 2010 Act but have not been brought into force.

When will section 36 and schedule 4 be brought into force?

The National Disability Strategy (PDF, July 2021) referred to a future consultation on adjustments to common parts.

Consultation on the commencement and implementation of section 36 of the 2010 Act opened on 9 June 2022 – submissions are accepted up to 18 August 2022. The timetable for commencement “will depend on the findings of the consultation and the extent of regulation that is needed.”

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