Obviously we all know that discrimination based on prejudices around race, disability, gender or anything else aren’t acceptable in any walk of life, and the Equality Act 2010 is the bit of legislation that deals with this. The act defines the characteristics that might leave a person open to unfair treatment and sets out measures to prevent this discrimination across a huge range of situations including work, education, courts and organisations.
With Disabled Access Day coming up on 16 March, we’re examining disabled access to rental properties. This week we’ll look at things from a tenant’s point of view, and next week we’ll have some information for landlords.
A lack of disability-friendly properties is becoming a serious issue in the UK – in fact, a 2018 report from the European Court of Human Rights labelled it ‘Britain’s Hidden Crisis’. According to the same report, 93% of our properties lack minimal accessibility features, and as numbers of people with disabilities rise, many are living in properties which simply aren’t adequate for their needs. Developers aren’t making enough new-build properties accessible because they say it’s harder to make a profit on them, while many disabled people say that their private landlords won’t allow basic adaptations to their homes.
It is an offence to discriminate against anyone with a disability, and this applies to landlords who are letting properties to tenants.
The rules are set out in the Equality Act 2010, and the most important thing to know is that if a disabled person wants to rent your property, you cannot refuse them or charge them more because this would be discrimination. In short, you must treat everyone the same.