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Social Services have a clear emphasis on helping people stay independent for longer, and it has been recognised that one of the ways of achieving this is to help to make people's homes safer and more suitable for them to live in when they have reduced mobility or disabilities.

An occupational therapist will conduct an assessment of your property and your needs, and will be able to provide basic equipment on loan, for example bathing equipment. The occupational therapist will also be able to advise on any alteration works required. 

A ramp for a wheelchair to access a rented property
Landlords may be willing to provide ramps

Tenants rights

If you live in rented accommodation you won't necessarily have to move to another property simply because you require special adaptations to meet your mobility needs. Landlords are obliged to comply with the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act, so it is illegal for them to discriminate against a tenant on the basis of the tenant's disability.

However, whilst they would be expected to make minor alterations in order to make it easier for an older or disabled person to live in a property, they are not legally obliged to make major alterations. To some extent you will be dependent on how willing your landlord is to support your case, for example if you need to have doorways widened, or a ramp or stairlift installed.

Grants available

When you approach your landlord regarding possible adaptations to the property, you should make them aware that grants may be available. If you are registered disabled and living in a rented property which needs adaptations to enable you to continue to live there, you may be eligible for a grant to help to finance the home alterations.

The Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) is funded by your local housing authority, and either a tenant or a landlord may apply for the DFG. The grant is means tested, and is dependent on the income and savings of the tenant, not the landlord. For further information about the DFG, visit Disability Housing Grants. If you live in council or housing association property, home alterations will usually be paid for by the landlord.

If you need help in arranging adaptations to your home, you could also contact a local Home Improvement Agency (HIA). These are organisations which provide support to either home owners or tenants in private accommodation who have disabilities or reduced mobility and require adaptations to their home.

Their initial visit is usually free, but they will often charge a fee if you decide to use their services, which may include finding out whether grants are available for you, project managing the changes to your home and providing handyman services for minor works. HIAs are not for profit organisations and they come under the umbrella organisation of Foundations. Find out more about Foundations and what HIAs have to offer at Foundations UK.

Losing mobility doesn't have to mean losing your home. With support from the NHS, your local council and HIAs you will often be able to get your existing home adapted to meet your needs.

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