Independent Lives has created guidance based on real-life scenarios that disabled people commonly experience. The guidance is intended to enable you to assert your rights and to help you to navigate through law and legislation.

It is specifically written about adult services and is for guidance only.

If you need legal advice, please contact a legal service.

Scenario: ‘Where I live is contributing to health problems’

This guidance is on housing that may be unsuitable due to the tenant having physical and mental health needs, and are living in a property that is putting them at risk of harm. It also covers substandard housing that is dangerous, such as damp or repairs that a landlord has failed to carry out.
My landlord isn’t aware of reasonable adjustments

If you have a physical impairment or mental health needs then you can request for your landlord to make reasonable adjustments before you move into the property so that it is safe for you to live there. But not all landlords are required by law to do this.

If you live in property owned by a local authority then you can arrange via your local authority for an Occupational Therapist to assess your needs and discuss what home adaptations you may need.

Whether you live in privately or publicly owned property you may be eligible for funding for home adaptations, such as grab handles or rails, so that you can safely move within the property.

Disabled Facilities Grants

A Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) is provided by district and local councils for home adaptations to help you live more independently in your own home. They can be used to:

  • Build ramps and widen doors
  • Installing stair lifts
  • Adapting kitchens for wheelchair users
  • Converting bathrooms into shower facilities
  • Adapting toilet facilities

If you own your own home, are a local authority tenant, or have a disabled adult or child living with you, you can apply for a DFG.

How much you will as a grant will depend on your income, savings and investment. This will enable the council to work out how much you will need to pay towards the adaptations. If it is for a disabled person then income, savings and investments are ignored. You could get a maximum of £30,000 towards adaptations in your home.
To apply for a DFG you will need to apply for a visit from your local council Occupational Therapist. They will be able to assess your needs and discuss with you what you need. If they agree that you need the adaptations then they will make recommendations to the council on your behalf.


I live in a council or housing association home

If you’re a housing association tenant and your landlord has not addressed poor conditions in your home, then you can contact the council’s environmental health department to report the problem. An environmental health officer should inspect your home. They use the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) to assess if your home has a serious hazard.

I live in rented accommodation

If you rent your home from a private or social housing landlord, they are responsible for dealing with most repair problems.

If you live in privately rented accommodation, the landlord is responsible for keeping the property in good condition and for correcting any major repairs. This will include structural damage, any problems with heating, hot water and gas, ventilation and pipes, gas appliances, wiring and sanitary fittings such as sinks and toilets.
Some of the common issues that can be hazardous to the health of people in rented property are set out below.

Damp

This means rising, penetrating, construction and condensation damp.

With rising, penetrating and construction damp it is the responsibility of the landlord to carry out repairs to the property to correct the issue as soon as they become aware of it as damp can lead to the worsening of health conditions and may make the property unsuitable for habitation.

Read the Citizens Advice Guide.

Vermin

Responsibility for vermin can lie with either the landlord or the tenant depending on the tenancy agreement, for example:

  • Whether the property was infested before you moved in
  • The problem is being caused or made worse by a disrepair
  • If something you have done or haven’t done leads to the problem.

The local authority has a legal duty to make sure that its area is free of rats and mice and has the legal power to deal with an infestation of your home.

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