Landlords and agents can access greater levels of funding to improve the accessibility of private rented sector property

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities (DLUHC), has announced a £50 million fund to help older and disabled people in England, make adaptations to enable them to continue to live independently in their own homes.

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The additional funding will be available as adaptation grants from local authorities and is open to people living in the Private Rented, social housing, and owner-occupied sector.  Where required and appropriate, this is an opportunity for agents to signpost landlords and tenants towards the funding.

Agents and landlords can access the funding from the local authority Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG), providing they have a tenant living in the property that requires the adaptation. Currently, DFG’s can be used to fund up to £30,000 towards adaptation in England.

Supporting the needs of older and disabled people

The increase in funding comes following Propertymark’s response to the Call for Evidence from the Older Persons Housing Taskforce and from our response to the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Call for Evidence on Disabled People in the Housing Sector. In the response Propertymark called for:

  • The UK Government to improve access and promote the DFG to private landlords and their agents to ensure that more property in the private rented sector is accessible.
  • Local authorities to be required to improve their understanding of the number and needs of disabled people in their area, with data informing Local Development Plans to ensure the right type of housing is provided.
  • Grants, interest-free loans and tax incentives for developers to build the right type of housing for disabled people.
  • The UK Government to consider enabling Local Planning Authorities to transfer a proportion of their Section 108 affordable housing provision to accessible housing, in a similar way to reserved housing for armed forces veterans.

An opportunity for landlords to future proof their business

Although tenants with disability issues are required to be living in a property to access the DFG, landlords and their agents should be encouraged to consider ways in which they can future proof their businesses by providing housing to the growing number of older and disabled people accessing the private rented sector.

According to the Older Person’s Taskforce for housing, here are 12.4 million people in Great Britain aged over 65 (18% of the population). By 2041, this is projected to rise to 20.4 million (26% of the population).  We also used the call or evidence for both consultations as an opportunity to reaffirm our call for a better relationship between local authorities and private landlords. One opportunity to do this could be that local authorities keep a database of adapted properties that they could signpost tenants to suitable properties.