4 July 2012 Access to Housing - Locked Out
The Locked Out report is the result of findings taken from a survey of 200 young disabled people and 12 focus group meetings across the UK over a period of nine months. It reveals that many young disabled people believe that the property sector and independent living services regularly fail to deliver a good or efficient service for them. The barriers to living independently can range from an estate agent's lack of knowledge of the accessibility of housing stock to the disparity in the assessment criteria and quality of personal care in different regions of the country.
We hope this report will shed light on the list of obstacles that face young disabled people and their families who want to buy or rent a new property. We also hope that the solutions and advice offered within this report will help to create a situation where young disabled people in the UK feel confident that estate agents, local authorities, property developers and architects will deliver a service that means they can live not only independently but also where they want to live.Key findings
From the 200 Trailblazers who completed our survey or took part in one of the 12 focus group discussions, it was revealed that:
- 85 percent do not feel confident that access advice given by estate agents, local authorities and other housing providers is accurate
- a lack of information from estate agents, local authorities or other providers has prevented or deterred half of this group of young disabled people from living independently
- eight out of ten people are not confident they would be able to access the same level of care and support if they moved out of their local authority
- almost a quarter say that a landlord has refused to carry out minor disability-related adjustments and adaptations or refused to let them make their own adjustments
- seven out of ten say they find it difficult to identify accommodation that is accessible to them because estates agents have poor knowledge of adapted properties in their area
- four out of ten young disabled people have been told by an estate agent or letting agent that a building is accessible to their needs, only to arrive for a viewing and discover it is not
- almost half say they have not heard of the Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG)
- eight out of ten of those who live with parents say that if they moved away, they would not be confident that they would easily be able to find a property that would be suitable for them
- ninety-four percent say that more information about access on websites would improve their experience of looking for accommodation
- nine out of ten say that are just as keen to get on to the property ladder as their non-disabled peers
- seven out of ten think local authorities have insufficient knowledge of their housing needs
- nine out of ten think that property developers do not do enough to consult with disabled people when they plan and build homes.
We are calling on:
- estate agents to make it possible to search their property websites for accessible properties
- estate agents to work with groups like Trailblazers to train their staff in understanding accessibility issues and the needs of disabled clients
- for local authorities to make it easy for young disabled people to transfer their healthcare packages between regions, which will enable them to transfer to new areas for work or relationships
- for local authorities and building developers to ensure that all new housing will be built to the Lifetime Homes Standard and 10 percent will be build to wheelchair standard design.
Ameena Berkowitz replied on 5 Jul 2012 at 12:29Report abuse
Yet another new development with no wheelchair standard properties!
Today I phoned a housing association which has just completed a new development of appartments very close to where I currently live. I've been watching this building go up for the last couple of years, wondering if they would be available for shared ownership. They look nice: balconies and gardens, attractive landscpaing and right next to the park to boot, as well as being literally 1 minute from the bus stop. And yes, a poster advertises they are now available for shared ownership, and gives a phone number. So I rang. They're sending me a brochure. But they may as well not bother. None of the appartments, not even a small proportion of those on the ground floor, are built to wheelchair standard.
It was the same with the other two developments that have sprung up within a mile of where I live. One of them was advertised as wheelchair standard and so I arranged a viewing, only to find that they had made a mistake.
Lifetime homes are great, and they have a place in housing developments. They are better than nothing. But I need a wheelchair standard property as do many others. I just don't understand why they are not being built when my local authority is obviously investing a lot in new build. If i were to purchase one of these I would then have to apply for a DFG for considerable work to make it more accessible. And some things, like the heights of windows which have a different specification in wheelchair standard, wouldn't be possible to change.
Maybe I will be lucky and there will be some appartments in this development that aren't yet complete so I might be able to purchase and not have to rip out the nicely finished kitchen and bathroom. But it would be even better if wheelchair standards were specified at the outset.
Conrad Hodgkinson replied on 25 Jul 2012 at 10:37Report abuse
Agree, agree, agree! I think this is a significant report and the findings very accurately reflect the experiences of disabled people trying to find suitable housing.
Accessible Property Register www.accessible-property.org.uk has been working for 10 years to try and identify property with wheelchair access whenever and wherever it is advertised. We are quite good at this now and at any given time, you will find virtually every property available for sale or rent and identified as wheelchair accessible advertised on the APR website.
Identifying property advertised as wheelchair accessible is easy - the big problem is that what is visible is only the tip of an iceberg. Most property that would be suitable for wheelchair users is never identified as such when it is advertised (and this includes many properties specifically designed or adapted for wheelchair users) and I'm sorry to say that, in our experience, social housing providers are not a lot better in this respect than estate agents!
The whole thing is frustrating and scandalous but all we can do is keep working at it. We have the systems and the resource in offering a website that only advertises property with wheelchair access. Just give us more properties!
Nick Marr replied on 8 Mar 2013 at 15:53Report abuse
We still receive email at http://thelittlehousecompany.com concerning estate agents who have advised for owners to rip out modifications. It seems too much of a challenge to advise homeowners otheriwse. Estate agents need tranining in accessible housing as part of the qualifications. I recently completed a technical qualification in residentail sales managed by the he National Association of Estate Agents who say are committed to raising standards. No mention of accessibilty in their traning modules. The UK lacks behind in the area , seems it need to be on the media agenda to get things changed