Landlord News,Tenant News

More government support needed for older and disabled private renters

Em Morley - August 11, 2021

The proportion of private rented households with someone aged 65 or over living in them has increased by 44% over the last decade, according to a new analysis of government data.

The National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA) highlights that a quarter (over one million) of private rented households in England have someone living in them with a long-term illness or disability. Despite this, official data shows that 25% of all private rented households that require adaptations say their accommodation does not meet their needs.

The NRLA warns that not enough is being done to help landlords access financial support to adapt properties to meet the needs of older people or disabled tenants.

Tenants and landlords are eligible for financial support, including through the Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG), which funds necessary adaptations of properties. However, a survey of landlords has found that 79% did not know that DFGs existed. Once they were made aware of the grant, 68% said they would be more willing to make adaptations where required.

The NRLA is calling on local authorities to work collaboratively to raise awareness among landlords of the financial support available to make the adaptations that many tenants need. It also suggests landlords consider how to ensure their properties meet the growing needs of tenants requiring adaptations. Moreover, landlords should recognise the important market that now exists for such properties.

Meera Chindooroy, Deputy Policy Director for the NRLA, comments: “With rapidly growing numbers of older and disabled renters we need to do much more to ensure they, and their landlords, have the support needed to ensure homes are fit for purpose.

“Although financial support to make adaptations is available, it is not being advertised anywhere near enough to local landlords by councils. We call on them to work with the NRLA to raise awareness of the help available to ensure that private rented homes are best equipped to meet the needs of all tenants who want to live in them.”