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24 Jan 24

Two-thirds of landlords declined to adapt homes for disabled residents, Relationship of Equals report finds

The majority of social landlords asked to make reasonable adjustments to the homes of disabled residents declined to do so, a new report has found.

The Housing Ombudsman, which gathered more than 1,663 responses for the Relationship of Equals report, today called for a new long-term plan for “vulnerable” residents.

The report gathered responses from 1,275 social residents, 171 landlords and 217 advocacy services, including Citizen’s advice.

The Ombudsman found that 58% of the resident respondents said they considered themselves to have a disability. Of those, only 19% said their landlord had made reasonable adjustments for them. 

A minority (5%) of disabled residents said they had not told their landlord about their requirements or otherwise had not asked for any adjustments.

More than two thirds of disabled residents (68%) said that their landlord had not made any reasonable adjustments, such as aids and adaptations to their homes, despite being asked to. 

Landlords responded by reporting a lack of resources and a breakdown of trust hampering communication with residents.

The Ombudsman asked residents to rate their landlords out of five (one being the worst, five being the best) over how well informed they felt their landlord kept them. 

For communication around repairs, complaints and policies more than half of respondents gave their landlords the lowest rating, one.

By contrast, the majority of tenants surveyed rated their landlords between three and five for communication regarding changes to rent and service charges – leading one resident to describe themselves as a “powerless cash cow”.

The Ombudsman in its report called for the implementation of a new “vulnerability” strategy, including a new statutory definition of the term, and changes to who assesses and reviews it.

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