Do you rent or own?

Not everyone is on the property ladder. If you’re living with reduced mobility and renting your home, you might be wondering what adaptations you’re allowed to make, as well as whose responsibility they are. 

Keep reading to find out what you can do to a rented home and how it can even improve a property for the owner.

Accessibility & Your Rented Home: The Law

Thanks to the Equalities And Human Rights Commission, we now know that 93% of the rental properties out there aren’t fit for disabled access. 

Ninety-three per cent! The UK NEEDS more accessible rental accommodation, but what exactly are your rights as a tenant? 

Well, to start, landlords have a legal duty to respond to disabled tenants requesting ‘reasonable adjustments’ be made to a property. Reasonable adjustments are changes that make living at the property in question substantially easier. These adjustments might look like requesting a Braille copy of a tenancy agreement, or requests for minor adaptations to be made, such as the addition of grab rails, door entry systems and different taps. 

As long as the reasonable adjustment stops you from being ‘substantially disadvantaged’, your landlord should help. 

Who Is Responsible For Adaptations In A Rented Home?

Auxiliary aids, those ‘reasonable adjustments’ we’ve touched on, are the landlord’s responsibility.

They are smaller changes, minor adaptations that are pretty simple and quick to execute and that don’t affect the structure of a property. For example:

  • Raised toilet seats
  • Accessible taps and door handles
  • Non-permanent ramps
  • Wall colour
  • Grab rails
  • A doorbell or fire alarm that works for a deaf person

Other, more significant changes can be requested, but your landlord can refuse. Major adaptations, such as widening doorways and installing permanent wheelchair ramps, are in the landlord’s lap – they have no legal duty to make changes to their property which involve altering its physical structure.

And there are also some exceptions to the rule. Landlords who live at the property aren’t duty-bound to make changes to it, for example. But, if your landlord fails to respond to a fair request for a reasonable adjustment without a good reason, and it’s NOT an exception, it’s considered discrimination under Section 21 of the Equality Act.

The Case For Accessible Rented Home Adaptations 

Your landlord might not have thought about the sheer lack of accessible housing or the benefits of having an accessible property in their portfolio, so it’s worth having the conversation. 

You’re more likely to sway your landlord’s decision if you’re a long-term, committed tenant and have a good relationship with them. There’s such a huge shortage of accessible properties in the UK, and the demand is so high that adapting their property could work out very well for your landlord in the long term.

Consider these points from a landlord’s point of view…

Renting Is Here To Stay

The idea of owning a home is way out of reach for many people, and it’s harder than ever to get onto the property ladder. So think about it. The generation currently renting properties all over the UK will age, and they will need rental properties with features that make their lives easier.

Making changes to their properties now will mean that your landlord has futureproofed their income stream.

Add A Bit Of Style

Far from being utilitarian, most adaptations are stylish, unobtrusive and can improve the home for anyone. Minor adaptations tend to be relatively low-cost and easy to install, too.

The Popular Choice

Remember that statistic? 93% of rented accommodation isn’t suitable for people with disabilities. That means that 65,000 people are living in homes that don’t meet their needs.

The lack of suitable houses for those with disabilities means that any property that has been modified to be accessible will be highly sought after and never left empty. 

Secure Tenancies

If a landlord adapts a property for a tenant, making their life easier and tailoring their home for their needs, the tenant is highly unlikely to move. 

Raise The Value

Adaptations made to any property add value, so if a landlord ever wants or needs to sell up, they’ll get more bang for their buck.

Is There Any Financial Help Available? 

If your landlord won’t pay for the adaptations you need, there are grants that you can apply for, like the Disabled Facilities Grant.

Not sure what’s out there, or where to find it? Find out all about the most common ways of accessing funding in our recent blog.

Common Adaptations In A Rented Home

Adaptations such as grab rails, adequate lighting and ramps to help individuals navigate steps are common changes made in rental properties. Here are some other examples of adaptations landlords usually make for their tenants.


  • Rise and fall worktops. These allow users to manually or mechanically alter the height of the countertop to suit their needs
  • Lower sink and storage areas. Adding or adapting cupboards and installing a lower sink means that users can reach the facilities with ease. 
  • Separate hob and oven. This setup suits most users, and features like simple controls and non-tilt shelves make all the difference.


  • Wall-hung sink. A free-standing sink with a pedestal prevents most wheelchair users from being able to use the facility properly because they can’t reach the taps.
  • Level access shower. These are both safer and more practical than a cubicle shower.
  • Raised height toilet. With modern products fitting in seamlessly among the other white bathroom goods, raised-height toilets are easier and more comfortable to use for people with limited mobility.

What Alternative Solutions Are There?

If changing the structure of the property isn’t possible, other solutions can be put in place. Have these suggestions at the ready if your landlord won’t commit to more permanent changes.


Suggest having a piece of worktop fixed to legs in the kitchen for a temporary low-height worktop section.


Temporary shower pods & toilets are both fantastic alternatives to changing the bathroom for good. Have a read of our blog on the topic to find out how they can help here

You’ve Got Rights If You Rent

Just because you don’t own your home doesn’t mean you can’t improve its accessibility. Don’t be afraid to ask your landlord to make reasonable changes; they have a duty to do so and could be discriminating against you if they don’t respond.

Not sure if the changes you need are minor or major? Looking for financial help for adaptations? Click here for our recent blog, ‘Funding For Adaptations, Everything You Need To Know’ and find out what’s out there.