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Duty to make reasonable adjustments in housing - exceptions

This advice applies to Wales

If you’re disadvantaged by something when renting a property because you’re disabled, you may be able to ask your landlord to make reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act 2010.

However, there are some situations where the landlord doesn’t have to make adjustments even if you’re disadvantaged by something because of your disability.

Read this page to find out more about the exceptions to the duty to make reasonable adjustments in housing.

Renting a property privately

Sometimes if you’re renting a property privately your landlord doesn’t have to make reasonable adjustments even if you’re disadvantaged by something because of your disability.

When does the exception apply?

The exception only applies where the property you’re renting or want to rent is or has been the main home of the landlord.

In addition, the landlord must not have used:

  • an estate agent to let the property
  • a professional service like a property management company to manage the property.

Example

You’re renting a furnished house directly from the owner. It used to be his main home. He didn’t use an estate agent to let the property and he’s not employing a professional property management service.

You have a mobility impairment and you’ve asked your landlord to remove a large piece of furniture in your entrance hall which makes it difficult for you to access the front door. Your landlord has refused as he doesn’t want the hassle to remove and store it.

As this falls within one of the exceptions under the Equality Act, you wouldn’t be able to take action under the Act for failure to make reasonable adjustments.

Renting part of a property

Sometimes if you’re renting part of a property, your landlord doesn’t have to make reasonable adjustments even if you’re disadvantaged by something because of your disability.

When does the exception apply?

The exception applies where your landlord, or a family member of your landlord, lives in the property and will continue to live in the property when they let or sublet part of it to you.

You must also share some of the accommodation with the person living in the property. The accommodation you must share includes - for example:

  • bathrooms or toilets
  • kitchen
  • living room.

The exception doesn’t apply, if you’re only sharing storage space or means of access - for example, the entrance hall.  

Who counts as a family member?

The following people count as family members:

  • spouses, civil partners or unmarried partners
  • parents or grandparents
  • children or grandchildren
  • spouses, civil partners or unmarried partners of a child or grandchild
  • brothers or sisters.

What properties does the exception apply to?

The exception applies to small properties which can only accommodate a certain number of households or people.

In addition to the person living in the property and their household, the property must not be able to accommodate more than:

  • two other separate households, or
  • six individual tenants or lodgers.

The Equality Act calls these properties small premises.

Example

You’re renting a room in a house. You share the kitchen and living room with the landlord. The kitchen is very badly lit and you find it difficult to see when you’re cooking because of your visual impairment.

You’ve asked your landlord to provide some extra lighting like a small table or foot lamp but she’s refused. As this falls within one of the exceptions under the Equality Act you wouldn’t be able to take action under the Act against your landlord in this situation.

Next steps

Other useful information

Equality Advisory Support Service (EASS)

If you have experienced discrimination, you can get help from the EASS discrimination helpline.

Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC)

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