Disabled students rights in accommodation Disability
In addition to your statutory rights, if you are disabled you also have other rights which protect you against discrimination when renting accommodation. A Landlord or Letting Agent may be discriminating against you if:
- They refuse to let a property to you
- They offer you a property to rent on worse terms than they would to a person who is not disabled
- They treat you less favourably than someone who is not disabled
- During your rental they unreasonably prevent you from using benefits or facilities or don’t allow you to use these facilities in the same way as other tenants do
- You are renting and they evict or harass you for a reason connected with your disability.
Getting the right student accommodation
There is much to consider when choosing a property (see our Guide to Viewings section). Make sure you think about accessibility, parking and your specific needs when looking around.
If you’re disabled, you may have the right to require your Landlord to make certain reasonable changes to the accommodation you are renting. You may also be able to ask them to change their policies in terms of the lease etc. Both of these changes are known as making reasonable adjustments.
Reasonable adjustments may include the following:
- Providing aids and services such as fitting a special door entry system or providing an audio copy of a tenancy agreement for a blind person.
- Changing policies or procedures such as parking, so that a disabled occupier who has difficulty walking can park in front of the property.
- Changing a term in the lease, such as a section which states that ‘tenants can’t make improvements’, which may prevent a disabled person making a disability-related improvement.
What is classed as ‘reasonable’ may depend on the circumstances such as:
- The length and type of your tenancy
- The difference the adjustment will make to you
- Whether the landlord can reasonably afford to make the changes demanded
If the Landlord refuses to make reasonable adjustments then you may be able to take legal action against them. However, you should take specialist advice and consider your options carefully before taking any legal action or incurring any legal costs.
If your Landlord tries to evict you, or increase the rent because of the cost of the adjustment you requested, they could be classed as discriminating against you. If you think you are being discriminated against because you are disabled, or if you are facing eviction, you should immediately seek legal advice e.g. from the Citizens Advice Bureau.
It is important to be aware that if the property is a small dwelling or the landlord owns and lives in the accommodation exceptions can be made:
1. Owner-occupiers letting accommodation privately
If the landlord both owns and lives in the accommodation they are letting, they may choose not to rent it to you because of your disability. However, should they publish an advert or use an agency to rent the property, then they are not allowed to discriminate against your disability.
2. Small dwellings
A small dwelling is where all of the following apply to the property:
- The landlord or their close relative also lives in the accommodation
- You share accommodation with other people who are living there
- There is only space for six people in addition to the landlord.
If the property meets the above requirements, then it is not against the law to discriminate against you because of your disability as the property is classed as a small dwelling.
Spotted an Error?
We aim to provide the best advice about renting student accommodation, with up to date information about the University areas you could be living in. If you have a comment, let us know so we can keep the site up to date for everyone. Many thanks Ed x