13:11 PM, 15th June 2022, About A year ago
Kemi Badenoch, Minister for Equalities and Levelling Up Communities, has released a consultation for regulations to make it a duty for landlords to respond to requests from disabled tenants wishing to make communal spaces outside their rental properties more accessible. Click here to respond
We want to see disabled people of all ages and abilities get improved access to the labour market and play a fuller role in recreational and social activities, as well as accessing goods and services more easily. There are a number of ways the government can help with this – working with employers, improving the effectiveness of the benefits system and public transport for example, but arguably most important is ensuring that disabled people are able to access and leave their homes as easily and safely as possible, since without this, so many things become impossible.
People without disabilities can sometimes take such things for granted and it is a high priority of the government to level the playing field wherever possible, so that disabled people are not put at a substantial disadvantage compared with others. A Conservative government first introduced the reasonable adjustments duty in 1995, which required, among other things, service providers to make adjustments so that disabled customers or people wishing to use their services could do so more easily. This duty has been a great success and led to other advances, including in the field of housing, where a duty was later placed on landlords to allow disabled tenants and occupants to make adjustments to their private dwellings where this was reasonable.
Yet it was recognised that the government could go even further and so in 2010 the (then newly-introduced) Equality Act included provisions to extend the duty to the common parts of residential leasehold properties – typically blocks of flats. There have been challenges to reaching the point where these provisions can be implemented in England and Wales, as the government has needed to take account of burdens, costs and other priorities, but I am delighted that we have now reached a point where implementation of the provisions can soon proceed. We want this to be a success and to work for all interested parties and that means ensuring that we get the details of implementation right and set these out in regulations where necessary.