Disability Grants – applicable before tenancy commences?

Disability Grants – applicable before tenancy commences?

9:12 AM, 5th April 2021, About 4 months ago 5

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We have a couple of ground floor flats, a one bed and two bed which up to now have been let to fully able-bodied tenants who have no special mobility requirements.

Both tenancies will be ending shortly and I am acutely aware that these are sought after properties as a direct result of being directly accessible from the street and are considering adapting them for disabled tenants.

From the research so far, it seems like any grants that a landlord can apply for seem to be only applicable AFTER a tenant has moved in. I was planning to make the flats as adaptable as possible before as there may well be some significant/disruptive works that may need doing.

Has anyone done this before? I’d welcome any advice or pointers please.

Reluctant Landlord



Comments

by colette

17:49 PM, 5th April 2021, About 4 months ago

Disability grants have to be made by the disabled person, after a social work assessment and physio assessment on the disabled person, and a building assessment by the local authority. As far as I know you cannot apply for a grant beforehand as you cannot know what the prospective tenant's requirements are, and at this time there tends to be long waiting lists for the work to be done in any event and they are being extremely tight with any funding.

by Jessie Jones

9:21 AM, 10th April 2021, About 4 months ago

Councils are generally desperate for such accommodation for people on their housing priority lists.
In my own area, the Council will 'rent to rent' some properties so that they can house some people. They undertake any necessary repairs and return the property to the landlord in a similar state at the end of the agreement period. The council becomes the landlord, but the owner still has a duty to keep the structure of the building in order. The council will do all the minor repairs. In my area, the Council pay less than the market rent to the property owner, but in return the owner gets a guaranteed income, irrespective of whether the property is tenanted. They are only interested in long term contracts.
It sounds to me like you have properties that the council may well want to have on their books. See if you can negotiate a deal with them whereby you get the return that you want, and they make the adaptions for the disabled person they might have in mind.
Not all councils are the same, and to be fair, I wouldn't deal with my local council in this way as they don't operate in a fair manner, but hopefully your council don't have this reputation.

by golden girl

9:01 AM, 12th April 2021, About 4 months ago

The reply from Colette is correct, I worked for a LA in that department for 16 years. The grant is for the person and the amount awarded is specifically based on that person's needs. You will also need to agree that the tenant can live there for no less than 5 years. That 5 year agreement is more to do with the funding, as it enables the tenant to reapply for more funding if they have a degenerative disability. Not all LA's enforce that part, so check with your LA.
If you did basic adaptations i.e. wet floor shower room/door widening to increase your chances of letting it to a person with a disability, you will not be able to back claim for the works carried out.
Have conversations with the various LA departments as they do need basic adapted properties for temporary accommodation i.e. people coming out of hospital as it helps to reduce the problems with bed blocking

by DSR

10:15 AM, 12th April 2021, About 4 months ago

thanks all - I have already received a call back from the Housing Dept as a result of an online request, but it seems that it is case of the tenant moving in first then applying for any adaptions. Seems ridiculous to me as they wouldn't want to take an AST on an unsuitable place for their needs in the first place, especially without the guarantee that any adaptions could be made. A short sighed view in my option as I would have no problem at all making adaptions first if a longer term if the Council had such tenants and required a 5 year minimum tenancy. Just goes to show these LA's really just want LL's to simply house people and get them off the housing list. No long term strategy at finding the right place for the right person = happy tenant = happy landlord, never mind actually being cheaper for the LA!

by colette

11:35 AM, 12th April 2021, About 4 months ago

I think you need to take into account there are many types of disabilities which is why grants are person specific, not property specific. A disability could mean lower kitchen counter tops, taps, wet room, ramps , lifts, and other expensive stuff etc or just simply an enclosed wide shower or a ramp It is taxpayer's money. On the whole those with disabilities are much higher up on council waiting lists so do not have to wait too long for accommodation or alterations to their council or other accommodation. In addition they legally require a formal assessment from a qualified individual and councils use in house workmen or put out to tender.


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