Much of the progress in housing has been made by social landlords – but private landlords are not yet required to make changes. They will face duties under a new law, expected to go through Parliament by the end of 2005.
Private landlords do not have to make physical adjustments, nor are they obliged to allow a disabled tenant to modify a property themselves.
A landlord can presently refuse permission for a tenant to install a stair-lift, even if they are not being asked to pay for it. But if they were to treat the tenant unfavourably because of the request, that would be discrimination.
Physical barriers are also a problematic area of the law. Whereas shops must now be accessible, private accommodation need not. So, at present, a housing manager has no obligation to modify security gates.
The DDA does however cover some aspects of housing. Landlords are guilty of discrimination if they use a "no pets" policy to refuse a tenancy to someone with a guide dog.
A landlord would also be discriminating if he demanded a higher deposit for someone in a wheelchair on the basis they may cause more damage.
HOUSING AND DISABILITY
17,000 disabled people in unsuitable accommodation say landlords have refused modifications
21%of disabled people live in homes with access problems
40% say their housing makes them unnecessarily dependent on others