News

Improving housing rights for disabled people

Published: 06 Dec 2019 10:09

Legislation will make housing more accessible.

New regulations will improve equality for people living with disabilities by giving them the right to make communal areas around their home more accessible.

Disabled people will be given the right to remove barriers to access by creating ramps, widening paths and installing hand rails in common areas, with the support of a majority of neighbours.

Under current legislation, a disabled person is unable to make minor accessibility changes to shared areas unless all owners give their consent.

The new regulations will also empower disabled people to challenge others from unreasonably withholding consent to make basic adaptations.

Housing Minister Kevin Stewart said:

“A home with the right support in the right place enables disabled people to live safely and independently, offering a sense of security and improving physical and mental wellbeing.

“This new legislation will widen equality for people living with a disability in Scotland by giving them the right to improve accessibility in shared areas at their home and challenge others from unreasonably withholding consent.

“A first in the UK, this will help achieve a fairer Scotland where disabled people have more equality and the choice, dignity and freedom to access suitable housing and live independently.”

Moira Bayne of charity Housing Options Scotland said:

“Many Housing Options Scotland clients will be delighted by the introduction of this new legislation. The removal of the requirement to have the consent of all sharing owners will make a huge difference to the lives of disabled people.”

Background

The Relevant Adjustments to Common Parts Regulations were laid before Parliament today and, subject to parliamentary scrutiny, are due to come into force on 24 February 2020.

The Equality Act 2010 defines “common parts” in relation to premises as the structure and exterior of, and any common facilities within or used in connection with, the building or part of a building which includes the premises but only in so far as the structure, exterior and common facilities are not solely owned by the owner of the premises.