Publication - Advice and guidance

Adapting common areas of property: easy read version

Published: 24 Feb 2020

Easy read guide to accompany the Relevant Adjustments to Common Parts (Disabled Persons) (Scotland) Regulations 2020.

16 page PDF

1.1 MB

16 page PDF

1.1 MB

Contents
Adapting common areas of property: easy read version
How do I change the common areas of my property? : Easy Read

16 page PDF

1.1 MB

How do I change the common areas of my property? : Easy Read

What are 'Common areas?'

Common areas are areas inside and outside your building that other people use.

These are things like the doors, path or steps to and from the building, or places everyone uses like an entrance hall, common room, laundry area, or bin storage.

medium block of flats

This leaflet is for you if:

  • you live in a property with a shared area inside or outside.
  • you need to make changes to the shared area to make it easier for you to get around.
  • you want to know what you need to do, who to speak to and when you need to do it.

person in wheelchair at bottom of stairs

What are 'Relevant adjustments'?

These are adaptations to the building so a disabled person can use the shared areas in the same way as everyone else.

An adaptation is a change.

person in wheelchair with timer and easy read guide

Why have we made this leaflet?

The Scottish Government have made new rules.

The new rules mean disabled people can make adaptations to the shared areas of their property if most owners agree.

Notebook with rules written on it and a tick underneath the word rules, with a Saltire flag in top right corner

An owner can only say no if they have a good reason.

If owners say no you can go to court and ask the Sheriff to decide.

Person, with thumb pointing down, holding a sign with a cross written on it

I rent my home from a private landlord. Can I make changes to the shared areas?

Yes. You have the same rights to make adaptations.

The landlord has the same rights as the other owners in the building.

Person, with thumb pointing up, holding a sign with a tick, with a tenancy agreement document and pen in top right hand corner

Need some extra support?

If you need some support to go through this process you can ask for an advocate to help.

Advocacy services support people to have their views heard.

Two people talking, with their hands outstretched, with a speech bubble coming from the mouth of the person on right hand side

You can find out more about advocacy and find an advocate in your local area, on the Scottish Independent Advocacy Alliance's website at www.siaa.org.uk

On pages 13 and 14 of this guide there are details of other organisations that could help.

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Who pays for the adaptation?

You can pay for it yourself or you can apply for a grant from the council.

A grant is money to be used to make the adaptation.

A pile of money, with notes and coins

You apply for the grant from your council's 'Scheme of Assistance'.

The grant may cover the cost of the adaptation or you may have to pay some of the cost.

This website gives more information: https://www.gov.scot/policies/independent-living/

A hand holding a bundle of money

Where do I start?

If you are applying for a grant contact your local Social Work Service.

Find your local social services online at: www.mygov.scot/social-services/

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They will do an assessment of what you need help with and what you want to change.

The assessment will usually be done by an Occupational Therapist.

You can also ask Care and Repair for help and support if you are applying for a grant or if you are paying for the adaptation yourself.

Person holding pen and notebook, with a checklist of needs at right hand side of picture

Look online to find your local service at:

http://careandrepairscotland.co.uk/office-locations.html

If you do not have a local Care and Repair, your Council will have a similar service.

Open laptop with click written on the screen and cursor

What if the property can't be changed?

Ask your local Social Work Service how to find a home that meets your needs.

It might be better to move to another property.

It would make sure you can live safely and independently.

Picture of a house and also a block of flats, with a person who is pointing to the house

Do I have to tell the other owners in the building about the adaptations?

Yes, you must write to the other owners to tell them you want to change the common area of your building.

You must ask them if they agree or disagree.

Hand holding a pen and writing on envelope, with a stamp in top right hand corner of envelope

If you do not know all the owners you can use the Scottish land registry to find out.

This website will help: www.ros.gov.uk/services/search-property-information

You can order digital copies of title documents for £3.60 A title document tells you who owns the property.

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Some of the properties are rented. How do I find who the landlord is?

A landlord is a person or company that owns the property.

  • Ask the tenants to tell you who their landlord is
  • or go online to use The Scottish Landlord Register.

https://www.landlordregistrationscotland.gov.uk/

Open laptop with click written on the screen and cursor, and a tenancy agreement document with pen in the top right hand corner

If you live in a large block of flats where there are many owners, you could send your letter to the company that looks after the whole property. They are called the factor.

a large block of flats

They may be able to send the letter by email or newsletter to all the people in the properties.

open laptop with a picture of an open envelope, showing a document with email written on it

I tried to get agreement for an adaptation before, but the owners said no. Can I try again?

Yes. The new rules say that owners can't say no unless they have a good reason.

If they don't reply or they say no, you can take your case to the Sheriff and they will make the final decision.

Person, with thumb pointing up, holding a sign with a tick

What do I need to tell the owners?

All the forms you need are in the 'Schedule' section of this website:

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/sdsi/2020/9780111043615/contents

Open laptop with click written on the screen and cursor

  • Fill out the form 'Application For Consent For Relevant Adjustments'.

This explains what changes you want to make.

Person holding a piece of paper with the word Form at the top of the paper and a number of lines and boxes to indicate text are on the paper

  • Get the form called 'Notice Of Decision Of Owner Of A Property With A Share In The Common Parts Of The Premises'.

The owner will fill out this form to say if they agree or disagree with the changes you want to make.

Person sitting at desk with one elbow on top of the desk and hand resting on his face, with two thought bubbles above his head – one with thumbs up and one with thumbs down

  • Send these two forms to all the owners.

Send them by registered post so you have proof they have been delivered to the owners.

The owners must sign to say they have got them.

Customer at post office counter, handing over envelope to the post office member of staff

What if an owner doesn't reply?

If an owner doesn't give you an answer this is the same as them saying no.

Person, with thumb pointing down, holding a sign with a cross written on it

What happens when I have told the owners what changes I want to make?

Owners have one month after they get the forms to tell you if they agree or disagree.

A number of pages from a calendar

You can start the adaptations if:

  • most owners agree and you have completed the 'Notice of Majority Decision' form and sent a copy to all the owners. More information about this form is on page 10.

Person, with thumb pointing up, holding a sign with a tick

  • none of the owners who said no have asked the Sheriff to look at the case
  • the adaptation meets rules and laws about building and fire safety.

This could be things like a building warrant or planning permission.

Notebook with rules written on it and a tick underneath the word rules

What kind of conditions can the owners ask for?

Owners can ask for 'reasonable conditions' to be attached if they agree to the work.

This means they want the work to be done in a certain way.

A single piece of paper with checkboxes and lines to indicate text, with a green tick beside one of the checkbox

There is no list of reasonable conditions but some examples are:

  • Asking that any work should not begin before a certain time in the morning and should finish by a certain time in the evening.

Person looking at the time on his watch with large red tick on the image and a stop watch in the background

  • Equipment being used to make the changes should be taken away at the end of every day and the area should be clean and tidy.

A pile of equipment including a wheelbarrow, cement mixer and bricks

  • Adaptations should, where possible, blend with the area being adapted. An example would be asking for the colour to be the same as the surrounding colour.

You have a 'right to appeal' to the Sheriff if you think the conditions are unfair.

Hand holding a paint roller and painting with green paint

What do I do if most owners say 'yes'?

When the owners reply, and most of them agree you can make the changes, you must fill out the form 'Notice of Majority Decision'.

Person holding a piece of paper with the word Form at the top of the paper and a number of lines and boxes to indicate text on the paper

Send a copy of it to all the owners.

Hand holding a pen and writing on envelope, with a stamp in top right hand corner of envelope

Who makes sure the adaptations are in good working order?

The disabled person must make sure the adaptations are kept in good working order or repaired if needed, unless an agreement has been made with the other owners.

Person holding up their right hand with palm facing to the front, their left hand is on their chest and one figure is pointing to their right hand

What happens if I move to a new property?

If you sell your property and the new owner don't want to keep the adaptation you must take it out or put the property back to how it was before.

Person in a wheelchair, with a picture above their head of a house and block of flats. They are smiling and pointing to the house

How do I appeal to the Sheriff?

You can find more information about how to do this at: https://www.scotcourts.gov.uk/taking-action/summary-applications.

Open laptop with click written on the screen and cursor

You could get advice from your local citizens advice or get your own legal advice from a solicitor.

Picture of a judge with a gavel in front of him, with rows of law books in the background

Details of other organisations that could help are on pages 13 and 14 of this guide.

I took my case to the Sheriff but lost. Why?

This can happen if the Sheriff thinks the adaptation is not fair or it does not meet the rules and laws about building or fire safety.

Hand with thumbs down

Examples of this could be:

  • Asking for a lift to be put in so you can get to your flat on the 4th floor.

Person in a wheelchair waiting outside a lift

  • Asking for a stairlift to be put in but it would make the staircase too narrow for other people.

Picture of a stairlift

What do I do now?

Get advice from your local Social Work Service about getting a home that meets your needs.

Two people facing each other, person on left hand side has a piece of paper in his hand and is showing this to the other person

Advice

Disability Information Scotland
http://www.disabilityscot.org.uk

Has a directory which can help you find legal or other advice services in your area.

Picture of a judge with a gavel in front of him, with rows of law books in the background

Disabled Living Foundation
www.dlf.org.uk

A national charity that gives advice on independent living.

Person standing with a zimmer frame, with a house beside him

Housing Options Scotland
www.housingoptionsscotland.org.uk

Advice and support for disabled people, people who have been in the armed forces and older people on housing problems.

Person in a wheelchair, with a picture above their head of a house and block of flats. They are smiling and pointing to the house

Care Information Scotland
www.careinfoscotland.scot

Information on care services.

Person standing in front of a group of people who work in the care services

Shelter Scotland
https://scotland.shelter.org.uk/

Housing advice including adaptations.

Two people who are looking at a picture which has a house and a block of flats. They are both looking and pointing at the house.

Citizens Advice Scotland
www.citizensadvice.org.uk/scotland

Advice on many different things including housing.

Person in a wheelchair who is starting to go up a ramp


Contact

Email: Housingsupport@gov.scot