New figures demonstrate scale of adapted homes challenge, says NRLA

12 Aug 2021 10:46 AM

The proportion of private rented households with someone aged 65 or over living in them has increased by almost 45 per cent over the last decade according to new analysis of Government data.

The figures come as the NRLA warns that not enough is being done to help landlords access financial support to adapt properties to meet the needs of older people or disabled tenants.

A quarter (over one million) of all private rented households in England have someone living in them with a long-term illness or disability. Despite this, official data shows that 25 per cent of all private rented households which require adaptations say their accommodation is not suitable to meet their needs.

This trend has been driven by a substantial increase in the number of older private renters over the course of the past decade. Government data shows that between 2009/10 and 2019/20 the number of private rented households with residents aged 65 or over has increased by 44 per cent.

Tenants and landlords are eligible for financial support, including through the Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG), which funds necessary adaptations of properties. However, a survey of landlords has found that 79 per cent did not know that DFGs existed. Once they were made aware of the Grant, 68 per cent said they would be more willing to make adaptations where required.

The NRLA calls on local authorities to work with collaboratively to raise awareness among landlords of the financial support available to make the adaptations that many tenants need. Likewise, it also suggests landlords consider how to ensure their properties meet the growing needs of tenants requiring adaptations. Moreover, landlords should recognise the important market that now exists for such properties.

It comes as the NRLA will today be hosting a webinar with a panel of experts considering how best to support the sector to make the adaptations that are needed.

Meera Chindooroy, Deputy Policy Director for the NRLA said:

“With rapidly growing numbers of older and disabled renters we need to do much more to ensure they, and their landlords, have the support needed to ensure homes are fit for purpose.

“Although financial support to make adaptations is available, it is not being advertised anywhere near enough to local landlords by councils. We call on them to work with the NRLA to raise awareness of the help available to ensure that private rented homes are best equipped to meet the needs of all tenants who want to live in them."