Department for Work and Pensions
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Publication of DWP Research Report 429

Publication of DWP Research Report 429

DEPARTMENT FOR WORK AND PENSIONS News Release (Reference No: DRC-3) issued by The Government News Network on 24 May 2007

prepared by the DEPARTMENT FOR WORK AND PENSIONS Work Welfare and Equality Group

Landlords' responses to the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) A research report published today by the Department for Work and Pensions explores landlords' awareness of and responses to the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), looking particularly at issues relating to changes to policies and procedures and adjustments. The research follows a report published in March looking at 'Organisations' responses to the DDA'(DWP report 410).

Key Findings

* There is a clear divide between the social landlords (local authorities and housing associations) and the private-sector landlords (letting agents and private landlords) in terms of policy, experience, and practice.

* Local authorities and housing associations had a good awareness of DDA legislation in general, although awareness of the duties for landlords was lower. There was very low awareness amongst the private-sector landlords of disability legislation, and little awareness of the new DDA duties for landlords.

* Local authorities and housing associations were making a wide range of adjustments and arrangements for disabled tenants which often surpassed the requirements of the new DDA duties; these included making physical adjustments to properties, adjusting policies, practices and procedures, and providing auxiliary aids.

* Letting agents and private landlords had made some adjustments to policies, practices and procedures on request. There were a small number of examples where landlords, (or letting agents on their behalf) had provided auxiliary aids, and there was generally a willingness to make adjustments, within reason.

* All landlords agreed that the key benefit of making adjustments was to enable their tenants to stay in their homes. Social landlords viewed this as part of their target to serve the diverse community. For private landlords the primary motivation was to keep tenants, as it guaranteed a regular income from their rent.

* The DDA duties for landlords were felt to have little potential impact on the social housing sector, although the DDA more generally had brought about a considerable change in policy and practice. Private landlords generally felt that the DDA duties would rarely apply to them.

* Disabled tenants felt that the duties could assist them in the future. They would require more information, advice and support around the DDA duties in order to be able to use them effectively.

Notes for editors

1. The DDA duties on landlords which existed prior to December 2006 cover the following:

* Prospective tenants - it is unlawful for landlords to discriminate against a disabled person in the terms with which they offer to let the premises, by refusing to let the premises to the disabled person, or in their treatment of the disabled person in relation to any list of persons in need of premises.

* Current disabled tenants - it is unlawful for landlords to discriminate in the way they permit the disabled person to make use of any benefits or facilities, or by refusing to permit the disabled person to make use of the facilities, or by evicting the disabled person or subjecting the disabled person to any other detriment.

The new DDA duties for landlords came into force in December 2006:

* There is a requirement for landlords or managers of premises to make adjustments to policies, practices and procedures, and to provide auxiliary aids and services on request. Requests from tenants need to be clear but need not be in writing, or refer to the DDA.

* There is no DDA duty to make adjustments to physical features, either to the let premises or to common parts of buildings.

2. The research was based on 45 in-depth interviews: five interviews with landlords' stakeholder organisations, 25 interviews with landlords, and 15 interviews with disabled tenants and was conducted by the Institute for Employment Studies.

3. The Prime Minister's Strategy Unit report, 'Improving the Life Chances of Disabled People', published in January 2005, set out the Government's strategy for disabled people. It included some 60 recommendations for improving disabled people's lives, focusing on four key themes: early years, the transition from childhood into adulthood, employment and independent living. The Office for Disability Issues (ODI) was launched in December 2005 to drive this strategy forward and report publicly on the progress being made. The ODI also provides leadership within Government on disability rights.

4. Research Report 429 - Landlords' responses to the Disability Discrimination Act is published today in the DWP Research Report Series. A summary and copy of the report are available on the DWP website at http://www.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd5.

Textphone: 020 7238 0788
Website: http://www.dwp.gov.uk

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