Reasonable adjustments to common parts consultation. Inclusion London’s Response
Read our summary and download our full response
In June 2022 the Equality Hub launched a consultation into implementing Section 36 of the Equality Act 2010. We are still awaiting their response as of September 2023.
Below is a summary of our response from 2022.
There is a huge shortage of accessible housing in England. We welcome any measures that have the potential to improve accessibility of homes. We have been calling for bringing Section 36 and Schedule 4 of the Equality Act 2020 into force for many years and we believe this is a positive step.
However, we think this measure is insufficient and more strategic approach to making common parts of the building accessible is needed.
If more accessible new homes will be built, the less there will be a need for adaptations under sec 36. This is why we welcome the commitment to mandate higher accessibility standards for new built homes.
Our key concerns related to section 36 are:
Making Disabled people pay for the adjustments to common parts, their maintenance and removal will severely restrict the number of people who are able to benefit from these provisions. We are especially concerned about those who
- Need adaptations which are more expensive than what can be paid for through Disabled Facilities Grant;
- Do not qualify for DFG, because of the means-test but nevertheless cannot afford the adaptations;
- People whose financial circumstances change and they can no longer afford the maintenance;
We strongly believe policies to improve accessibility should not place financial administrative or other burden on Disabled people.
We are also generally concerned that the provisions of Section 36 place a lot of burden and responsibility on Disabled people and the consultation questions do not ask about the assistance Disabled people may need within this process.
Disabled people might need help to
- Understand their rights under these provisions;
- Understand and identify the best reasonable adjustments option for them. Not everyone can get support from local authority,
- Understand how to calculate a cost estimate to assess whether the adjustment is affordable. Know where to get support with drawing up plans. Some adjustments might require input from professionals with different expertise. Disabled people may need help to find those professionals.
We are also concerned about the need to remove adaptations. We understand there may be rare circumstances when this may be necessary, because adaptations are very individualised. However, if the adaptations made as a result of section 36 duty make the building more compliant with the requirements of part M of building regulations, there should not be a responsibility to remove them.
Download: Reasonable Adjustments to Common Parts, Section 36 Consultation Response