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Rights proposed for disabled to adapt common parts

13 January 2011

Scottish ministers are proposing to give disabled people rights in relation to adaptation of common parts of residential buildings, under powers conferred by the Equality Act 2010.

A consultation just published asks for views on regulations that would use the current right of private rented tenants to adapt their homes as a general model for regulations providing a new right to adapt common parts.

Equality legislation is reserved to Westminster but s 37 of the 2010 Act confers the necessary powers on Scottish ministers to make regulations.

There would be no absolute right to adapt a property, as this would conflict with other owners' right to the use of their property. A disabled person would need to seek the consent of the other co-owners of the common parts, but it will be provide that owners cannot unreasonably refuse to consent.

The current legislation for private tenants confers a right to adapt their property to meet the needs of a disabled person, and landlords cannot unreasonably refuse consent to the work. However landlords can make consent subject to reasonable conditions (for example, that an adaptation should be removed at the end of a tenancy), and can take account of specific factors when deciding whether consent is reasonable.

If a landlord fails to respond to a written request within one month they will be treated as refusing to consent; and tenants have a right of appeal to the sheriff.

The disabled tenant is responsible for the cost of carrying out the work, but may be able to claim a grant to help with some or all of the cost.

Click here to access the consultation. The closing date for submissions is 1 April 2011.

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