adaptable home

1st April 2022 • My Family Our Needs

Too many tenants are facing delay and frustration according to a brand-new report that examines the workings of adaptations for social housing tenants. 

The ‘Housing Associations and Home Adaptations: Finding Ways to Say Yes’ report provides recommendations for housing associations, local authorities, central government, and the Housing Regulator to sort out the confusion about funding and improve the speed and effectiveness of home adaptations delivery. 

It provides practical solutions to put disabled and older tenants at the heart of decision making, an inclusive approach to services, and for home adaptations to be part of the new customer-focused inspection regime. 

The research identifies: 

  • Good practice, particularly in LSVTs that control their own adaptations budgets, those fully engaged with their disabled and older tenants, or where there are effective partnership arrangements. 
  • Issues in funding and delivery including splits in legal responsibility, a confusing pattern of funding, a post code lottery in the type of services provided, complex customer journeys and frustration for staff in local authorities and associations. 
  • Rather than saying ‘yes’ to adaptations, barriers are often placed in the way and adaptations may be refused, especially in general needs properties. They may also be removed unnecessarily when tenancies change. 
  • Moving home is not easy if a home is unsuitable or not possible to adapt. 
  • Not enough accessible homes are being built and adapted homes are not recycled effectively. Asset management databases are sometimes incomplete, there are few accessible housing registers, void times are too short, and there is not enough support to match people to properties or provide help with moving. 
  • Home adaptations lack importance – although disabled tenants form a substantial part of housing association populations, most associations see adapting homes as a minor operational issue. It is not part of a strategic plan to make the stock work for everyone. 
  • A lack of disabled people working in the sector – a National Housing Federation Survey in 2021 showed that disabled people are under-represented as staff members, not visible as leaders in the sector, and only 4.8% of board members identified as disabled. 

Thanks to partners Habinteg and Anchor Hanover and the continued support of Taylor Wimpey Foundations Independent Living Trust commissioned this new guidance which examines the current situation and makes key recommendations for improving delivery. 

Paul Smith, Director of Foundations, the national body for Home Improvement Agencies and DFG, said, ‘Following the publication of the Independent Review of DFG in 2018 we wanted to take a deeper dive into the workings of adaptations for social housing tenants. We knew that the housing world had changed significantly from the previous guidance in 2008 and that too many tenants were facing delay and frustration.’ 

Copies of Housing Associations and Home Adaptations: Finding Ways to Say Yes can be downloaded at: https://www.foundations.uk.com/library/housing-associations-and-home-adaptations/