Adapted Car Hire News Updates: Accessibility issues hamper flat hunting, BBC report suggests
Journalist and wheelchair user Paul Carter has demonstrated the difficulties many disabled people can face when searching for an accessible apartment.
For the BBC’s Inside Out programme, Paul went undercover in Bath to show how difficult finding suitable accommodation can be, even when highlighting to the agent that accessibility is an important issue.
“I phoned 20 different letting agents in Bath to try to find a house,” Paul said.
“Out of those, I only managed to book five viewings for properties that were supposedly suitable for my needs. In reality, just one of them turned out to be accessible and that was a brand new build.”
The biggest problem, according to Paul, is a lack of understanding or information from agents of what constitutes “accessible” accommodation.
“Of course, it would be unfair to suggest all estate agents should be qualified access auditors or experts in disability, but just being able to tell a customer whether or not a property has steps at the entrance or not can avoid a wheelchair user making a completely wasted journey for a viewing. Sadly, this routinely happens.”
The properties Paul was shown included a Georgian town house, which required climbing three stone steps just to get into the foyer, and another apartment that was too small to manoeuvre a wheelchair.
However, Paul does not entirely blame the agents and feels there is a general lack of accessible accommodation in the UK despite 11 million disabled people living here.
He has made some recommendations estate agents could easily implement to make the process of finding an accessible place to live easier for disabled people such as publishing details of each property’s accessibility online.
If you are currently looking for an accessible apartment, consider renting an adapted or wheelchair accessible vehicle from Adapted Vehicle Hire to take the hassle out of one aspect of your search.