Despite the issues raised by the recent Malcolm case, landlords are reminded that their obligation to make their premises ‘disability-friendly’ is not unlimited.
A recent case in the Court of Appeal dealt with a situation in which a disabled tenant requested consent for a stairlift to be installed in the building where she lives. The tenant lives on the third floor of the building and the only access to her flat is a communal staircase. The landlord refused the request and the tenant claimed that the refusal constituted discrimination on the grounds of disability and was therefore a breach of the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) (now the Equality Act)..
The landlord argued that there was no discrimination and that the refusal was not based on disability. The landlord would have refused such a request from any tenant.
The Court of Appeal agreed. When examining the reasons why the landlord refused the request, it was clear that none of these related to the tenant’s disability. Whilst landlords are obliged to make their premises DDA (EA) compliant, this does not impose a duty to make physical adjustments for tenants.