Discrimination Act 1995
Disability Discrimation Act came into force in 1995 with the objective to end
the discrimination which many disabled people face in their everyday lives. Since
it's introduction additions to the Act have put greater pressure on companies
to open their doors to the UK's 10 million disabled people.
October 2004 all service providers had to have made made reasonable adjustments
to physical features of their premises to overcome physical barriers to access
of the premises. Examples are:Putting in a ramp to replace steps providing larger,
well defined signs for people with a visual impairment improving access to toilet
or washing facilities.
April 2005 a new Disability Discrimination Act was passed by Parliament, which
amends or extends existing provisions in the DDA 1995, including:
it unlawful for operators of transport vehicles to discriminate against disabled
it easier for disabled people to rent property and for tenants to make disability-related
sure that private clubs with 25 or more members cannot keep disabled people out,
just because they have a disability
protection to cover people who have HIV, cancer and multiple sclerosis from the
moment they are diagnosed
that discrimination law covers all the activities of the public sector
public bodies to promote equality of opportunity for disabled people
Properties in the private sector - Disability Discrimination Act 2005
Legislation came into force on the 6th December 2006 aimed specifically at the
services connected to the provision of housing in the private rented sector as
well as issues relating to the property itself. The relevent clauses of the Act
are in Chapter 13, section 13, clauses 24(a) to 24(k)
Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA), as amended by the Disability Discrimination
Act 2005 (DDA 2005), exists to stop discrimination against disabled people in
the United Kingdom. It gives disabled people new rights in the areas of employment,
property and access to goods, facilities and services
Disability Discrimination Act 2005 (DDA 2005) - PainSmith Legal Update 07 October
Disability Discrimination Act 2005 (DDA 2005) changes
the way that landlords and their agents will be required to react to disabled
tenants. While much of these changes do little to alter the fundamental requirement
for the landlord to respond positively to “reasonable” requests they do shift
the burden somewhat in both evidence and monetary terms.
landlords are required to consider 'reasonable' requests to make alterations to
a property in order to make life easier for a disabled occupant. Provided these
requests are indeed 'reasonable' the landlord should accept them on the understanding
that the tenant will pay for alterations. Ultimately this may largely be to the
landlord's benefit as they will have the use of any such alterations after the
tenant leaves, meaning that they have access to a wider rental market.
though is now subject to change. The amendments contained within the DDA 2005
codify more precisely what is and is not a reasonable request and they, to some
extent, broaden this beyond mere physical alterations to the premises. They also
change the burden of proof in that previously tenants were required to demonstrate
that their landlord had been unreasonable whereas it is now the case that landlords
are required to show that it is the tenants' request that are unreasonable. They
also place the onus on paying for such improvements squarely on the shoulders
of the landlord rather than on the tenant.
Disability Rights Commission (DRC) has published a consultantion document available
on their website at www.drc-gb.org
part of which gives their interpretation of the new rules as they apply to private
landlords. While this is a consultation and there is still a certain amount of
Legal update here
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Discrimination Act 1995 - Disability
Discrimination Act and Stairs - PainSmith* Solicitors
Legal Update 23 May 2007
recent case before the court of Appeal has clarified the position regarding the
Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) and it application to residential premises.
case of Richmond Court (Swansea) Ltd v Dorothy Williams the Court of Appeal was
asked to consider whether Richmond Court had discriminated against Mrs Williams
by refusing consent for her to install a stairlift. Mrs Williams is the owner
of a long leasehold of a third floor flat but, at 81 years old, she has had increasing
difficulty negotiating stairs. She asked her immediate landlord for permission
to install a stairlift in the common stairwell to assist with her mobility problems
which was to be paid for entirely by a Local Authority grant.
was refused even though Richmond Court's head landlord had no objection to the
stairlift being installed. The first judge concluded that discrimination had occurred
and this was appealed to the Court of Appeal. In concluding that no discrimination
had occurred the Court of Appeal raised some very important points.
first of these relates to the duties required in regard to property under the
DDA. An employer is under a positive duty under the DDA to make physical adjustments
to work premises where a physical feature puts a disabled person at a disadvantage.
The same is not true of residential property. Just because an individual is disadvantaged
by some aspect of a property there is not an automatic duty to make adjustments
except for certain minor auxiliary features such as furnishings or door handles.
difference in the legislation attracted sharp commentary from the Court of Appeal
and has been the subject of some criticism in commentary on this case. See for
example "The Legislation Should Raise Its Game" Estates Gazette, 10 February 2007.
second point made by the Court was a criticism of the Judge who initially heard
the case and the way he had reasoned his decision. Usefully, though the Court
set out a 5 stage test which should be used when deciding if there has been discrimination:
the treatment that is alleged to constitute discrimination
the reason for that treatment
if the reason relates to the person's disability
Identify comparable persons to whom the reason does not apply
if the treatment is less favourable than that accorded to comparable persons
was because the treatment of Richmond Court of Mrs Williams did not satisfy all
of these tests that the Court of Appeal concluded that she had not been discriminated
against. Specifically, Richmond Court made clear that no person, whatever the
reason, would ever be allowed to install a stair lift in the property and, as
this was not challenged by Mrs Williams, there was clearly no discrimination in
full judgement of the Court of Appeal in this matter can be found at http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2006/1719.html.
Dr David Smith is a trainee solicitor with PainSmith Solicitors, a niche practice
specialising in residential landlord and tenant law. He can be contacted on 01420
565310 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Solicitors Legal Updates are provided for information only and are not legal advice.
If you do have a legal problem, you should talk to a lawyer or adviser before
making a decision about what to do. You may wish to use the CLS/CDS Directory
(www.justask.org.uk/public/en/directory) to locate an adviser. The information
provided here is written for people resident in, or affected by, the laws of England
and Wales only. You should note that date given in the update and be aware that
the information given may become inaccurate due to changes in the law or its implementation.
PainSmith Solicitors are a niche practice specialising in Landlord and Tenant
Law. Based in Medstead in Hampshire, they are ideally situated to provide an efficient
service to clients nationwide as well as those based in Central London and the
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courtesy of PainSmith Solicitors are a
niche practice specialising in Landlord and Tenant Law. Based in Medstead in Hampshire,
they are ideally situated to provide an efficient service to clients nationwide
as well as those based in Central London and the Home Counties.
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