Accessible Letting Scheme

Welcome - APRS Accessible Letting Scheme

The accessibility standard for mainstream letting.


In the UK, there are currently 1.8m people living with accessibility needs, which includes 1.2m wheelchair users. Additionally, we have an ageing population that will see 1 in 4 of us aged over 65 by the year 2036.

In 2019-20, 4.6m households rented their home from a private landlord, representing 19% of all households in England. Yet according to Commonweal funded Abode Impact research, 91% of wheelchair users experienced barriers accessing the PRS.

Covid-19 has highlighted the urgent need to assist people with additional accessible housing needs. Meanwhile these statistics show the commercial sense to make the mainstream private rented sector inclusive by levelling the playing field for disabled and older renters.

Of the 1.8m people with accessible housing needs, 700,000 are within the top half of income demographics, busting a persistent and erroneous myth that people living with disability are always in need of social and financial support.
 
Scroll down to learn more:
Contents:
- 1. Objectives.
- 2. Overview.
- 3. Property Eligibility.
- 4. Tenants / Searchers
- 5. Landlords.
- 6. Letting Agents & Sign Up form.

APRS Accessible Lettings Scheme

1. Objectives

The purpose of the APRS Accessible Letting Scheme is to:
 
  1. Educate letting agents to understand disabled renters' needs so they can identify properties which may potentially be more accessible.
  2. Train letting agents to provide clearer information to provide online, so that property listings pass "the 3am test" - i.e. can a disabled renter make an informed decision whether to proceed on a property when looking at 3am, without the need to call an agent for further information.
  3. Make these properties searchable by implementing standardised filters and key phrases through property websites and portals.

2. Overview

AccessiblePRS is delighted to launch the Accessible Letting Scheme with Chestertons, one of London's largest letting agencies. We are also grateful to Enham Trust for their support on the APRS Accessible Lettings Scheme. 

The scheme is open to all Letting Agents and requires agents to undertake training in support of the three objectives above. The purpose is to support agents to extend what they already do well for non-disabled renters, by providing structure and standardised actions which are easily implementable.
 
We are also working with property portals and CRM platforms to join all the property listing dots. 

3. Accessible Letting Scheme - Property Eligibility

To uphold the Accessible Letting Scheme standard, relevant property listings require:

  • Floor plans. 
  • Video Tour of the property, including the external approach from the street right up to the front (and rear) entrance door and any other facilities such as garden, refuse, parking, etc.
  • Photos that show more complete information, rather than (or as well as) artistic impressions.
  • Use of standardised key phrases with written descriptions.
  • Use of additional filters: "Step-Free Access" - which includes entry into the building - and "Lateral Living" - which means properties that have a kitchen, living room, bathroom and at least one bedroom on the entry level.
Training will educate how and why these elements are critical for disabled renters to be able to make (and be responsible for) their own decisions about whether a property is likely to meet their needs. 
Lettings Agencies register with the APRS Accessible Lettings Scheme
As a trusted Registered Provider of housing for disabled people, Enham Trust sees daily the positive impact of accessible housing. We fully support this valuable scheme.

Heath Gunn, CEO, Enham Trust

4. Tenants / Searchers

For potential tenants, this is a much needed service improvement. We recognise that our signed-up agents will be learning and gaining greater awareness and this may take a while. Do feedback constructively, and offer positive reviews where they are deserved, as it helps to recognise where people are getting it right and signpost responsive agents to others who come after you.

We (APRS) will also be grateful for feedback, where this scheme has worked well and areas which need addressing, clarifying and improving. Everyone has a responsibility for improving accessibility.

Please note: it addresses the process of finding accessible housing, but does not solve the chronic lack of supply. In our opinion, the government needs to listed to received advice and mandate M4(2) as a minimum planning standard for all new builds, with 10% being to M4(3) standards. 

5. Landlords

This does not create any onus on Landlords. It is the Letting Agency which joins the scheme. Landlords continue to use the services and expertise of their agents, as before. Where Landlords are interested to learn more about accessibility as a strategy, or see the value in providing greater inclusivity within their portfolio, we'd be delighted to start a conversation with you. This is particularly relevant for Build-to-Rent and corporate organisations. Private landlords can also contact the National Residential Landlords Association for further information.

This marks a change in direction, alerting landlords to the importance of accessibility as a consideration for investment properties. With an ageing population, the conversation is growing in both the private sector and also at government and policy levels. Owning an accessible property will expand your target audience, reduce voids and ensure resilient income streams in an area of the market that is chronically short supplied. Additionally, with private landlords often facing negative press, using your investment to help solve a housing crisis has proactive and positive social impact.

6. Letting Agents

Letting Agents we speak with see the commercial sense and welcome a structure to provide an improved service to more tenants.

What will engaging with this scheme do for your letting business? Sign Up below.

  • Differentiate your business from your competitors.
  • Be inclusive. 
  • Train your staff to think differently about properties. The conversation about ageing population and accessibility is growing fast. Knowledge in this area will help you offer greater insight to landlord and investor clients.
  • Help you show greater yields to your landlords, though lower void periods: there's a huge supply & demand imbalance.

6a. Join The Scheme - Sign Up

If you run a Letting Agency and want to register with the APRS Accessible Letting Scheme, please complete our online form (below). Or for more information, please Contact Us

Once we've processed your application, we'll contact you and provide further details, including the online training to support you. There is a fee for the training, but no cost to join the scheme.

Acting on behalf of the above named agency, I/we wish to register with the APRS Accessible Letting Scheme. Acceptance of our registration by AccessiblePRS Ltd, forms a non-exclusive, non-transferable, license agreement between us to use the APRS Accessible Letting Scheme Intellectual Property (including, but not limited to, branding, logos, checklists) for the purpose of providing a more inclusive letting service, as set out by the scheme.

Please read and check each box to agree: