The Rightmove to clearer online accessibility information

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The Rightmove to clearer online accessibility information

Rightmove's first steps towards a new standard for clearer, online, information provision on accessibility features in the private rented sector.

Rightmove new standard for accessible features property information

Improving Accessibility Information within Property Listings.

Rightmove has begun work with AccessiblePRS to create a new standard for clear, online, information provision of accessibility features within property listings. Until now, there has been no effective way to search for, or filter property listings for accessibility features, creating a frustrating and excluding experience for renters with accessibility needs.

Rightmove's awareness campaign starts by providing a guide on how to apply a new standard and key phrases to use, as well as signposting Letting Agents to the AccessiblePRS Accessible Letting Scheme (launching soon) and Training. Advocating a single standard will help wheelchair users identify what search phrases to use to filter suitable properties. It is a first step in the journey to normalising accessibility within mainstream property letting.

To this end, Rightmove has produced an Accessibility Guide for their Letting Agents. You can download this here:
Rightmove Accessibility Guide
Rightmove Accessibility Guide.
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Why can't Rightmove just add an "Accessible Property" filter?

Rightmove has over 20,000 agents using more than 800 different types of feeds to upload properties to their property platform, meaning changes need to be fully thought through. Given how inaccessible the UK housing stock is, it is an unrealistic expectation to ask untrained letting agents to identify and classify properties as accessible, and expect the results to successfully meet the needs of disabled searchers.

Therefore, Rightmove is implementing a first step of standardising key-phrases, and running an awareness campaign for them - instead of implementing filters which, without a change in agents' understanding of access needs, risk being used incorrectly and producing false negative search results. They are also raising awareness for the AccessiblePRS Accessible Letting Scheme and Training.

The benefits of starting with key phrases include their data analysts ability to monitor their use and adjust awareness campaigns accordingly, so know when the introduction of filters will be effective.

What are the Rightmove accessibility key phrases?

After consultation, Rightmove has decided on the following key phrases for agents and disabled searchers to use on their platform:

  1. “Step free access to property”
  2. “Wheelchair accessible parking”
  3. “Level access throughout property”
  4. “Wet room within property”
  5. “Step free access into garden”
These have been chosen for two reasons: (1) they are factual and provide clear information that is relevant for accessibility, and (2) it avoids the false negatives from words or phrases which can be used differently - e.g. "This charming cottage is accessible to the M4" where both "accessible" and "M4" have more than one usage.

Rightmove's search filter results bring up those listings with the whole phrase first, rather than picking out individual words - such as "access" or "property". 

Below the key phrase matched properties, results include all properties that meet the original search. This is so that properties which may be suitable, but don't have the correct terms applied, aren't excluded. For disabled searchers, this means that a property that may be suitable is not lost to them - e.g. one that has a step at the entrance, but which could be easily ramped.

The case for Chestertons.

AccessiblePRS is working with Chestertons, London's largest estate agent, who are leading the industry and embracing inclusion. Watch the Rightmove webinar on Accessibility with Guy Harris (Director, AccessiblePRS) and Richard Davies (Head of Lettings, Chestertons), hosted by Lisa Gray. Chestertons are the launch partners for our Accessible Letting Scheme.

As we emerge from Covid-19 and lockdowns, the conversation around inclusion in property is changing. It is no longer acceptable to overlook and exclude older and disabled renters from the housing market. In the private rented sector, this mean reimagining how we offer our properties and services and collaborating to create a single standard.

Chestertons will shortly announce the series of actions they are implementing to level the field for disabled renters. This paves the way for an inclusive private rented sector standard for all agents.