Your rights if you're disabled and rent your home

It’s illegal for your landlord to discriminate against you because you’re disabled. Your landlord must make adjustments. They must also provide certain extra services or equipment for the property if you ask for it.

If your landlord is refusing to let a property to you or is avoiding these duties, you can make a complaint. As a last resort you can use the courts to enforce your rights.

Your landlord’s responsibilities

You should be able to live safely and comfortably in your home. You have the same rights whether you rent from a private landlord, letting agent, the council or a housing association.

Your landlord must make any adaptations and provide any reasonable aids or equipment. These are known as auxiliary aids, and they help you or your family member to get the most out of your home. They include:

  • a tenancy agreement in Braille, large print or easy read

  • a ramp if you use a wheelchair

  • any furnishings you need to use the house, such as a raised seat for your toilet

  • accessible taps for the kitchen and bathroom

  • accessible door handles

  • signs (such as fire notices) in Braille or large print

  • a doorbell or entry phone system you can use more easily

  • painting doors and window frames a darker colour so you can see them more easily

  • equipment to help you access any other facilities, such as a ramp to get into the garden or a wider space in the car park

To make things easier at home you can get help with choosing equipment from Disability Information Scotland.

Exceptions to your landlord’s duties

Sometimes it might not be reasonable for your landlord to provide you with adaptations such as aids or equipment. This is when:

  • it's expensive and there are cheaper options

  • they do not have the power to make the change alone and other owners object to it

Your landlord also does not have to provide:

  • mobility aids that help you get about outside your home, like a walking stick or wheelchair

  • fixed adaptations or installations like an accessible shower or bath, known as physical features

Your landlord does not have to provide auxiliary aids if you live with them or if you live in a boarding house.

Get help from a disability rights specialist if you and your landlord disagree on what counts as:

  • an auxiliary aid which they should provide

  • a physical feature which they do not have to provide

For example, a handrail is an auxiliary aid because it's easily removable, but your landlord might see it as a physical feature because it must be attached to the wall.

A specialist could help you negotiate with your landlord on what kind of assistance they must provide.

Getting adaptations done

Ask for your landlord’s permission to get disability-related adaptations or improvements done. Make sure you get anything you’ve agreed on in writing. Your landlord must not refuse permission unreasonably.

We have guidance on getting adaptations done in your home.

If you’re being discriminated against

There are ways you can resolve housing discrimination and services that can help.

Your landlord or letting agent cannot:

  • harass you in any way

  • refuse to rent to you because you’re disabled

  • give you a less secure tenancy because you're disabled

  • refuse to let you keep an assistance dog

  • charge you more rent or deposit than they charge tenants without your impairment

  • refuse to let you use additional facilities which are available to tenants without your impairment

  • evict you because you’re ill or disabled

  • include terms in your tenancy agreement they would not include for someone without your impairment

  • make you wait longer on a council or housing association waiting list because you’re disabled

If you’ve experienced any of these, you can make a complaint.

Follow our guidance on what to do if you’re experiencing housing discrimination.

When discrimination is allowed

Discrimination can sometimes be legal, including if it's:

  • necessary to resolve another injustice

  • in the interests of health and safety

  • the only way that service can be provided

These exceptions cannot be used as an excuse by your landlord. If there’s a way that they could provide the same service without discriminating against you, then the exceptions do not apply.

Contact the Equality Advisory and Support Service if you need help. They can help you work out if the discrimination you've experienced is illegal.

You can also contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau or contact Shelter Scotland for advice on housing discrimination.

Last updated: 9 August 2022

Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.

This content applies to Scotland only.

Get advice if you're in England