Adaptations for Tenants


The Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) is, in theory at least, quite straightforward. It provides money (in the form of a grant) to pay for adaptations (facilities) in the home of someone with a disability. The main requirements are set out in the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 and provide a statutory right to make a grant application across all tenures.  

In practice, however, tenants often have a very different experience depending on the status of their landlord – and different to those who own their home. 

These pages look at how the legislation, regulations and guidance differs for tenants of private landlords, housing associations and local authorities (council housing), what data tells us about current practice, and how some areas are seeking to do things differently. 

Comparing Tenure Profiles 

The English Housing Survey periodically looks at the accessibility of housing in England. The 2014/15 survey looked at the circumstances of households that had a person/s with a long-term limiting illness or disability that required them to have adaptations in their home, including whether these households had the adaptation they require and the suitability of their home. 

The data shows that private renting households with a long-term disability are most likely to live in an unsuitable home; in fact, more than twice as likely as an owner occupier. There are also significant proportions of tenants in social housing, either local authority or housing association that still live in unsuitable homes. 

Proportion of households with a long-term disability who say that they live in unsuitable accommodation, by tenure, 2014-15 

Source: English Housing Survey, full household sample 

Further analysis shows that the numbers of households requiring adaptations has generally decreased since 2011/12, apart from those living in a housing association property. 


Proportion of households that required one or more adaptation to be installed, by age and tenure, 2011-12 and 2014-15  

English Housing Survey, full household sample

The survey also looked at the number of homes in England had all four accessibility features that provide visitability: level access to the entrance, a flush threshold, sufficiently wide doorsets and circulation space, and a toilet at entrance level.  

Housing Association homes are most likely to have all four features, and private rented most likely to have none. 


Number of visitability features by tenure, 2014 

English Housing Survey, dwelling sample 


Well over half of the homes in the private rented sector aren't feasible or would require major works to make fully visitable. That compares with over half of owner occupied homes which could be made fully visitable with minor or moderate works.  


Level of work required to create full visitability, by tenure, 2014 

English Housing Survey, dwelling sample 


DFG Data 

From annual data returns, we know that the majority of DFGs are awarded to owner-occupiers. In 2016/17 tenants received 41.7% of DFGs approved. However, even though there are now more privately rented than socially rented homes in England there were four times as many DFGs approved to housing association tenants. The figures also show that the proportion of DFG being awarded to tenants has increased from 37.4% in 2010/11. 

These figures do not include council housing tenants as their adaptations are funded differently. 

DFG applications by tenure, 2010/11 - 2016/17 

Foundations analysis of DFG returns

Data from a freedom of information request suggests that tenants are more likely than owners to make a successful application for a DFG – particularly for housing association tenants. 


DFG enquires approved/closed 2017/18 

Foundations FOI request 2018


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