Helping disabled tenants to make reasonable adjustments to their homes

Andrew Smailes, Stacey Poyner-Smailes and Clewer Court Residents Ltd

A disabled woman needed to make reasonable adjustments to her home, but because she was renting, they were refused by the landlord. We successfully funded this case to clarify whether a term in the lease prohibiting alterations is contrary to the Equality Act. 

Legal issue

Can a disabled tenant make necessary adaptations to their home when the lease forbids this.


Mrs Smailes has a physical disability which restricts her mobility. 

She and her husband bought the leasehold of a flat. The property needed to be substantially adapted to accommodate her needs as a disabled person. 

A term in the lease prohibited physical alterations to the premises and the landlord refused permission to make the alterations.

Why we were involved

We wanted to clarify the law as to whether a term in the lease prohibiting alterations is contrary to the Equality Act. 

This comes within our core objective which is to uphold the system of equality and human rights protections.

What we did

We provided legal assistance for Mrs Smailes. 

What happened

The case was successful. Cardiff County Court ruled that a landlord acted unlawfully by refusing to allow Mrs Smailes to make necessary adaptations to her home. 

The Smailes were awarded substantial damages. 

Who will benefit and how

This ruling helps to protect disabled tenants.

It compels landlords to change a prohibition against alteration in order to enable a disabled tenant to make alterations so as to avoid a substantial disadvantage.

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