Accessible Letting Scheme

Welcome to The Accessible Letting Scheme

Standardising accessibility & inclusion for the lettings sector.

APRS Accessible Lettings Scheme

Overview

On 30th November 2023, National Trading Standards published updated guidance for letting agents and landlords to improve material information in property listings. In addition to the guidance on its dedicated webpage, NTSELAT has published short guides for agents, sellers and landlords, and buyers and tenants.

We make it simple for Letting Agents to bring accessibility and inclusion to your business. The housing sector never geared itself towards people with accessible housing needs, neither the supply of suitable homes, nor the processes for them to find those homes. Excluding people is a problem. But here's the good news! As a Letting Agent, you can choose to be a significant part of the solution - one that's designed by a former agent, with over twenty five years in the property sector, nineteen of which as a wheelchair user following a spinal injury.

We've standardised what we're asking you to do, got Zoopla, OnTheMarket and Rightmove on board, and worked with both corporate and independent agents to lead the way! This triple participation of Letting Agents, CRM platforms and property portals / agents websites, means that everyone is stepping up and making the changes together.

What's required for Letting Agencies? Two parts: (1) some I.T. based organisational updates and (2) training your staff. We guide you through both. Please contact Guy Harris for further information.

AccessiblePRS launched The Accessible Letting Scheme with Chestertons, one of London's largest letting agencies, and we've since worked with some incredible people at some fantastic and progressive organisations, including: 
Knight Frank Logo
Chestertons Logo
KFH Logo
Savills Logo
JLL Logo
Charters Logo
Zoopla Logo
OTM Logo
Rightmove Logo
MRI Software Logo
Reapit Logo
Estate Apps Logo
HomeLets Bath Logo
Moving Works Logo
Training for Professionals Logo
The work Guy does aligns with our group values and having had all of our teams now trained by Guy, everyone is excited to be able to be a part of this incredible partnership.

Beverley Kennard, Head of Lettings Operations, Knight Frank

Why is this important and relevant?

In the UK, there are currently 1.8m households that contain at least one person with a disability, 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.

Scheme 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 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, while 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.
Accessible Letting Scheme downloadable PDF brochure

View the Accessible Letting Scheme brochure as a PDF.

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What does joining the Accessible Letting Scheme mean for Agents?

In a nutshell, it's about engaging with the processes of property listings, to create a level playing field for everyone. So we look at:

  • Updating floor plan and photographic briefs, to include relevant details. 
  • Video tours of properties becoming standard is incredible - we still need to include relevant details. 
  • Use of standardised key phrases within written descriptions - some of our members build this into their CRM.
  • Use of three additional, fact-based, property characteristic filters. Rightmove, Zoopla and OnTheMarket are working to the same brief. 
Guy's Accessible Lettings training was illuminating. His insight and clarity provided Chestertons with practical and relatable structure. Our staff fed back positively on the content and delivery.

Richard Davies, Head of Residential Lettings, Chestertons

I'm a Letting Agent. What's in it for me?

The Letting Agents we work with see the commercial sense and welcome our structured approach to provide an improved service to more tenants. Ask yourself this question: "Why would I choose not to be inclusive and seize a learning opportunity?" Engaging with this scheme will:

  • Differentiate your business from your competitors.
  • Drive a broader, more insightful and inclusive expertise on property.  
  • 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.

Does this change anything for Landlords?

The Accessible Letting Scheme creates no onus on Landlords. The Letting Agency is undergoing the training and adding another knowledge layer to their processes. 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. By 2040, there will be more people aged 65+ than there are people of working age in the UK - which will make understanding the implications on Care and Housing essential. 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.

Get in touch. Find out more.

Find out more by completing the form below (Guy Harris will contact you) or clicking on the orange button to schedule an initial Zoom call.
The valuable training that AccessiblePRS provided played to our strengths as letting and managing agents, making it clear what we can do to make searching for properties with accessibility features easier. Great to have it in-person too!

Marcus Arundell, Managing Director, HomeLets Bath

Lettings Agencies register with the APRS Accessible Lettings Scheme