In a judgment released on 2 April 2020, the High Court ruled that when processing an application for a disabled facilities grant (DFG) councils must treat council tenants on the same basis as occupiers who own their own homes.
The case involved a disabled council tenant who applied for a DFG to install a platform lift from the garden to street level. Her council, the London Borough of Islington, refused on the grounds that the works were not reasonable or practicable because they deemed the flat unsuitable for a disabled person. Instead, it offered to move the family to another property designed for disabled people.
However, the Judge rejected Islington’s case that it had to consider whether the flat was suitable for a disabled person saying: “one cannot import the notion of suitability of housing into the statutory test for DFGs” and that in his judgment “…it is not lawful to refuse a DFG on the ground that the claimant must move her home”.
Although this particular case involved a disabled adult, Steve Broach who is a barrister and disability and children’s advocate, thinks that by extension it will also apply to DFG applications made on behalf of disabled children.