Landlords and property owners often overlook disabilities when designing and renovating their rental space. It could be a great opportunity for you to maximise your profits!
You want your listing to stand out from the crowd and draw people’s attention, a unique way to do that and get those extra bookings is to be as inclusive as possible – make your property disability friendly.
You may think that becoming more accessible and disability friendly sounds expensive and unachievable for your space, however, even making smaller and suitable changes to your property will unlock its potential and help service a wider audience.
Let’s check out some of the ways that you can make your short-term rental disability friendly:
Install a Ramp
The first issue you need to tackle with your rental property is; can your guests with low mobility or wheelchair and scooter users access the property?
If not, you’ll need to install a ramp at the entrance.
If your space is within an apartment block, speak to your building management and address the situation and importance of a ramp to enter the building, usually, they are happy to comply with disability friendly standards.
If you don’t have a ramp, then you can order one online or buy a suitable wheelchair ramp from your local mobility shops. You should find that appropriate ramps are relatively inexpensive (around £20-50).
This might not apply to your short-term rental if you have a single-story bungalow or apartment. However, if your property has multiple levels and stairs, you could still become more disability friendly – here’s how:
Focus on creating your guest experience on the ground floor, unless you have an easy and hassle-free way for guests to move around upstairs too, such as, a lift.
If not, make sure that you can accommodate your disabled guests with all essential features of the rental downstairs. Include a bathroom and shower, kitchen and sleeping space on the ground floor so that your guests can make use of the main amenities on one floor.
If you haven’t already, remove your permanent carpet and replace with hardwood flooring and tiles. If you guest uses a wheelchair or a scooter, this will be really important for them to move around with ease.
Expand your Doorways
Be considerate when thinking of your wheelchair and scooter guests, they’ll need wide doorways and clear spaces to enter and maneuver around a room. Also, some doors are not feasible for your users so consider slide doors or archway features.
Expanding your doorways will help your guests move around more easily.
Not to mention, it could also be beneficial to your interior design and add extra natural light to your home.
Go Access UK recommends that door width standards for wheelchair access needs to be over 32.5 inches (825 mm). Check out more of their disability friendly information.
The main, if not all, bathrooms should be equipped with an open and wide easy access shower, with no step or elevation from the ground, so that wheelchair users can access the shower without assistance, if they wish to.
Inside of your shower space, it should be equipped with grab bars for support, as well as fixed or mobile seating, adjusted to your guest’s height requirements.
Secondly, focus your attention to the toilet itself and the surroundings. You should renovate at least one bathroom within your space to be specifically accessible for your disabled guests.
More Ability (UK) suggests that your accessible toilet seat should vary between 440mm – 500mm and are most commonly installed at 450mm, slightly higher than standard toilets. It’s important to install grab bars to help assist individuals when getting up from the toilet seat.
Don’t forget to install a disability alarm with easy to reach access points all around the bathroom walls. That way, if your guest becomes impaired or has fallen over, they can alert someone within the home or outside to assist them.
Check out this article to find out more about disabled bathroom regulations in the UK.
You should keep in mind your disabled guests when it comes to designing or revamping your kitchen space.
Typically, your worktops and surfaces should be lowered with the consideration of wheelchair users. They may need to place their legs and wheelchair under the worksurface when using the counters and worktops.
At a minimum, consider adding an accessible kitchen island. Your island could be mobile and you could move it in or out of the room when needed.
If your goal is to be a fully functioning accessible stay for your guests then you should reconsider renovating to lower your worktops as well as fridges and sink height to one more suitable for wheelchair-bound guests.
Check out our articles to out find more information on how to make your kitchen accessible.
The final tip is to keep up your communication with your guests when discussing their stay. It’s important to remember that all disabilities are different and they do not always have the same requirements.
It’s best to keep an open communication with your guests to find out how to accommodate to them and how to make the property more suitable for their needs.
You may find that you have to source some extra equipment from a local mobility shop, such as specific eating utensils, elevated toilet seats and even baby gates if you have an upstairs and your guest wants access.
The Bottom Line
Whether or not you want to focus your short-term rental market on being 100% disability friendly or just as an additional option; you don’t necessarily have to splash out a lot of cash to become an inclusive host.
Making some adjustments to your space will help you stand out from the crowd and make your listing more competitive than before! If you need help with your property management, or you just need some ideas, take a look at the rest of our articles for more information!