Finding an accessible apartment is difficult. Older apartments weren’t built with accessibility requirements in mind, and newer apartments can sometimes cost double the monthly rate you were hoping for. With the demand for accessible apartments rising, a lot of landlords and real estate companies have made an effort to modify apartments to fit at least some of the requirements.
Not all apartments are completely accessible, but in an ideal situation, you’ll be able to find one that will accommodate your needs. Knowing what considerations to make beforehand can help you find exactly what you’re looking for. Always ask questions before you add an apartment to your list of considerations.
If you need to get a wheelchair through a doorway, that doorway needs to be at least 32 inches wide. Knobs can be hard to use, so you’ll want to look for doorways with levers or other handles that are easy to press down. You may even prefer swinging doors that don’t require a handle. The handle will need to be placed at a height that makes it easy to reach from a seated position.
Wheelchairs are difficult to use on thick or padded carpets. Depending on the type of chair, short carpets may be just as difficult. Tile, wood, or linoleum flooring makes for easy navigation throughout an apartment.
For renters who can walk on their own but are prone to slip and fall injuries, the opposite is true. Hard floors can become slippery, making it hard for an individual to maintain their balance. Falls are more likely to cause injury on a solid surface. These individuals will do better in homes that have padded carpeting, which reduces slip risk and softens falls.
Features That Help You
Many things like light switches and thermostats are difficult to reach from the vantage point of a wheelchair. They’re often too high up on a wall to be used. A truly accessible apartment will have these fixtures installed at a lower position on the wall. If not, you may be able to work out a compromise. Bluetooth technology allows lights and thermostats to be controlled through an app on your smartphone. If the apartment is perfect except for switch placement, a small upgrade to smart home technology may resolve the issue.
Apartments with stairs require access ramps for wheelchairs. If the apartment you’re looking at doesn’t offer these ramps, cross it off your list. You may prefer ramps with proper rails, as they’re easier to traverse.
Wheelchair users and people with mobility issues will often need rails in a lot of places – particularly bathrooms. It’s unsafe to use a towel rack as a rail, and you should never consider that to be a reasonable compromise. What about the shower or bathtub? Are the walls equipped with rails? Does it offer a seat? For baths, you’ll want a tub with a door built onto the side.
Starting Your Search
When you’re searching for an accessible apartment on a site like Gumtree, plug in all of the variables you need in an apartment. This includes the location, the amount of bedrooms, and the maximum amount of your budget. Enter “accessible” into your search query, and narrow down your options. When reading the specifications of this apartment, be sure the features and amenities are in line with your considerations.
If you’re having difficulty finding an apartment that’s perfectly accessible to you, speak to the person renting the property about your special requirements. He or she may be able to arrange modification of the apartment that will suit your specific needs.