Canadian Realestate Magazine forum is the place for positive industry interaction and welcomes your professional and informed opinion.

Demand for accessible rental housing options?

Notify me of new replies via email
Scott | 05 Apr 2015, 07:05 PM Agree 0
Hi, folks,

I'm wondering, with the growing population of Canadians with disabilities, has anyone noticed a demand for accessible rental housing options?

I'm thinking in terms of physical access such as wheelchair ramps and lifts as well as structural improvements to homes like wheelchair accessible bathrooms and wider door frames in order to accommodate wheelchairs.

If so, how are these adaptions/accommodations to the house usually funded? Do investors rent accessible properties at a premium? Does the local government provide grants or forgivable mortgages for these changes?

I would appreciate any and all information on this issue. I see the population of people with disabilities as an under served market and I would like to be at the front of developing this market for future potential tenants.

Many thanks!
  • pete | 10 Apr 2015, 12:03 AM Agree 0
    Hey Scott

    You have started an impressive discussion here.Well that's true that there's a raise in population with disabilities in Canada.
    Yeah there are many programs which Canadian government is running to provide grants & many websites shares data for such programs.

    Hope it will be helpful for you.


  • Scott | 12 Apr 2015, 02:51 PM Agree 0
    Nuts - forgot my password.

    Ok, I have found some programs but they are not the easiest to understand. Manitoba Housing has "Residential Adaptations for Disabilities Program: Increasing mobility, safety and independence for Manitobans with a disability." You can Google to pull it up.

    Under available assistance,

    "Up to $16,000 for eligible adaptations may be available to qualified homeowners or landlords. If the property is located in a northern or remote community, up to $19,000 may be available to qualified homeowners or landlords. If the adaptations exceed $3,500 a medical certificate is required."

    Under Important Notes,

    - Financial assistance doesn't have to be paid back as long as the house is not sold within 5 years OR the unit is leased to eligible tenants at an agreed upon amount for 5 years.

    - Work must be directly related to the client's disability and be permanent.

    - You are responsible for any work that exceeds the financial assistance available under the Residential Adaptations for Disabilities program.

    - Work done before program approval is not eligible for financial assistance.

    With regards to the above, it seems that I may have to have a tenant with a disability before I can apply for funding. I was hoping to make every suite as "accessible" as pricing and equipment permitted. The price of doing this would definitely be more than $3,500.

    ** Regarding costs, some costs are hard to pin down as it depends on the property and the types of accommodations required. The one thing I have been able to track down is visual fire alarms for deaf/hard of hearing individuals.

    One alarm is $143 plus tax. I ordered one and I will discuss the costs of installing with the electrician we use as the alarm has to be hard wired into the buildings electric system. In Winnipeg a residential home requires one smoke detector/alarm per floor, however a deaf/hard of hearing person needs to see the alarm to realize it's going off. If that individual is in the bathroom and the visual fire alarm is in the bedroom, it won't do any good. For that reason I am assuming that a suite rented to a deaf tenant is going to need one alarm in the bedroom, one in the bathroom and one in the kitchen/dining room. That's 3 alarms at $143 each plus the cost of installation.

    The only negative I am finding with visual fire alarms that employ strobe lights to alert deaf/hard of hearing people to fires is that the flashing lights may trigger seizures in some people. I don't know how common that is or how severe the seizure caused by a strobe light would be as opposed to a seizure caused by heatstroke for example.

    Given the cost and the potential risk, rather than having all the suites in a building equipped with visual fire alarms (this might be more cost effective if volume pricing for the alarms and electrical work was offered) the visual fire alarm might need to just be in the suite rented by a deaf/hard of hearing tenant and perhaps the common areas such as lobby and hallways.

    Does anyone else have any experience with this issue?

Post a reply