Buying, selling, renting and relocating – I've done it all many times over. Because I had one of those careers which meant I had to move every few years, I've lived in nearly every state in Australia more than once. Now retired and settled down, I blog about real estate and the real issues that anyone who is moving comes up against. Full of advice, my blog takes a look at relocating from the point of view of the mover and tries to offer as many insights from my past experiences dealing with lawyers, estate agents, removals firms and other house buyers as possible! Read on if you're moving or thinking about doing so.
Clearly, to have a disability that affects your mobility requires certain provisions to accommodate the disability. When the condition has been lifelong, chances are that these provisions would have influenced numerous decisions in life, such as a choice of where to live—namely a building with an appropriate level of accessibility, as well as any necessary internal modifications. What about when the disability is the result of an illness or accident that has developed during adulthood—when decisions about where you lived were made when you had full mobility? When you live in an apartment or block of flats overseen by a strata property management group, is the onus on them to make the necessary modifications to the common areas of the building to accommodate your disability?
Suitability of Your Home
It's very much a personal decision, and yet even with certain applicable upgrades, your existing home might no longer be the most suitable option. And yet under no circumstances can you be forced to move to a new property. Although there might be a number of existing features that grant a high level of accessibility (which can be as straightforward as the building having elevators), what are your options when additional modifications need to be made in order to meet your needs?
The issue is complicated, but there have been instances where residents with a disability have lodged formal complaints against their building's strata management group under the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (Victoria), claiming that when necessary amendments have not been made for ease of disabled access, then discrimination has taken place. It's difficult to universally interpret such occurrences as test cases for all Australia since they were administered at the state level. But there's a key takeaway from such matters, and it was that the complaints were upheld, and it was stated that 'reasonable' efforts should have been made to accommodate a resident with a disability.
The term 'reasonable' could be open to some interpretation. It could be suggested that the age of some buildings renders them problematic in terms of disabled access. The design might simply be unable to accommodate some forms of disabled access without severe difficulty, both in terms of the feasibility of adding the modes of access to the existing building and also the cost involved. A management group could argue that it's their duty to simply maintain the building and its fixtures in its existing state, and as such, modifications can create an unreasonable logistical and financial burden.
If you feel that you'll need modifications to your existing building to reflect a disability, then your first step should be to discuss the matter with your building's management group in order to gauge the level of assistance they're able to provide.