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Discrimination issue?


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Background - I have a medical condition which means I can collapse without warning after which I have maybe a few minutes before I lose consciousness. Currently I have a panic alarm which connects to an emergency response team, they call the paramedics.

I live in an apartment. The communal door currently has a keypad entry, the code for which is given to the paramedics during the emergency call. Once in the building they can access a concealed key safe to get into the flat.

This isn't a theoretical issue, they've had to let themselves in twice in the past, once I vaguely remember the other time I was unconscious long before they arrived. I certainly would not be capable of using an intercom system to let someone in.

 

With 48 hours notice, the entry system has been changed to a key fob. The first we knew of it was when the fobs were delivered. There is now no way the emergency services can get in unless someone lets them in.

 

Immediate effects are that my son has had to cancel a planned holiday at a loss of around £300 as I can't now be left home alone. The management company have arranged for the contractor to install extra handsets in every room on the off chance I might still be conscious enough to use one, but we have to pay for them.

 

Long term we're going to have to move. I don't want and couldn't expect one of my kids to be available to look after me 24/7 for ever, hubby can't/won't give up work (he works away for 6 weeks at a time). There's no way we'll get all our money back having bought just on the crash, moving costs anyway and I don't want to move, I like it here and it's been adapted to meet my needs. I doubt we'd find anything more suitable in terms of size, layout and location.

 

Management company were aware that I am disabled but not the collapse issue, obviously they know now but are refusing to back down. The fob system is being installed whether we want it or not - as you might imagine quite a few of the other elderly/disabled residents who live alone have some concerns too and some of them did know about my condition.

 

Is there any way we can force them to change their minds short of sacking them? We're self-managed and the directors approved the change but clearly knew next to nothing about it. Two of the three don't even live here as their properties are let.

If we can't make them change back (the ideal) can they really effectively charge me extra for this system because I'm disabled? And can I hold them responsible for our extra costs?

 

Sorry if this is long and a bit garbled, I'm really upset. What a way to start the week!

RMW

"If you want my parking space, please take my disability" Common car park sign in France.

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Just to respond to one part.

can they really effectively charge me extra for this system because I'm disabled?
I doubt very much they are charging you because you are disabled.

 

Shelter has a free housing helpline, 0808 800 4444, give them a ring, they should be able to put you right or tell you where you can go or who to contact for further help.

Edited by Conniff
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No one who isn't disabled is having to pay for extra handsets to be installed, therefore I am being charged extra because I'm disabled.

 

The postman has just asked me to complain about the lack of access and warned that they simply don't have time to wait around for someone to let them in so our deliveries are likely to be a bit intermittent in future.

 

And to answer Honeybee, as the postman has just so ably demonstrated, unless someone lets them in no one can get in. There is a trade button which sounds a buzzer in every apartment - that's how the postman got in today - but it does rely on someone answering it and since such things inevitably happen in the middle of the night, that means someone hearing it and being willing to get out of bed. We do occasionally hear the buzzer at 3am, often on a Saturday night, and ignore it since such things as ringing doorbells and running away do seem to provide endless entertainment to small boys and drunks both of which are in amply supply, though the small boys are usually not at 3am!

RMW

"If you want my parking space, please take my disability" Common car park sign in France.

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Can you explain that a bit more. They are putting handsets into other homes but only charging the disabled ??

 

 

No one who isn't disabled is having to pay for extra handsets to be installed, therefore I am being charged extra because I'm disabled.
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Most residents need only one handset, which is free.

As a 'reasonable adjustment' three disabled residents need an extra handset to ensure they can reach it within a reasonable time, or at all. I need 4, including one by my bed on the offchance I'd be able to use it in an emergency. These are not free.

Since these are only required because of the change made to the entry system, the disabled residents are effectively being charged more than the non-disabled residents for something which is being imposed on them, and it's not cheap. Depending upon how far the extension leads have to run, we've been 'guesstimated' £60 per handset. I am in the fortunate position of being able to afford it, at least one lady isn't. On top of that the fobs themselves are £25 each and we're only being given two, for a 4 bed property! We actually need an absolute minimum of 5, so that's another £75, though that's nothing to do with disability.

RMW

"If you want my parking space, please take my disability" Common car park sign in France.

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Things have just got better.

The contractor has visited and we can't have any extra handsets, it's simply not technically possible.

I'd better phone the estate agent.

RMW

"If you want my parking space, please take my disability" Common car park sign in France.

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It's a leasehold flat, owner occupied.

 

Other residents - one is definitely an owner, one a private tenant.

 

Ah I see, so who is the managing agent for the block?

Who ever heard of someone getting a job at the Jobcentre? The unemployed are sent there as penance for their sins, not to help them find work!

 

 

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Due to the rather unique construction of the complex, there's nowhere to conceal a lockbox or even attach one easily, double sided tape is the best they've come up with so far. It would stand out like a sore thumb and the management co won't give permission anyway if it can't be secured properly. To be honest, I don't blame them, I don't particularly want to effectively leave a key under the mat either and the chances are that it would be damaged/removed fairly regularly if it's out in the open. It's a town centre location and whilst it's not a bad area people passing through are a bit of a nuisance.

 

The one resident to whom a key safe by the entrance has been mentioned nearly had heart failure at the thought. The previous entry system even with all and sundry knowing the code, which hadn't been changed for 4 years, was more secure.

RMW

"If you want my parking space, please take my disability" Common car park sign in France.

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Management co this morning refused permission to put a keysafe on the outside wall on the grounds that it would be impossible to fix it securely and even if no one actually managed to get into it, it would attract attention and probably be damaged/stolen fairly regularly.

 

However, they are re-installing the keypad so long as the affected residents sign a waiver saying the code will only be given to the emergency services.

No mention of anyone having to pay for it, though no doubt it will be in the service charge.

 

Problem solved and we can all stop worrying.

RMW

"If you want my parking space, please take my disability" Common car park sign in France.

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As long as you're happy with the outcome that's all that matters.

 

You should have received this years annual uprating of rent and service charge?

Who ever heard of someone getting a job at the Jobcentre? The unemployed are sent there as penance for their sins, not to help them find work!

 

 

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We have already paid this year's service charge. I expect it will be in next year's bill, but I'm not complaining. I feel safe again and I don't have to move and to be honest, if they'd asked, I'd have paid for it to be put back.

  • Haha 1

RMW

"If you want my parking space, please take my disability" Common car park sign in France.

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Just to add a bit more information in case it's helpful to anyone else.

 

Was speaking to an acquaintance who used to volunteer with me at CAB who was very strongly of the opinion that what the management company did definitely amounted to disability discrimination, and they almost certainly had legal advice to that effect hence the sudden u-turn. That legal advice also would have included the fact that they could not charge us for putting the keypad back as that amounted to a 'reasonable adjustment'. The Equalities Act definitely applies to the management of leasehold premises.

RMW

"If you want my parking space, please take my disability" Common car park sign in France.

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