There are lots of reasons why clients ask us to find them a temporary rental property, and we’re skilled at liaising with all interested parties to find the best solution.
In this particular case, an eight-year-old boy was involved in a road traffic accident and his injuries resulted in severe physical problems and brain injury.
We were initially approached by the case manager to find a temporary rental property that needed minimal adaptation.
Taking a creative approach
Following a meeting with the family our property search service identified a number of suitable properties. The case manager shortlisted three, and on visiting it was clear that only one – a three-storey house – was suitable.
Our creative approach allowed us to show that the large downstairs study and toilet could be combined into one large wet room. There was good space for the boy and his carers downstairs, and space for his family on the upper floors. Many other property search services would have discounted this property as it was over three floors.
We acted as the liaison between estate agent, landlady, case manager and solicitor. By proactively progressing the case, we freed up the case manager’s time to focus on the care and rehabilitation. We ensured that we secured a long-term tenancy agreement with the landlady.
Considerations when adapting temporary rental property
All aspects of the building work were in our control, starting with specifying the adaptation work needed in a clear document for the potential builders. We also ensured that the property could be easily returned to its original condition and layout after the client moved out.
As well as sourcing initial quotes, we also met builders to understand their level of expertise. As the build cost was under £20,000 we project managed the build and oversaw all aspects of the work. This included making sure the design remained accessible, and liaising with Building Control.
The defence solicitor stated that there were other suitable, cheaper houses, which would simply need a stair lift installing. However as medical experts we were able to advise that, as the boy had epilepsy, a stair lift could not be used.
We coordinated a very long and complex chain of communication, including the landlady, estate agent, case manager, claimant and defence solicitor, rehab team at the rehab hospital, the builder and their subcontractors, Building Control, and last, but not least, the family!
The importance of manual handling risk assessment
The solicitor was inexperienced in this type of case, and there were no claimant expert reports to rely on. In addition, the case manager was not aware that a manual handling risk assessment had to be done before thinking about the layout and design of the adaptations.
By carrying out a manual handling assessment we were able to determine how many carers, and how much space, would be needed. Based on this assessment we could then recommend room sizes and equipment, ensuring adequate space to allow carer access.
Once the family moved in we carried out a manual handling risk assessment and manual handling training for the carers. We also sourced additional equipment from the local authority.
Delivering the change
By bringing our wider expertise to the case, we ensured that the family was able to move to a suitable, safe and cost-effective property.
From being asked to find temporary rental property, we quickly became highly engaged with this case. By liaising between all interested parties, we ensured that the family was able to move in as quickly as possible.
We were able to free up the case manager’s time to focus on care and rehab, and we supported the solicitor to put together an evidence-based case that reflected the Court of Protection’s expectations.
Through our understanding of the boy’s care needs we were able to ensure that the property was suitable for the long term, and that equipment could be moved to the next property, reducing future costs.
Two years on from our original instruction, a part payment of £1m was agreed for accommodation. Because of our work to date we were well placed to find the family their forever home, and support them in the necessary adaptations.