As is generally known, a ‘controller of let premises’ (section 36) does not have to make reasonable adjustments to common parts for a disabled person if that involves removal or alteration of a physical feature – Schedule 4 section 2(8). However, this case concerned access to a swimming pool in a leisure club which formed part of the building of a development of flats. The leisure club was owned and run by the freehold management company for the development.
The FMC had refused to make adjustments to enable the claimant to access the pool more easily, costed at some £5,000 (despite receiving a refund of £78,500 in business rates at the same time of the estimate). The claimant has MS and being able to swim limited the progression of the disease.
The District Judge held that the FMC was, in regard to the leisure club, a service provider not a landlord. The Schedule 4 exception did not apply as the FMC was not a landlord or controller of let premises in this respect.
There had been a failure to make reasonable adjustments, indirect discrimination in its general policy, and aggravating factors in the FMC’s approach. £9,000 in damages for injury to feelings were awarded – a high amount.
While this is a) only a county court decision and b) does not extend to the common parts of a residential property, being limited to the ‘service provision’ of a leisure facility, the principle would hold for any facilities run by a management company beyond the purely residential ‘let premises’ and common parts.