How to make your home accessible for guests – UNITED STATES
Guestblog By David Flake – BecomingRentAble
Accessibility Modifications Easy Does It – 900 accommodations listed at Becoming RentABLE
When it comes to short-term vacation rentals, property owners can make even minor changes that can have great impact to benefit those with disabilities, their families, and travel companions.
You will be surprised how affordable many small items or adjustments there are to make a stay more accessible. If you live in the United States and you are thinking of making your home more accessible for visitors, you want to read this.
In the following list you see what you can do to make your guest with a disability – visually impaired guests, deaf or hard of hearing guests or people using a walker or a wheelchair – feel more at home and make their stay in your apartment or rental comfortable.
15 Easy Accessibility Modifications at home
Here is a list of 15 easy modifications that can cost less than $100
- Keyless Lock – $100 to $350
Unlocking a door using a key can be difficult for some people. With a keyless lock system, instead of turning a key, your renters can open the front door lock with a simple remote control, a touch key pad, an electronic card key, or even using their smartphone.
Some locks are even wi-fi enabled allowing you to change the numeric combination code remotely between guest rentals.
- Door Levers – $10 to $40
Persons who have issues with dexterity, grasping, or general use of their hands can struggle using door knobs. Replacing knobs with levers alleviates these kinds of issues.
- Single Lever Faucets – $45-100
Many of your renters will find the use of a single-lever faucet control convenient as they can be operated with even limited use of one hand. Ideally, to ensure accessibility, the control lever should be mounted on either side of the sink as opposed to in the back.
Automatic “touchless” faucets are also a good consideration.
- Vibrating Alarm Clock – $20-60
While as easy to use as a normal alarm clock, vibrating alarms clocks have the additional feature of an attached or remote bed shaker for your patrons who are deaf, hearing impaired, or just heavy sleepers. These types of clocks can be set to use an alarm buzzer, a bed shaker, or both.
You’ll want a model that has large digital LED display with adjustable brightness for renters who may have low vision.
- Strobing Light Alarms – $35
Your renters who are deaf or hearing impaired would appreciate your consideration of their safety in regard to alarms such as smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, weather sirens, and door bells. You can either purchase such alarms with a strobing light feature or you can purchase devises that plug into a wall outlet, mount to doors or ceilings, or attach to table lamps that activate a strobing light when an alarm goes off.
- Open Floor Plan – no cost
Those who have mobility issues need 36” of clearance around furniture to maneuver. This includes hallways which ideally should be a minimum of 48” wide. Removing unnecessary furniture and décor will create more space. Your judicial use and positioning of furniture will go a long way in creating a welcoming atmosphere for all renters, and this modification is free.
- Color Pallet – $35
Some individuals with disability may be more sensitive to color than average. This is because some people, such as individuals with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Autism Spectrum Disorders, have increased sensory responses, stronger visual processing abilities, and differentiated cognition pathways.
Others, such as those with low vision, may need more visual contrast in their environment. Your choice of color scheme in your short-term rental should consider these kinds of issues. A good quality gallon of paint costs $35.
- Black Out Curtains – $10-40
Some of your renters may have sensitivity to light due to medical issues such as migraine headaches, an autism spectrum disorder, or other genetic condition. Others or their children may have hyperactivity disorder. Yet others may need a darker room in which to sleep well.
Installing black out curtains in bedrooms could be a welcome accommodation for these renters in providing a needed quiet place to help decompress.
- Odor-free Environment – no cost
Some of your short-term renters will have allergies or sensitivities to smells. For this reason, you should refrain from using scented candles, potpourri, or scented air fresheners in your rental units. Additionally, your use of odorless cleaning chemical solvents and odorless washing detergents for towels and linens would be appreciated.
This accommodation is free above the normal costs for such cleaning supplies.
- Handheld Shower Head – $100
Your renters who require sitting while showering or any others who need a shower with an adjustable angle water stream would benefit greatly from your installing a hand-held shower head with an adjustable slide bar mount. The hose end of the shower head connects to the spout just as easily as any other shower head, but adds the convenience of raising or lowering the shower stream position on the bar or using it freestyle as needed.
- Shower Chair – stand alone stool $40-70
A shower chair helps to increase safety by providing a secure area in a shower or bath. They are especially useful for those who use wheelchairs, are elderly, or anyone who finds excessive movement painful or difficult. These chairs can be permanently mounted or portable. They are durable, light weight and fold for easy storage while not in use.
- Tilted Mirror – $80-120
Your renters who are of short stature or who use wheelchairs would benefit from the installation of a titled mirror in the bathroom. Such mirrors can be straight-facing or titled downward to reflect the user without strain. It is important they be mounted so that the bottom is 40” from the floor when titled.
Alternatively, you could forego the tilt feature if you mounted a large mirror with the bottom edge at sink height (34”).
- Toilet Seat Riser – $60
A toilet seat riser can convert a standard toilet into a comfort height toilet and is especially beneficial for taller people, seniors, wheelchair users, and anyone with knee or back pain. The taller seat simply makes it easier to sit down, stand up, or transfer from a wheel chair.
- Threshold Ramp – $70-100
Unless you specifically designed your property to have a zero threshold, chances are your entry doors have some sort of raised threshold which could impede entry by someone who uses a wheelchair or walker. To reduce the risk of tripping and make it easier for those with mobility issues your home’s doorways, there are a variety of entry ramps, mats, and plates under $70 that can help provide a smooth transition over raised thresholds.
- Couch Cane/Stand-N-Go – $ 100
Some of your guests may need assistance in using easy chairs or couches. A couch cane or stand-n-go is an apparatus which fits under the legs of a couch or recliner. It allows users to get up and down with ease. These can be sourced for around $100 at various big box and medical supply retailers.
Easy, inexpensive, convenient
So there you have it – several inexpensive, easily implemented changes you can make to provide a lot of accommodation, assistance, and convenience to your rental patrons.
You could make these changes little by little as your budget allows, but the sooner the better as I believe making these changes will likely lead to improved reviews of our property, increased occupancy, and increased profitability.
Why not start now?
Remember, making your rental accessible is not only good for your renters with disabilities, it’s also good business for you. For more information on short-term rental properties, visit www.BecomingRentABLE.com.
Practicality Guru at Becoming rentABLE