People with disabilities will have additional rights to make communal areas around their home more accessible, under new regulations laid before the Scottish Parliament.

Through the Relevant Adjustments to Common Parts Regulations, ministers are giving disabled people the right to remove barriers to access by creating ramps, widening paths and installing handrails in common areas, with the support of a majority of neighbours.

Current legislation requires the consent of all owners to any accessibility changes to shared areas.

Made under s 37 of the Equality Act 2010, the new regulations will also empower disabled people to challenge others from unreasonably withholding consent to make basic adaptations.

Subject to parliamentary scrutiny, the regulations will come into force on 24 February 2020.

Housing Minister Kevin Stewart commented: “This new legislation will widen equality for people living with a disability in Scotland by giving them the right to improve accessibility in shared areas at their home and challenge others from unreasonably withholding consent.

“A first in the UK, this will help achieve a fairer Scotland where disabled people have more equality and the choice, dignity and freedom to access suitable housing and live independently.”