The West Midlands has a severe shortage of homes that are suitable for the disabled, but a new law is finally going to change that, reports Jessica Shepherd..
It would have been the ideal home - if the front lock had been just two feet lower.
But Elaine could not move in knowing she could not stretch high enough out of her wheelchair to put the keys in the door.
The 46-year-old, who works in Yardley, Birmingham, despairs that with 192,000 registered disabled people in Birmingham, so few homes are fitted with ramps, intercoms or buzzers.
The Disability Rights Commission estimates that thousands of West Midlanders live in unsuitable accommodation in the region because landlords have refused to allow alterations.
But not for much longer. The Disability Discrimination Act 2005 sets out new obligations for commercial and residential landlords, managers of rented property, and tenants who sub-let their homes.
By December 1, 2006, they will be legally obliged, when requested, to provide intercoms, buzzers, ramps or other aids for disabled tenants.
Guy Willets, a commercial property litigation partner at the Birmingham office of law firm Shoosmiths, believes the law is an important step in preventing discrimination against the disabled.
He said: "We are now at least moving in the right direction. This Act fills in many of the gaps of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 which made shops and banks provide disabled access among other things.
"If you just look around Birmingham city centre you can see more and more office blocks with ramps. Things are being incorporated into the design of buildings all the time to make life for disabled people better.
"The Act states that, when requested, properties need to have ramps and intercoms fitted and buzzers and locks at an accessible height for wheelchair users.
"A letting agent might also need to fit clip-on entry phones for a front door and provide an alternative spot for disabled people to leave their bin bags.
"I think the law is testing the waters to see how far things can go without frightening letting agents. I imagine that if it is successful, rights for disabled people will be extended."
However, landlords need not worry that the changes will cost them millions of pounds.
The Act will not require the removal or alteration of a physical feature of a building and will not necessarily mean they will have to install lifts or lavatories designed for tenants with disabilities.
Mr Willets said: "My gut feeling is that as long as letting agents take it on board, this Act will go some way in reducing prejudice against disabled people."
Patrick Edwards, from the Disability Rights Commission, believes the Act is a "crucial change".
He said: "If you are a disabled person who wants to buy goods, seek meaningful employment or gain educational opportunities, a shop, school or employer cannot withhold the need to make adaptations and improvements.
"That has not been the case for disabled tenants or leaseholders, but now landlords will not be able to refuse to make adaptations to their premises."
And for Elaine, who for now lives in Coventry, this is long overdue.
The training co-ordinator for Birmingham Disability Resource Centre said: "Nearly every house I have looked at is unsuitable. It is very annoying. It is rare for me to come across a house without dozens of steps. It often seems that the only time I can get into someone else's house is when they are a wheelchair user too."
* A code of practice on the DDA 2005 is expected to be published in the coming months.