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Decent Homes Standard

The decent homes standard is a measure of general housing conditions introduced by the Government in 2000. Although private landlords are not directly required to take any action to bring their properties up to this standard, it has had a major affect on the local authority approach to the private rented sector and is therefore likely to have a significant indirect affect on landlords. The private rented sector currently has the lowest percentage of decent homes of all sectors.

>> Standards

A decent home is one that meets all of the following four criteria:

  • It meets the current statutory minimum standard for housing. The property must be free of all Category 1 hazards under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System
  • It is in a reasonable state of repair. It would fail this if:
    • One or more key building components are old and because of their condition need replacing or major repair.
    • Two or more other building components are old and because of their condition need replacing or major repair.
  • It has reasonably modern facilities and services. It would fail here if it lacks three or more of the following facilities:
    • A kitchen which is 20 years old or less.
    • A kitchen with adequate space and layout.
    • A bathroom which is 30 years old or less.
    • An appropriately located bathroom and WC.
    • Adequate external noise insulation.
    • Adequate size and layout of common entrance areas for blocks of flats.
  • It provides a reasonable degree of thermal comfort. The property must have both efficient heating and effective insulation.

Assistance to meet the standard: To meet the decent homes standard, resources will continue to be targeted at vulnerable households, or to landlords who provide accommodation for them.  Financial assistance is often only being made available to these groups or they will receive enhanced levels of assistance.

A number of programmes have been established to encourage the private sector to meet these targets:

  • In some regions significant funding has been made available by the Government
  • Many local authorities’ Housing Renewal Assistance Policies, which provide grants and loans for those in the private sector, are targeted at the vulnerable
  • The Energy Efficiency Commitment (EEC), whereby electricity and gas suppliers provide financial assistance to domestic consumers to install energy efficiency measures, provides a significant proportion of its assistance to vulnerable consumers
  • The Warm Front scheme provides grants for insulation and heating improvements, including central heating systems, for vulnerable households in the private rented and owner occupied sectors.

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