Decent Homes Standard
The idea for a Decent Homes Standard was first introduced in 1997, when the UK government considered there were 2.2 million non-decent homes.
In July 2000, the Government announced a target to: ‘ensure that all social housing meets set standards of decency by 2010, by reducing the number of households living in social housing that does not meet these standards by a third between 2001 and 2004, with most of the improvement taking place in the most deprived local authority areas’.
The Spending Review 2002 extended the decent homes target to the private sector so that it applied to social housing i.e. that owned by Local Authorities and Registered Social Landlords (generally known as Housing Associations) and private housing occupied by vulnerable groups.
Guidance on how the standard would be assessed was published in July 2001 and then updated in April 2002 and again in 2004. In 2006 the standard was revised following the introduction of the Housing Act 2004.
The minimum standard requires that:
- The property must be free of Category 1 hazards under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System.
- It must be in a reasonable state of repair.
- It must have reasonably modern facilities and services.
- It must provide a reasonable degree of thermal comfort.
A property could fail the Decent Homes Standard if, for example, there is persistent damp, an electrical system in poor condition, an inadequate bathroom or kitchen, or it is too cold.
Local authorities have a duty to take enforcement action in relation to category 1 hazards and discretion to act in relation to category 2 hazards.
In 2010, the original deadline by which improvements must be made to properties, the National Audit Office (NAO) found that over a million social homes had been improved the Programme. However, it suggested that ‘….there are risks to both the Programme’s completion and what has been achieved so far if a reliable funding mechanism is not put in place to deliver the remainder of the Programme and to maintain homes to a decent standard. Hundreds of thousands of families are still living in properties which are not warm, weather tight, or in a reasonable state of repair.’
The standard is still referred to by local and central government, and housing charities, however, as the most recent version of the standard still refers to a deadline for improvements of 2010, its status no longer clear.
In 2012, The Chartered Institute of Housing suggested that there was a need to move forwards, stating that ‘A new standard is required, especially to face the challenge of upgrading the energy efficiency of the stock and to tackle wider environmental issues in estates.’
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- A measure of net well-being that incorporates the effect of housing environmental impacts.
- Creating strong communities – measuring social sustainability in new housing development.
- Fuel poverty.
- Heat Energy: The Nation’s Forgotten Crisis.
- Home quality mark.
- NHBC technical standards.
- Technical housing standards – nationally described space standard.
- The cold man of europe 2015.
- The cost of poor housing to the NHS.
- The full cost of poor housing.
- The real cost of poor housing
 External references.
- A Decent Home: Definition and guidance for implementation June 2006, DCLG.
- Sustainable communities: building for the future.
- A Decent Home: The definition and guidance for implementation, 2004.
- Quality and Choice: A Decent Home for All.
- Decent Homes: Capturing the Standard at the Local Level which is the annex to Collecting, Managing and Using Stock Condition Information.
- NAO, Report by the Comptroller and Auditor General HC 212 SesSIon 2009–2010 21 january 2010. The Decent Homes Programme.
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