Decent Homes Standard
The Decent Homes Standard was introduced by the Government in July 2001, with the intention of improving the standard of social housing in England, and to provide common-sense tests to ensure that such accommodation is fit for the 21st century. Since then the aim has been to extend the standard to cover all homes, in the public and the private sectors.
The Decent Homes Standard incorporates four basic criteria:
- Fitness for habitation
- Modern facilities
- Thermal comfort
To read about the detailed criteria, please visit the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister website.
Any property that does not meet all four criteria is deemed to have failed the Standard.
The government requires that 100% of public sector housing (council and housing association) will meet the standard by 2010. In East Cambs, most social housing is owned by Hereward Housing and has been modernised since 1993, and over 95% of Hereward Housing's stock meets the fitness standard. Hereward Housing expects to have 100% of its homes decent well before the 2010 deadline. The other housing associations in the area have also confirmed that the Decent Homes target for stock in the district will be acheived before 2010.
In the private sector, the Council is attempting to estimate how many homes fail to meet the standard, and once this is done, the aim is to work to improve this year on year. A stock condition survey was carried out in 2002, and another one will be done in 2006/07. This will use a sample of private rented stock and guage the fitness and decency of the rest from that.
A non-decent home is not the same as an unfit one.
The most common reasons for unfitness are failures to do with disrepair (39%), lack of food preparation area (40%), lack of bath/shower (25%) and a lack of heating (25%). If you have an unfit home, you can probably claim a renovation grant to carry out essential works.
If you want to know more about decent homes, email Jane Hollingworth, Principal Housing Officer, telephone 01353 665555, or write to:
Principal Housing Officer
East Cambridgeshire District Council
Ely, Cambs, CB7 4PL