Decent Homes Standard

The Decent Homes Standard was a programme introduced by government in 2001 aimed at improving council and housing association homes to bring them all up to a minimum standard by 2010.

To meet the Decent Home Standard, your council or housing association home must:

Your home fails the standard if it doesn't meet all four criteria.

Examples of how your home could fail the Decent Homes Standard include if:

  • there are hazards in your home (external link) such as persistent damp or a heating or electrical system that is in poor condition
  • your bathroom has not been improved in the last 30 years 
  • the kitchen has an inadequate layout or not enough space
  • it isn't warm because of an inefficient heating system or ineffective insulation

The initial Decent Home Standard programme didn’t apply to private rented sector homes but in 2006 concerns around non-decent homes on the health of vulnerable persons in the private rented sector was recognised and targets were extended to include houses in this sector.

Current data shows that the private rented sector houses more households in England than the social rented sector, but has the highest proportion of poor property standards of any tenure type. The 2014 to 2015 English Housing Survey (external link) found that 29% of private rented properties would fail the government’s decent homes standard compared to 14% of social housing.

The Decent Homes Standard is a non-statutory standard however there are statutory provisions governing the repair and maintenance of properties irrespective of tenure or ownership. Enforcement is mainly through Part 1 of the HousIng Act 2004 where assessment is undertaken using the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS). This is a risk based regulatory model used by the Domestic Team in Environmental Health to assess and take action on specific types of hazard that could be found in a home and can include requiring the treatment of rising damp, repairing unsafe flooring and requiring an annual gas safety check on an appliance etc.  

For more information, please contact the Environmental Health Team by telephone on 01353-665555, or email