The Decent Homes Standard, which sets minimum standards for the condition of social homes, has been under review for several years. Here, you’ll find the latest information for housing associations as this develops.
In the Social Housing White Paper published in November 2020 the government committed to review the Decent Homes Standard, and in their 2022 Levelling Up White Paper they went further, committing to halve the number of non-decent rented homes (both in the social and private sectors) by 2030. The government has confirmed it will be extending the Decent Homes Standard to cover the private rented sector for the first time, so the reviewed Decent Homes Standard will apply to both the social and private rented sectors.
There have already been multiple previous rounds of the review. In 2021, the government gathered feedback on whether the current standard is suitable for the social housing sector and where it may need to be updated to set modernised minimum quality standards. In 2022 it consulted on applying the Decent Homes Standard to the private rented sector.
You can see more details of the government’s review of the Decent Homes Standard and other work they are doing to improve social housing quality on GOV.UK.
The government relaunched its review of the Decent Homes Standard in June 2023. This review will consider a range of changes, including:
- An updated list of items which must be kept in a reasonable state of repair for a home to be considered ‘decent’.
- An updated list of services and facilities that every property must have to better reflect modern expectations for a ‘decent’ home.
- Whether the current Decent Homes Standard sets the right standard on damp and mould to keep residents safe.
- Updates to how the condition of building components, such as roofs and walls, are measured - to make sure that buildings which are not fit for use cannot pass the standard.
- The introduction of a Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard for the social rented sector.
So far, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) has shared initial proposals for review with a core sounding board of representatives from across the social and private rented sectors, local authority enforcement teams, and tenant representatives. The NHF sits on this sounding board and provided initial feedback on behalf of our members. The government will set out its next steps for the review of the Decent Homes Standard this winter/srping 2024. Once confirmed, full details of their proposals will be shared in a public consultation. We will engage with all our members before drafting our response to that consultation.
We welcome the government’s commitment to review the Decent Homes Standard and will continue to work constructively with DLUHC to inform the development of this work, by sharing insight from our members. We agree it is important for the sector to have a clear, modern and meaningful standards that reflect what residents would expect a decent home to be. More broadly, it is important that social landlords have a clear understanding of the condition of all of their homes. We are working with the sector to develop a more consistent approach in this area through Knowing our Homes, as part of our response to the Better Social Housing Review.
We will continue to make the case to the government, through this process and our wider work, that the sector faces multiple competing pressures with budgets that are already stretched. To fund investment in existing homes at the same time as developing desperately needed new affordable homes, we need a long-term plan for housing.
Housing Health and Safety Rating System
As part of the Decent Homes Standard, the government will be introducing changes to the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS), a tool used to assess hazards in residential premises. The government commissioned an external review of the HHSRS, which concluded in 2022. Following this, changes will be introduced to simplify the HHSRS. This will include:
- Amalgamating some hazards assessed and producing a simpler means of banding the results of HHSRS assessments.
- Publishing baselines to indicate whether a property contains serious hazards, to make assessments easier to understand.
- Publishing new statutory operating and enforcement guidance and a comprehensive set of new case studies
New regulations will be necessary to bring the revisions to the HHSRS into force. These will be introduced after the conclusion of the Decent Homes Standard review. You can see further details of the HHSRS review on GOV.UK.
For more information about the NHF’s work in this area, please feel free to get in touch.