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What is the Decent Homes Standard?

The Decent Homes Standard is a minimum standard that triggers action to improve social housing. It is a standard to which homes are improved. As constructed, the standard allows all landlords to determine, in consultation with their tenants, what works need to be completed, and in what order, to ensure the standard is met.

The Decent Homes Standard has four criteria which are:

  1. It meets the current statutory minimum standard for housing (i.e. the dwelling should be free of category 1 hazards under the HHSRS)
  2. It is in a reasonable state of repair
  3. It has reasonably modern facilities and services
  4. It provides a reasonable degree of thermal comfort.

The standard was revised in 2006 when the Housing Health and Safety Rating System was introduced to replace the unfitness standard as the statutory minimum standard.

Landlords and tenants have absolute discretion within their funding limits in how far the works that are done exceed the minimum requirements. These works are invariably done in the context of other necessary work to the property (replacement lifts) and the surrounding area (landscaping, anti-crime measures etc.)  These works are undertaken on a hugely varied building stock - age, condition, methods of construction etc - and scale.

At April 2009, nearly 86 per cent of all social homes were decent and 92 per cent are expected to be decent by April 2011.  Negotiations with some social landlords have resulted in later dates for delivery, where it is necessary to achieve better value for money, or higher standards of housing.

From 1 December 2008, the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) took over responsibility for funding streams to help improve social housing. From 1 April 2009, it became the responsibility of the social housing regulator (the Tenant Services Authority) to ensure that landlords provide a good service to their tenants, including quality accommodation.

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