Revealed – what landlords need to know about The Decent Homes Standard

The Decent Homes Standard for the social housing sector was first published in February 2004, but has since been updated and amended a number of times.

Recently, the long-awaited “A fairer private rented sector” White Paper was finally released after months of delay and outlined that under the Renters’ Reform Bill the Decent Homes Standard will be extended to the private rented sector as well.

Statistics show that, in 2019, 23.3% of private rental homes were non-decent and 12.3% of social housing was non-decent. The government aims to develop the housing market by further improving the existing standards.

Landlords must familiarise themselves with the Decent Homes Standard and make improvements to their properties to remain compliant and keep their homes free from danger as the legalities surrounding UK rental properties intensify.

Alterations to the Decent Homes Standard

The fundamental details of the of the Decent Homes Standard are that the home is in a ‘reasonable state of repair’. Across the home this covers electrical installations, boilers, doors, roofs, windows, chimney, gas appliances and plumbing. Any home that requires work in more than two of the areas listed will not meet the standard.

For the first time, the same standard of rules and guidelines are set to apply to both the social and private rented sectors. By extending the guidelines, the government hopes to significantly reduce the number of non-decent homes by 2030.

Currently, there are a total of 29 hazards that get assessed under the Decent Homes Standard and these are given a score up to 1,000. Scores over 1,000 do not meet the standards and could put tenants in danger.

The home must meet four pieces of criteria. The minimum standard for housing must be met, it must be in a reasonable state of repair, reasonably modern facilities must be installed, and reasonable thermal comfort must be provided.

Under the new guidelines for rented housing, a home that is qualified as ‘decent’ must be ‘free from the most serious health and safety hazards, such as fall risks, fire risks, or carbon monoxide poisoning’.

Inventories help to maintain standards

The number of health problems and issues that are directly caused by non-decent housing can be reduced by following the Decent Homes Standards to the letter and also by making use of professional inventories to nip any long-term problems in the bud early on.

By getting the appropriate work done around the home and checking all facilities are in working condition, landlords can prevent their homes from falling into disrepair or accidents happening.

A comprehensive check-in inspection report, combined with mid-term inspections during the tenancy and a thorough check-out inspection report at the end, are necessary to ensure the tenancy is hazard-free. Comparisons from the start, duration and end of the tenancy can then be made. 

Inventories provide assurance and certainty as they are time-stamped and provide a timeframe of deterioration of the home. These important reports make it easy to identify and resolve issues that could be detrimental to a tenant’s health.

By inviting a professional inventory clerk into the home to conduct checks, landlords can be confident that the status of their home is recorded fairly and accurately. As independent assessors with experience in the sector, they are qualified to conduct these checks in an unbiased manner.

Landlords who provide decent homes from the start can rely on inventories as a source of protection that demonstrate the home was in good condition and that the landlord is compliant.

Overall, both the Decent Homes Standard and inventories support the view that tenants have the right to adequate housing. Inventories help adhere to these standards and expose landlords who do not.

As an agent or landlord, you want to protect your investments and establish smooth transitions from one tenant to the next. Here at AIIC, we are dedicated to promoting the highest possible standards of accuracy and reliability in the inventory process and have been endorsing high levels of professionalism in the inventory business since 1996.

It is our mission to ensure proper information and training is provided and our bank of highly skilled members will provide the best possible service. For more information, please contact us or search for your local AIIC member clerk now.

You can also download a copy of our Code of Practice and Guidelines for Professional Practice guide here.

Published on 12/08/2022