Housing: Standards

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government written question – answered on 24th July 2019.

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Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health)

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what plans he has to review the UK's existing housing stock to ensure that the oldest homes are fit for purpose and do not exacerbate or cause ill health.

Photo of Heather Wheeler Heather Wheeler Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

The Department has seen the number of private rented homes failing to meet the Decent Homes Standard fall 15 per cent since 2010 – a record low. We have also seen the number of social homes failing to meet the Decent Homes Standard decrease significantly.

Local authorities have powers under the Housing Act 2004 to review the Private Rented Sector stock and to tackle poor rented property conditions which may impact peoples’ health. They must take enforcement action where the most serious (category 1) hazards are present - this is usually assessed through the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS).

In October 2018 the Government launched a scoping review to consider whether the HHSRS should be updated and, if so, to what extent. This review has now reported, and I announced that there will be a comprehensive overhaul of the HHSRS to begin later this year.

In addition, the Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act, which came into force on 20th March 2019, empowers tenants to take their landlords to court if they fail to address health and safety hazards.

We have also launched the Social Housing Green Paper which asks if we should consider what constitutes a decent home.

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