An analysis of the English Housing Survey has revealed that a quarter of homes rented out by private landlords are failing to comply with the national Decent Homes Standard when it comes to hazards, costs and other characteristics.
The analysis, carried out by the PropTech firm Verismart, revealed some very concerning findings in regard to the health and safety of UK homes. It revealed that around 4.5 million homes across the UK failed to meet the Decent Homes Standards which are guidelines set out by the government to ensure that properties are safe for people to live in.
They found that homes in the private rented sector had the highest percentage of homes that failed to comply with the Decent Homes Standard, with 25% of such properties falling below the expected standards. It was also revealed that 1.1 million homes throughout the country had a number of fire hazards including a faulty electrical system and no fire alarm or fire door fitted, as well as other hazards including damp and mould.
This is extremely concerning considering that the PRS now accounts for around 5.9 million households throughout the country and this is a figure that will grow further. Thankfully, more attention has been drawn to this issue in 2019; Earlier this year, the government introduced the Homes (Fitness for Habitation) Act 2018 to tackle sub-standard homes in the private rented sector and to allow tenants to act against landlords that fail to provide safe housing. The UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence (CaCHE) – a collaboration of 14 institutes led by the University of Glasgow – has also set up a three year research program to help improve the standards of the PRS, with poor standards of accommodation being one of the first issues they will look at.
Although these are steps in the right direction, it is down to landlords to ensure that their properties are at an acceptable standard for tenants to live comfortably in and Jonathan Senior, chairman of VeriSmart, agrees: “Some may fret at the average cost to fix a property so that it meets the required standard, but when these properties are falling below expectations in part due to hazards, safety surely has to take priority. We recently looked at the tragic number of home accidents – many involving children and many leading to fatalities – and it’s clear that chances can’t be taken in this area.”
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