Enforcement is the key to increasing standards in the PRS
In a London Assembly Housing Committee session, Assembly Members (AM) heard evidence from panellists including the NLA regarding the standard of privately rented homes in London and the role of local authorities.
Assembly members explored the case for extending the mandatory requirement for the Decent Homes standard to the private rented sector. This argument was based on the 25 percent of the PRS which was deemed to be non-decent in the 2018 English Housing Survey.
In the evidence session, the NLA argued that extending the Decent Homes requirement would not increase standards because local authorities already had powers under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS). The issue was not the absence of regulation but the ability to enforce existing standards which had not been successful. The NLA acknowledged that under staffing was an issue and more needed to be done to support local authorities in retaining qualified personnel.
Estimates suggest that the private rented sector (PRS) provides 935,000 homes in London compared to 800,000 socially rented homes. The Decent Homes standard was introduced in 2000 to reduce the number of non-decent social rented homes.
The standards require that properties must be:
- Free of Category 1 hazards under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System
- In a reasonable state of repair
- Reasonably equipped with modern facilities and services
- Able to provide a reasonable degree of thermal comfort
What you can do
To hear more from the evidence session, click here to be redirected to the recorded webcast.