What counts as a decent home?

Your council or housing association landlord can improve your home so that it meets the Decent Homes Standard.

The Decent Home Standard

The Decent Homes Standard is a minimum standard council and housing association homes should meet according to the government.

Under the standard, council or housing association homes must:

Your home fails the Decent Home Standard if it doesn't meet all four criteria.

How homes can fail the Decent Homes Standard

Examples of how your home could fail to meet the standard include if:

  • there are hazards in your home such as persistent damp or a heating or electrical system that is in poor condition
  • the bathroom has not been improved in the last 30 years
  • the kitchen doesn't have enough space
  • it isn't warm because of an inefficient heating system or ineffective insulation

What your landlord can do to improve your home

Report any repairs your home needs to your landlord. They can arrange to carry out improvement work if your home doesn't meet the Decent Homes Standard. 

This work is often done through a planned improvement programme.

Different types of work may be done at different times. For example, your landlord could replace all the kitchens on an estate in one year, then replace all the windows the next year.

Your landlord looks at lots of different information to decide if your home meets the Decent Home Standard. For example:

  • information and complaints from tenants
  • repairs and maintenance records
  • reports from residents' associations

If your landlord won't do improvement works

Your council or housing association landlord might tell you your home won't get any improvement work. This could be because:

  • it already meets the Decent Homes Standard
  • other homes take priority as they are in a worse condition

Get advice if you disagree with your landlord's decision.

Use Shelter's directory to find a local advice centre

Complain about problems with improvement works

Get in touch with your landlord if there are problems with the standard of work done to bring your home up to the Decent Home Standard.

Unsuitable accommodation

The Decent Home Standard doesn't apply to private rented sector homes.

If you apply to the council as homeless and the council offers you a private tenancy, it should be safe and in a reasonable condition.

If it's not, it won't count as suitable accommodation for you and your family.

Still need advice?

Contact a Shelter adviser online or by phone


Last updated 18 May 2018 | © Shelter

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