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 programme aimed at improving council and housing association homes to bring them all up to a minimum standard.

To meet the Decent Home Standard, your council or housing association home 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 the Decent Homes Standard include if:

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

Find out more about poor conditions in council or housing association homes.

What your landlord can do to improve your home

Your landlord is responsible for most repairs to your home.

Ask your landlord to carry out repairs.

Your council or a housing association landlord 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 are often 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

Find out more about your landlord's responsibility for repair.

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, perhaps because:

  • although your home could be improved overall it meets the Decent Homes Standard
  • other local homes are in a worse condition and improvements to them take priority over yours
  • your home doesn't need any work

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

Contact your council or housing association landlord if there are problems with the standard of work done to bring your home up to the Decent Home Standard.

Find out how to complain about an unsafe home.

Unsuitable accommodation

The Decent Home Standard programme 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 be in a reasonable condition. If it's not, it won't count as suitable for you and your family.

Find out what you can do about unsuitable accommodation.

Get advice from Shelter

Get advice if your council or housing association home needs repairs.

Call Shelter's free national helpline on 0808 800 4444.

Use Shelter's directory to find a local advice centre.


Last updated 05 Jan 2016 | © Shelter

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