Landlords are waiting to find out how they will need to bring their properties up to the ‘decent homes standard’ announced in the government’s Levelling Up White Paper.

However, its extensive guidance for social landlords gives a good indication of what might be expected as this is likely to be the basis for the new rules covering private landlords.

Under the definition, a home is considered decent if it doesn’t have one or more serious category one hazards. It also needs to be in a “reasonable state of repair” and would fail the test if one or more of the key building components – external walls, roof structure and covering, windows/doors, chimneys, central heating boilers, gas fires, storage heaters, plumbing and electrics – are old (older than their standard lifetime) and, because of their condition, need replacing or major repair.

A property isn’t in a reasonable state of repair if two or more of any other building components are old and, because of their condition, need replacing or major repair.

‘Reasonably modern’

Properties need “reasonably modern facilities and services” and those which lack three or more of the following would fail: a reasonably modern kitchen (20 years old or less); kitchen with adequate space and layout; reasonably modern bathroom (30 years old or less); an appropriately located bathroom and WC; adequate insulation against external noise (where external noise is a problem); and adequate size and layout of common areas for blocks of flats.

A home without one or two of these is still classed as decent, and landlords wouldn’t need to modernise kitchens and bathrooms if their property meets the remaining criteria.

Lastly, properties need to “provide a reasonable degree of thermal comfort” through both effective insulation and efficient heating – although this definition could well be superseded by any upcoming changes to EPC ratings.

Government guidance also notes that landlords are not expected to make a home decent if this is against a tenant’s wishes as work can be undertaken when it is next void.

NRLA view

“Every tenant should have the right to expect properties to be safe and secure. The existing Decent Homes Standard however is not the right vehicle with which to achieve this important goal,” says Chief Executive Ben Beadle.

“At present, this standard, designed for the social rented sector, does not reflect many of the differences between it and the private rented sector. This includes the types and age of properties in each. 

“We will work with the Government to ensure whatever standards expected of the sector are proportionate, fit for purpose and can be properly enforced. Without this, criminal landlords will continue to undermine the reputation of the vast majority of responsible landlords doing the right thing.”

15 COMMENTS

  1. I got plenty of kitchens & bathrooms Over 30 years old – including my own. All are in excellent condition and some look as good as when installed. You just need tenants to look after their home.

    I have also pulled plenty out as been poorly installed or bad tenants.

    • Spot on. My kitchen is circa 30 years old and it’s perfectly fit for purpose and I have no intention of replacing it any time soon. I like it just as it is. The standard ought to focus on functionality, not age nor how ‘modern’ it is.

  2. Why whenever I see comments from the NRLA do they always seem to miss the point ?

    I never see them demanding a national tenant register to mirror a national landlord record. I never see them arguing that the Shelter reteric doesn’t have any factual basis . Nor do I see them clearly articulating the value of the PRS to the government.

    • Great comment. All my houses have “modern” kitchens what ever the hell that means. I’ve only needed to replace kitchens (2 in last 5 years) after tenants trashed them. When tenants leave we completely redecorate, clean carpets in good condition and change the rest. Deposits are pointless, it’s never any of my little darlings fault.

      I think it would be hard to have a tenant register and hard to police. However there is one very easy way to at least give landlords and indicator of a tenants past history and that is, that non payment or late payment of rent should be on their credit file. But the powers that be will never do that it would be to easy for us landlords to avoid the complete rogues.

  3. I remember back in 1969/1970 when the government of the day gave tenants the right not to be evicted for non-payment of rent.
    Every vacancy was followed by the landlord selling the property and no new tenancies were available – leading to a massive problem for those who were not wealthy enough to be able to buy.
    Good intentions, yes – but the consequence of giving rights to tenants that damaged the prospects for landlords hit those who needed to rent a home hardest.
    If the government is serious about giving tenants a better deal, the government should stop avoiding being a landlord and build/provide homes for rent, either directly or through local authorities.

  4. Is this serious? So age is the criterion?
    And age of what? Fixtures? Appliances? Most kitchen appliances don’t last 30 years but the fixtures easily can if looked after.
    And where’s the ‘decent tenants standard’?

  5. The environment no longer matters then. My own kitchen & several of my rentals have kitchens 25+ years old & there is nothing wrong with them. Age has nothing to do with it. There’ll be millions of perfectly good kitchens & white goods going into landfill & 1000s of tonnes of carbon etc going into the atmosphere to manufacture the new ones.
    Carbon neutral? Who makes these stupid moronic rules?

  6. My portfolio includes 17th and 18th century houses which are presumably “older than their standard lifetime”. and which are Listed Buildings. How are roofs, walls. etc to be assessed and what am I supposed to do if I am told they need replacing, especially if the Listed Building Officer won’t let me do what they want?

  7. I spend money on my properties only for a bad tenant, to wreck the place. Where is the protection for landlords? It is a vicious circle, where landlords loose confidence and refuse to improve the property again. May be they should move to the German model, where the tenant is responsible for kitchens and bathrooms.

  8. As government said these works can be carried out in void periods will they allow for tax reclaimed,or instant expenses. so you don’t have to wait until you sell the property to claim the expenses back.
    It’s the replace new for old or improvement and repair debate again.

  9. Pointless excercise when rogue landlords carry on getting away renting substandard houses, it will impact landlords that generally provide good housing stock and abide by the current rules.

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