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The Chartered Institute of Housing is the independent voice for housing and the home of professional standards

What's the future for decent homes?


Jeremy Kape, director of property investment at Affinity Sutton, explains what the decent homes programme can contribute to new and emerging housing challenges.

What's the future for decent homes? This is a good question to ask and one I will be exploring at the CIH repairs and maintenance conference in Birmingham - but perhaps a better question is: does it remain relevant in time of such significant change?

The decent homes standard is a child of the 1990s, developed in response to the under-investment in local authority housing stock and a deterioration in condition of many homes. Badged as a trigger for action, but by default a minimum standard, it places a significant emphasis on the individual dwelling and the components within it. This has been at the expense of investment in estates and neighbourhoods which we increasingly understand have a major impact on tenancy sustainment, lettings and the wellbeing of our residents.

The decent homes programme achieved its objective of an overall improvement in condition but, perhaps more significantly, in the long term it led to the professionalisation of the repairs and maintenance sector and its supply chains and created greater emphasis on stock condition and strategic stock investment.

But the problems we face now are not the same as those in the 90s. The stock is generally in good condition, comparing very well to both the private rent and owner occupier sectors. However, significant challenges lie ahead, we are in the midst of a housing crisis requiring significant investment in new homes at a time when the sector faces unprecedented changes.

Then we have an increasing issue with fuel poverty and an emerging awareness of the issue surrounding poor internal air quality in the home, not forgetting the basics of repair and maintain the building fabric and components.

The issues and our homes are becoming far more complex. So what is the future of decent homes? What can it contribute to these new and emerging challenges? Food for thought!

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