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

Housing conditions and standards

Last updated Date:13/06/2012

Housing conditions and standards


Government has long had an interest in assessing housing conditions through the regular surveys that take place in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. It has also established standards, such as the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (and in Scotland, the Tolerable Standard). In social housing, from 2001 onwards there have been higher standards, the Decent Homes Standard in England and Northern Ireland, and the rather more ambitious Scottish and Welsh Housing Quality Standards.

In all four jurisdictions, there are target dates for social housing to comply with the standards. The annual UK Housing Review carries statistics and an assessment of the progress in the different jurisdictions, and commentary on different issues that are arising.

The previous government planned to update the Decent Homes Standard to create a Warm Homes Standard, but this reform has not been pursued by the present government. However, there are now targets across the UK to reduce carbon emissions, and these affect standards both for existing housing and for new build (see Environment).

The Homes and Community Agency has publicised a study released in March 2012 about the wider benefits of programmes to achieve the Decent Homes Standard, in this case in Nottingham. The independent study found that the work done had helped tenants reduce their fuel bills, cut burglaries and benefitted the local economy.

Our view

CIH took the lead in calling for what became the Decent Homes Standard and for the target of ten years to achieve it. CIH has always been involved in government guidance on and further development of the different standards.

CIH believes that, in England, now that the 2010 target date for achieving ‘decency’ has passed (and the vast majority of social homes brought up to the standard), there is a need to move forwards. A new standard is required, especially to face the challenge of upgrading the energy efficiency of the stock and to tackle wider environmental issues in estates.

CIH contact Jonh Perry,

Helpful links

CIH response to questions on changes to building regulations, DCLG April 2012

CIH response to DCLG buiding regulations consultation April 2012

Beyond Decent Homes: Decent housing standards post-2010

CIH evidence to the Communities and Local Government Committee,

August, 2009



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