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Decent Homes Standard: safeagent view

18th October 2022

The Government’s consultation on introducing a legally binding Decent Homes Standard to the private rented sector in England is now closed.

safeagent reviewed the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities’ draft Standard on behalf of members and identified some clear inconsistencies between what is proposed and existing housing regulations.

safeagent’s chief executive, Isobel Thomson, reflects on what is currently proposed:

“safeagent wholeheartedly supports the principle of improving standards in the private rented sector – everyone has the right to live in a safe, secure home. But policy efforts need to be consistent and joined up.

“The Government’s proposals for a PRS Decent Homes Standard – as they are currently outlined –  fall short. They fail to recognise the standards set by existing regulations, such as for gas and electrical safety, energy efficiency, and recent changes to smoke and carbon monoxide alarm requirements.

“These are just some areas that have been omitted from the DHS proposals. Other areas have been unnecessarily complicated, such as the additional layer of electrical safety regulation. Inconsistent, more complex regulation will only make it harder for landlords to know what their responsibilities are.

“Inconsistency makes enforcement harder too. It’s one thing to introduce new regulatory powers, but local authorities need greater resources and clarity about how to apply them. It also cannot be right for private landlords who fail to abide by the Standard to face more severe punishment than those who provide social housing.

“The Government must take a holistic view when developing the DHS, so that it works alongside existing public and private sector regulations. This wider perspective must also include external factors affecting the PRS, such as rising bills, inflation and a shortfall in housing supply.

“We have responded to the DHS consultation and will continue to monitor this policy area closely on behalf our agents. We are committed to play our part in making sure a Decent Homes Standard for the PRS is practical, pragmatic and deliverable – and ultimately helps to create more safe and secure rented homes.”

You can read safeagent’s full response to the consultation here.

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