According to research by the Centre for Ageing Better and Care & Repair England an estimated 10 people across England spent Christmas in a home classed as ‘non decent’. Their analysis finds that there are 4.3 million non-decent homes in England, almost half of which are lived in by someone over the age of 55. 15% of all wheelchair users live in a non-decent home.
What is a ‘non-decent’ home?
It means that they are damp and cold, in a state of disrepair, or are simply unsafe to live in. Research states that over a million over-55s are living in a home with at least one of these problems.
These figures are truly unbelievable and it is unacceptable that such a large proportion of people are living in a home which is either damp or cold or that has a risk of a dangerous fall, especially for the elderly population.
Whilst the report confirms that the majority of housing in poor condition is owner-occupied, particularly among over-55s, with 78% of non-decent homes headed by someone in this age group being owner-occupied the rental market is not immune to this either.
In their recent manifesto the Labour party revealed that 1 in 4 private rented UK homes are also classed as ‘non-decent’. Legislation changes which came into force from 1st April 2018 prohibited landlords from letting or renewing a tenancy on a property rated F or G under EPC guidelines. Under the Conservative government properties with an EPC rating of F or G will extend to any existing tenancies from April 2020 preventing let.
There is still a long way to go to improve the quality of both owner occupied and rental properties and BTR certainly has a role to play in this.
Katherine Rose, Prsim – Director of PRS & Build to Rent Client Services, commented that “In 2020 it is unbelievable to think that over Christmas 10 million people were in homes that were classed as ‘non decent’ especially given the number ofo older residents in substandard living accommodation. It is not acceptable that people continue to live in damp, cold and unsafe homes. The proposed EPC changes will go some way to improve the quality of rented accommodation available and with the increase of BTR housing and apartments planned over the next few years there should be a large increase in well built, good quality and well managed homes for residents to choose from.”