The Government has drawn up a new 'decent homes' standard. It expects Councils and Housing Associations to bring all their properties up to this standard by 2010.
Corby Council wants everyone in the Borough (including owner-occupiers and private tenants) to have the opportunity to live in a home which meets this standard. In particular the authority is working towards achieving the government target of 70% of vulnerable private sector household in decent homes by October 2011 and 75% in decent homes by October 2021.
To qualify as a 'decent home' a property must:-
- be 'fit for human habitation' (see unfitness below)
- be in a reasonable state of repair
- have reasonably modern facilities and services
- provide a reasonable degree of thermal comfort
A full definition of the 'decent homes standard' is available at the Office of the Communities and Local Government website.
One of the Council's proposed conditions is that the improvements must bring the property up to the decent homes standard. This will be part of the revised Housing renewal policy in 2005 for providing financial assistance for home improvement.
If your home falls short of the decent homes standard and you would like some advice, please contact us.
Unfitness and disrepair
Anyone who owns a house or flat has a responsibility to keep it fit for habitation, in good repair and not to allow its condition to cause a nuisance to others.
A property is considered unfit if it fails to meet one of the following requirements and, by reason of that failure, the Council considers it not to be reasonably suitable for occupation:
- it is structurally stable
- it is free from serious disrepair
- it is free from dampness prejudicial to the health of the occupants
- it has adequate provision for lighting, heating and ventilation
- it has an adequate piped supply of wholesome water
- there are satisfactory facilities for the preparation and cooking of food, including a sink with a satisfactory supply of hot and cold water
- it has a suitably located water-closet for the exclusive use of the occupants
- it has, for the exclusive use of the occupants, a suitably located fixed bath or shower and wash-hand basin, each of which is provided with a satisfactory supply of hot and cold water
- it has an effective system for the draining of foul, waste and surface water
The Council will take action where it considers a property to be unfit for habitation, in poor repair or causing a nuisance due to its condition. If you are a tenant it is likely that these are your landlords' responsibilities. If the landlord refuses to carry out necessary works then the Environmental Services Domestic Team may be able to take legal action to compel him/her to do so.
Please contact the Environmental Services Domestic Team if you are concerned that your home may be unfit.