Local authorities need more resources to enforce Decent Homes Standard

Effective and well-funded local authority enforcement is the key to improving rented home standards, according to Propertymark.

In its response to a consultation by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) on the Decent Homes Standard in England, the membership organisation said that while local authorities are in an “excellent position” to enforce local standards based on the needs of their area, many struggle to do so according to current standards within the private rented sector. Therefore, any additional responsibilities for them will be difficult to manage without additional resources.

Propertymark also recommended that, in addition to providing greater resources, the DLUHC should develop national guidelines for local authorities to avoid the potential for inconsistent enforcement and standards across England. There should also be accountability for tenants if a breach in standards is due to their own lack of care or neglect, insisted the organisation, which added that the issue is especially important when dealing with mould.

In addition to this, resources should be focused on providing information to landlords as well as support to enable them to meet the standard, rather than using fines as a first response to any breaches, said Propertymark.

“It’s hard to find a reason not to support greater standards for homes within the private rented sector,” said Timothy Douglas, head of policy and campaigns at the organisation. Tenants should expect a certain standard when renting from any agent. The Decent Homes Standard creates a level playing field that our members will appreciate as they already go above and beyond what is expected of them.

“That being said, the DLUHC needs to understand the immense strain local authorities are facing when delivering their current duties regarding existing standards,” added Douglas. “Sufficient resources and commitment will be required to ensure consistent and regular enforcement of the Decent Homes Standard.”



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