More than four in 10 homes in Britain are falling short of an acceptable standard to live in, according to the housing charity Shelter. The charity said it came up with the new criteria for what constitutes an acceptable place to live in consultation with the public. From having an affordable rent to being free from mould, pests and safety hazards, the list sets a “not unreasonable” standard which all homes should be meeting, Shelter said.
One in five homes failed the Living Home Standard based on a lack of decent conditions. Some didn’t have running hot and cold water, others were not structurally sound, and many had serious pest infestations or issues with mould and damp.
One in four said their homes failed basic standards of affordability. In these cases, people had to cut back on essentials like food and heating just to pay their rent or mortgage, or they were worried those payments could rise to a level they would no longer be able to afford.
One in 10 respondents failed the test due to instability, mostly renters on short term contracts worried they could be kicked out of their homes at short notice.
In London 73 per cent said their home failed the test on some level.
“There have always been really serious problems with squalid homes, but it is very difficult to quantify that” Ms Baxendale said. “The focus of what we are doing right now is really just the breadth of the problem. This gives us the public’s definition of what we should be aiming for as a country, and shows us how far we’re falling short.”
Shelter’s chief executive, Campbell Robb, said there should be a “national mission to get to grips with our housing crisis once and for all. The sad truth is that far too many people in Britain right now are living in homes that just aren’t up to scratch.”
These are the essentials from Shelter’s criteria. Homes were also expected to meet some out of a range of ‘tradeable’ non-essential conditions
Can meet the rent or mortgage payments on the home without regularly having to cut spending on household essentials like food or heating
Not worried that rent or mortgage payments could rise to a level that would be difficult to pay
2 Decent Conditions
The home can be heated safely and effectively
The home has hot and cold running water
The home is free from safety hazards such as faulty wiring or fire risks
The home is structurally sound with no important defects to the roof and/or walls
The home has a toilet, and a bath and/or shower
The home feels physically secure (for example with adequate locks on doors and windows)
The home is free from pest problems
The home is free from mould or damp problems
The home is suitable for the current age and/or disability related needs of everyone in the household
There are electrical sockets in the main living areas, kitchen and bedroom(s)
The number of bedrooms in the home is adequate for all members of the household
There is enough space to allow all members of the household to have privacy, for example when they wish to be alone
There is enough space for all members of the household to comfortably spend time together in the same room
There is adequate space to prepare and cook food
There is adequate space to store essential items, such as a reasonable amount of clothes, towels and bedding
The household has enough control over how long they can live in the home
Feel reasonably safe and secure in the local neighbourhood.