CLG Inquiry: Beyond Decent Homes
While the Decent Homes Programme has delivered significant improvements in social housing, the thermal comfort element of the current standard is woefully inadequate to provide affordable warmth. ACE therefore believes that, post-2010, a ‘Decent Homes Plus’ target should be set using a much more ambitious thermal comfort criterion. We endorse the recommendation of both the EFRA Select Committee and the Fuel Poverty Advisory Group that the Government should assess the cost and feasibility of introducing a SAP 81 standard as the basis of an improved thermal comfort level for all social housing.
It is anticipated that 95% of the social housing stock will be ‘decent’ by 2010. However, the remaining 5% should be tackled as a matter of priority – and Government should ensure sufficient levels of funding to enable this to happen.
Following the abolition by CLG of the national targets for private sector homes occupied by vulnerable households, we are concerned that there is now no means of enforcing the Decent Homes Standard in the private sector. Government should give urgent consideration to regulating the private rented sector to prevent landlords from renting out F- or G-rated properties. In the short term, we make a number of suggestions below of ways in which local authorities can bring about better energy efficiency standards in the private rented sector through more effective use of the Housing Health & Safety Rating System.
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