Many PRS residents are vulnerable, with specific health and social care needs
A report into housing quality has found Yorkshire has the poorest quality private housing in the country.
The Northern Housing Consortium (NHC) examined housing conditions in the North’s private rental sector (PRS). It discovered 37.6% of the PRS in the Yorkshire and Humber region are non-decent, and do not meet the minimum statutory health and safety standards for housing.
This is a much higher PRS failure rate than the English average of 22.8%, and higher than the average across the North of around 30%. Yet worryingly, Yorkshire is the region most reliant on the PRS apart from London.
The NHC, which represents 140 councils and housing associations across the North, is urging the government to act quickly as the situation is worsening. Quality of housing in the PRS has decreased across the North East and Yorkshire and Humber over the past ten years with the number of non-decent homes growing in these areas by 3.6% and 1.3% respectively.
The consortium wants the new Prime Minister, Liz Truss to ensure the government delivers its new reforms aimed at improving the PRS. These include the Renters Reform Agenda, and the Levelling Up Mission.
The Renters Reform Agenda will scrap no-fault evictions and for the first time apply the Decent Homes Standard to the PRS. The Levelling Up Mission has promised to halve the number of non-decent rented homes by 2030.
The PRS in England comprises 4.4m households, including 1.3m households with children and 382,000 households over the age of 65.
“It is imperative that the new Prime Minister accelerates the Renters Reform Agenda and doesn’t let the standard of private rented housing in the North slide.”
Tracy Harrison, NHC Chief Executive said: “The Yorkshire and Humber region has the lowest standards of private rented accommodation of any region. It’s clear that for significant parts of the North, the standards are already poor and getting worse.
“It is imperative that the new Prime Minister accelerates the Renters Reform Agenda and doesn’t let the standard of private rented housing in the North slide. Otherwise, the government will fall way short of hitting its target of halving the number of non-decent rented homes by 2030. The need to level-up housing quality is vital, particularly across the North, where homes are older, suffer from a lack of investment, and the sector is crying out for support and proper regulation.
“While most people have a positive experience living in the private rented sector, the fact is that many residents are often vulnerable, with specific health and social care needs. The quality of the housing in the lower end of the sector is simply not up to standard and can exacerbate physical and mental health conditions to limit life chances further.”
With some 54% of those housed in the PRS at high risk of fuel poverty, the consortium has called for the pace of energy efficiency upgrades to homes to be speeded up.
The Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities pointed to last week’s announcement to consult on a new decent homes standard for the PRS but declined to comment further.
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