Analysing the Statistics of Housing Disrepair in the UK

Housing disrepair in the UK is an escalating concern, with statistics indicating an increasing number of homes suffering from serious issues. These issues can negatively affect residents’ health, safety, and overall well-being. They not only lower the quality of life but also contribute to higher living costs and mental stress.

Providing a detailed analysis of these statistics, the discussion emphasises the broader implications of housing disrepair and underscores the urgent need for effective interventions. Gaining a thorough understanding of these challenges is crucial for homeowners, tenants, and policymakers alike.


Housing Disrepair Issues

Tenants often face a range of housing disrepair problems, malfunctioning utilities, health hazards, and structural and sanitation issues. These issues often persist for extended periods, causing prolonged discomfort and potential health risks. Many residents find themselves living with these problems for months before any resolution occurs.

Promptly addressing common housing disrepair issues is important for ensuring the well-being and safety of all residents and maintaining conducive and healthy living environments. Delayed resolution of these issues can exacerbate discomfort and health risks, so there is a critical need for timely interventions to mitigate potential hazards and ensure residents’ quality of life.

A graph showing common housing disrepair issues


Nature of User Disrepair Issues

Out of the 56 users surveyed by the Ministry of Justice through the Housing Disrepair Online Signposting Tool (OST), 29 individuals reported issues with their gas, electricity, boiler, heating, or hot water supply not functioning properly. This represents more than half of the respondents.

Following closely behind, damp and mould growth inside their homes was reported by 23 users, highlighting the potential health and structural issues associated with such poor conditions.

Furthermore, 18 users experienced problems with both mice or other pests and hazardous conditions related to outside doors, floors, walls, roofs, stairs, or windows, indicating a range of structural and sanitation issues affecting the safety and comfort of their living environments.

Time Since Users First Noticed Their Disrepair Problems

When surveyed about the duration of their housing disrepair issue, it was found that out of the 34 respondents, the majority had been aware of the problem for over six months. This suggests an extended period of dealing with these issues and potentially indicates the severity of the situation for many residents.

Steps Users Had Already Taken to Resolve Their Problems

They were able to choose multiple options from a list of seven. The most popular actions were: contacting their landlord or property letting agent (33 users), consulting with friends or family (29 users), and reaching out to their local council (27 users). Additionally, two users selected the ‘other’ option, mentioning that they had either decided to fix the problem themselves or called someone privately to do so.

However, none of the users mentioned utilising the Pre-Action Protocol for Housing Disrepair as part of their steps to address the issues.


English Housing Survey on Housing Quality and Condition

The English Housing Survey reveals changes in housing quality and condition over time.

From 2010 to 2020, there was a decrease in homes failing to meet the Decent Homes Standard and experiencing hazardous living conditions. Serious damp problems also declined during this period.

However, challenges persist, particularly in the private rented sector, where a notable proportion of homes still do not meet the standard housing conditions. Complaints from private tenants about landlord negligence and slow responses to repairs indicate ongoing issues in maintaining housing quality.

An infographic of homes below the Decent Homes Standard and with an HHSRS Category 1 Hazard


3.5 Million Homes Did Not Meet the Decent Homes Standard

In 2020, 15% (3.5 million) of occupied homes didn’t meet the Decent Homes Standard, a decrease from 26% (5.6 million) in 2010. Meanwhile, 9% (2.2 million) of occupied homes had an HHSRS Category 1 hazard, down from 17% (3.7 million) in 2010.

A significant improvement was noted in 2020 as 15% (3.5 million) of occupied homes fell short of meeting the Decent Homes Standard, down from 26% (5.6 million) in 2010; concurrently, 9% (2.2 million) of occupied homes were plagued by an HHSRS Category 1 hazard, marking a decline from 17% (3.7 million) in 2010. 

Among occupied homes, those in the private rented sector had the highest rate of non-compliance with the Decent Homes Standard at 23%, exceeding both owner-occupied (14%) and social rented homes (11%).

A graph showing common housing disrepair issues

Reasons for Dissatisfaction with Repairs and Maintenance

The three most prevalent reasons for dissatisfaction among private renters regarding repairs and maintenance were: private landlords neglecting repairs or maintenance (35%), landlords being sluggish in addressing issues (25%), or landlords performing only the bare minimum (15%), indicating a spectrum of concerns regarding landlord responsiveness and commitment to upkeep.

During the period of 2019-20, approximately 15% of private renters, totalling around 683,000 privately rented households, contemplated lodging a complaint against their landlord or letting agent.

Of the private renters who had made a complaint, only 45% expressed satisfaction with the response received: 26% were content with the entirety of the response, while 19% found some aspects satisfactory. However, a majority of over half (55%) were dissatisfied with the response provided.

Among individuals who voiced complaints, around 11% decided to escalate their concerns to an external entity, highlighting the extent to which some renters pursued alternative avenues for resolving their grievances beyond direct engagement with their landlord or letting agent.


How Can Housing Disrepair Solicitors Help

When facing serious housing disrepair issues, a housing disrepair solicitor can provide invaluable assistance. They offer legal guidance, negotiation skills, and representation in court proceedings. With their expertise in housing law, they ensure tenant rights are protected throughout the process. Housing disrepair solicitors document evidence of disrepair, such as photographs and reports, to strengthen your housing disrepair cases when pursuing claims.

If you’re a social housing tenant dealing with housing disrepair problems, Sandstone Legal is here to help. Our experienced team of housing disrepair solicitors is ready to provide the support and guidance you need. Contact us today for expert assistance with your housing disrepair concerns and to explore your options for making a housing disrepair claim.

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