Yorkshire has most unfit homes failing to meet Decent Homes Standard

New data finds Yorkshire has the largest proportion of unfit homes

A recent analysis by People’s Health Trust found that Yorkshire is facing a severe housing crisis, having the highest proportion of unfit homes in England. The situation is particularly dire in the private rental sector, where tenants are almost twice as likely to live in substandard conditions compared to the national average. Almost 40% (37.7%) of private rented homes failed to meet the Decent Homes Standard, which is way over the national figure for England (21%).

Looking specifically at why they failed, the analysis showed that a staggering 23.2% of private rented homes in Yorkshire are plagued with damp and mould issues, significantly higher than the national average of 9%. As we’ve seen in lots of news stories, damp and mould is a serious health hazard known to cause respiratory problems and contribute to poor mental health, disproportionately affecting the most vulnerable members of society. Children living in these substandard conditions often have reduced life chances, as evidenced by the case of a child in Bradford who was hospitalised with a lung infection caused by unaddressed damp and mould in their home. 

damp and mould is present in many homes in Yorkshire, requiring local surveyor inspections

The implications of poor housing conditions extend far beyond health concerns. They have significant economic repercussions, as more individuals are forced to take sick leave due to housing-related health issues.

Damp and mould are also extremely damaging to properties – especially if it gets out of hand. Over time, persistent moisture can weaken the integrity of walls, floors, and ceilings, leading to costly repairs. The presence of mould can degrade building materials like wood and drywall, causing them to rot or crumble. Additionally, damp conditions can lead to the corrosion of electrical fittings, which can be a hidden hazard.

In response to these findings, the government lead by Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities in the UK, Michael Gove has aimed to strengthen laws that urge landlords to address these hazards properly and quickly..However, these efforts are at risk of being undermined by a funding crisis in local government. Councils in England have to face a huge £4bn funding gap over the next two years, as analysed by the Local Government Association, which could lead to underinvestment in crucial areas like housing enforcement. Ultimately, it’s difficult for councils to have the resources to actually enforce the Decent Housing Standard and carry out inspections. Therefore, the cycle of poor housing is likely to continue unfortunately. People’s Health Trust claims that if there was adequate resources for inspections, tenants wouldn’t be faced with the burden of having to ask for repairs and in some cases – resort to legal proceedings.

homes in Leeds - surveyors in Yorkshire

Social Housing provider Yorkshire Housing have also issued an apology in response to complaints by tenants living in extremely poor conditions with damp and mould for years. They acknowledged that they hadn’t responded quickly enough to solve problems. 

These findings aren’t exactly new, where in 2020, Yorkshire and the Humber was the region most likely to fail the Standard than other regions. It was closely followed by the South West too. This just goes to show how the problem is embedded in the local housing market. The latest findings by People’s Health Trust found that Yorkshire was also the worst region for failing to meet the standard, followed by the North West with 33% of private rented homes not meeting an inhabitable level. 

The housing crisis in Yorkshire is a complex issue that’s by no means fixed by just one solution. There needs to be a collaborative approach between stakeholders like housing associations, healthcare professionals and communities and councils to tackle it. Public awareness campaigns can also be useful in highlighting the importance of healthy living conditions and the rights of tenants. Another option is to promote the development of new, affordable housing projects that meet high health and safety standards, as well as the renovation of existing properties to make them fit to live in. 

Ultimately, tenants in Yorkshire shouldn’t have to remain in a position where their homes fail to meet the standard. Contracting a local independent RICS surveyor can provide you with a professional evaluation about the condition of your home, equipping you with a final report that’s bound by law. This means, it can be used in any disputes. For more information, don’t hesitate to get in touch with CJ Bloor today. We have surveyors across the region in West Yorkshire, North Yorkshire and South Yorkshire to help you out.

Likewise, if you’re a property owner or landlord that’s worried about damp and mould, or other potential hazards in your home, seeking out the advice of a surveyor in Yorkshire can help. 

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