Wednesday, 03 September 2014

HCA outlines work still left to do as mayor considers a programme for London

£3.2 billion needed to make all homes decent

Social landlords will need to spend another £3.2 billion to make all of their housing stock decent.

Sir Bob Kerslake, chief executive of the Homes and Communities Agency, revealed the full scale of the challenge as it emerged London mayor Boris Johnson could develop a ‘beyond decent homes’ standard for social homes in London.

Currently there are still 397,000 non-decent council properties and a further 182,000 homes owned by other social landlords in England. The figure represents approximately 14 per cent of the overall English social housing stock.

Sir Bob revealed the figures at the Northern Housing Summit for landlords and procurement consortia last week. ‘To finish the job wll require something like £3.2 billion,’ he stated.

Sir Bob said planned reforms of the housing subsidy system could help councils that have already made their homes decent maintain them into the future. But he said councils that still had substantial numbers of non-decent homes would need more help.

‘I think they need direct government funding to move them forward,’ he stated. ‘There is still quite a big and quite a long tail to deliver here.’

Sir Bob added that procurement consortia would have a big role to play in helping the HCA make a case to government for more money for the programme.

‘In making that argument [for funding] we are in a much stronger place if we can be clear we are getting absolutely top value out of the resources available,’ Sir Bob added.

The London mayor’s office is working with environmental charity the Centre for Sustainable Energy on a new standard for the city’s stock, which it is discussing with the government ahead of October’s comprehensive spending review.

The new standard is likely to focus on energy efficiency. A source close to the discussions said social landlords would probably be expected to bring their stock up to the standard as part of their normal programme of repairs and maintenance rather than as a standalone project.

A spokesperson for the mayor’s office said all options were currently under consideration.

Martin Holley, senior technical project manager for the CSE, said: ‘The ultimate end result of this valuable piece of work should be an improvement in the quality of life for people living in London’s social rented sector.’

Decent homes in figures

£3.2 billion
value of outstanding decent homes work

397,000
non-decent council properties

182,000
other non-decent social homes

Readers' comments (20)

  • I can't help feeling that someone going to be disappointed about this dosh not arriving. I mean, our Dave flies commercial to see Obama.

    On the other hand, the £3.5bn figure is probably one of rabbit out of the hat jobs that serves no other purpose than a positioning bid.

    Many local authorities in London are meeting the DH standard not by doing any work but by taking a flexible attitude on definitions.

    At a stroke, that 15-year-old kitchen meets the standard because the standard has now moved to 30 years before replacement.

    Or there's that scam about shifting from a cyclical repairs regime to a responsive repairs programme. A couple of words and millions are removed from costs.

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  • Another £3.2Bn? After the last £37Bn splurge? I really don't see that happening anytime before the next Ice Age. Especially for London. With some areas of prime central London having as much as 75% council housing Treasury are well within their rights to say if you want the money, sell some stock. The London average is 26% and the national is 18%. No LA that has more than these averages should be given a penny...

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  • michael barratt

    THE DECENT HOMES SCAM

    Or how Central Government has become the author of disrepair and local authorities have misled tenants into voting for the privatisation of their homes.

    SEE: www.indoubt.co.uk

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  • Junior

    Go and get the money from the banks that put us in this position in the first place made lots of profit first part of the year. Also get this years Housing Benefit payment from them fatcats

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  • How believable are these figures?
    In Lambeth, south London, the non-decency figure for council properties was around 30 per cent for more than four years, until it suddenly leapt to 49 per cent, supposedly as a result of a new stock condition survey.
    After a year in which no figure at all was reported for non-decency the new figure emerged just after this May's election - couldn't be, could it, that the council's Labour administration was keeping the news back that it had allowed half of Lambeth council homes to fall below even the most basic standard.

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  • Chris

    If the requirement for such an investment is truly required then how about asking the tenants of those houses what they think. Are they happy with the current standard of fitment, insulation etc? If they are and health and safety issues are nil, then why not leave the happy tenants to get on with it. If they are not, then how would they like to go forwards, at what speed, from what funding source? Ask them please as so often the answers that come from those directly involved far exceed the thinking of the experts. Who knows, it may just help make the problem become resolved.

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  • Chris

    If the requirement for such an investment is truly required then how about asking the tenants of those houses what they think. Are they happy with the current standard of fitment, insulation etc? If they are and health and safety issues are nil, then why not leave the happy tenants to get on with it. If they are not, then how would they like to go forwards, at what speed, from what funding source? Ask them please as so often the answers that come from those directly involved far exceed the thinking of the experts. Who knows, it may just help make the problem become resolved.

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  • Exactly anonymous at 9.26am.

    Definitions of Decent Home are infinitely flexible and can be stretched to prove how wonderful a housing authority is at improving its stock as well as that a housing authority is in desperate need of huge amounts of taxpayers' cash.

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  • the decent home standard was yet another way to create orders for housing offficials favouered friends. (they are going to fight to maintain their 'perks' in the budget cuts)
    the whole standard needed looking at. it was far too high for social housing. Bathrooms and kitchens which would have been adequate for another 20 to 40 years were being replaced, just to meet inapropriate standards.

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  • You wouldn't believe the tricks social landlords use to fool their residents (especially those who believe they have got a good landlord)
    How can anyone deny social housing is all about landlords abusing residents and getting away with it?

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