Substandard rented properties in rural areas outstrip urban counterparts

New figures from the Department for Levelling Up Housing & Communities show that rented properties in rural areas are in a worst state than those in urban areas. 

Of all rural rented properties, 21.2% were deemed to be non-decent, that’s 266,706 homes that don’t meet the Decent Homes Standards which include:

  • meet the statutory minimum standard for housing (the Housing Health and Safety Rating System, since April 2006), homes which contain a Category 1 hazard under the HHSRS are considered non-decent
  • provide a reasonable degree of thermal comfort
  • be in a reasonable state of repair
  • have reasonably modern facilities and services

Of the privately rented properties in predominantly rural areas, 29.3% were classed as non-decent, compared with 21.9% in urban areas.  Rented social housing shows a better picture with 14.1% of properties in predominantly rural areas being rated as non-decent, compared to 11.7% in urban areas.

Whilst the figures do not show the driving factors for non-decency in each rural area, the report does indicate the kind of homes that are more likely to be non-decent.  The Housing Quality and Condition Report 2020, finds a ‘strong relationship’ between both energy efficiency and housing quality – 96% of F and G properties are non-decent.  Age also plays a part with 32% of properties built before 1919 being rated as non-decent.

The Department for Levelling Up Housing & Communities says it will “consider how these statistics should be developed and updated going forward” but that the “government’s ambition is for the number of non-decent rented homes to have fallen by 50%, with the biggest improvements in the lowest-performing areas.”

It has also asked people who have views on these or other options for future development, to contact: EHS@levellingup,


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