2 in every 3 ‘social’ housing properties are NOT homes!

Council and Housing Association landlords are just as bad as private landlords and in some cases worse; that is the game-changing view of Shelter in its Living Homes Standards (LHS) report released today that you can access a full (pdf) copy here.

2 in every 3 ‘social’ housing properties FAIL the Living Home Standard

The social housing model has been sold to the public and government as being far more ‘social’ than private landlord provision in every area and – outside of stability or security of tenure – we have all been sold a lie by council and housing association landlords is the essence of this seminal report.

In terms of Affordability the LHS report says 48% of the PRS is not affordable yet 48% of council housing is not and 47% of housing association homes are not – so a hairs breadth between them.

In terms of Decent Conditions the Shelter report finds 29% of PRS is not ‘decent’ yet neither is 29% of council housing and 28% of HA homes.

In terms of Space (think bedroom tax for example) we find 16% of PRS homes are not big enough yet 22% of council housing and 23% of HA homes are not.

First impressions count it is said and this report is huge in terms of changing and shaping opinions and the report will resonate especially with social tenants who for so long have been told they are much better off than their private tenant counterparts.

This credible report destroys the simplistic public good private bad assertions we have fed for decades by (ahem) social landlords and is a wake-up call for council and housing association landlords – as in being woken up by having a sledgehammer to their sleepy heads!

The Living Home Standards report is and will be seminal (unlike so many housing reports of the past) and the coordinated media release is a triumph for Shelter. The credibility within social (sic) housing of its principal leader in Hilary Burkitt, the Head of Research at Shelter is high and rightly so.

Make no mistake this is a huge game-changing report.

The percentage of rented homes failing this Living Home Standard by tenure is staggering.

66% of housing association properties fail 

68% of council properties fail 

69% of private rented properties fail 

The overall Living Home Standard does not set an absurdly high bar and quite the opposite its standards are very mundane and low in terms of what tenants want to call a home and as the above reveals 2 in every 3 rented properties across ALL tenures are not HOMES and merely bricks and mortar.


Hardly tenants demanding unreasonable factors and an overview of what a home is and means Shelter says comes across as eminently reasonable:


I could produce a detailed critique of the report yet few would read.  The key issue is that this report has destroyed the mantra of social landlords who trade on their product being better than the private landlord and trot out as excuse for their own poor product and service.

First impressions count and perceptions do matter and this report will see council and especially housing association landlords seek to refute its findings and deny any debate on the huge number of issues that arise yet Pandora’s Box has been well and truly opened.

The deluded housing think that I have publicly criticised for years and especially in housing associations or Private Registered Providers (PRP) to give them their correct title has now come to the centre of the political stage with the Living Homes Standard report from Shelter.

The delusion that PRPs provide a better product and service than the private landlord is what the general public will now believe to be wholly false.

PRPs instead of promoting their strengths and advantages have been content to hide behind the maxim of we are better than the private landlord alternative (which they are) yet now they will be seen as being just as bad.

This PRP back them up to the hearse and let them (tenants) smell the flowers technique can no longer work as this seminal report exposes the many failings of the products and services of alleged social landlords that the report concludes are no better than the bogey man of the private landlord.

Two in every three social housing properties are not HOMES according to tenants or in housing-speak the very same customers who are always right!!


Note: The motives of Shelter and any other agendas can be questioned and investigated in this report and doubtless they will be.  Yet the die has been cast and the first move advantage / first impression taken and made.

Only a pity that Shelter’s graphics are not better as this from the report reveals


Killer statistic yet extremely poorly presented


12 thoughts on “2 in every 3 ‘social’ housing properties are NOT homes!

  1. Joe Thought you might be interested to know that the DWP count of numbers affected by benefit cap is proving to be wildly inaccurate……it’s is proving to be far too high!  Tower Hamlets were given 1100 names of those about to be capped. On checking local records, over 400 are in sufficient work to be exempt. There were others who were exempt due to age, disability benefits or carer benefits. So at least 40% of the names supplied will not be capped. Just one borough but maybe repeated elsewhere.

    Sent from my Samsung device

    1. I don’t doubt the DWP estimates are wildly inaccurate on the Benefit Cap numbers … and it will be both ways too.

      I know of two councils in which (so far) its been identified that hundreds of those who will be affected have not been notified at all when others have been.

      I also stated with the original estimates from Feb 2016 that for example my figures for LB Brent were just over 53% of the then DWP estimate, or theirs was almost double my projection.

      The one thing all sides know is that the DWP figures are a joke and their data accuracy is laughable, as has been proved so any times before when it comes to any HB projections (eg 10 times as many wrongly had bedroom tax imposed with pre 1996 cock up) and not forgetting the DWP sent out 88,000 letters to allegedly affected Benefit Cap households in late 2013 and the reality was 26,000 or so affected!!

  2. Hi Joe,
    I saw the BBC news item on the Living Home Standard and had a look at it yesterday to see if there was anything we could learn from it. I was rather disappointed although 10 out 10 to Shelter for the publicity value they gained from it.
    I am left wondering a lot about the statistical approach used but it is not my strong point, I am struggling to know where to look for the details due to the way in which it is presented and frankly I have come to the conclusion that my time is better spent elsewhere. The devil is always in the detail and I know this is your strength but I don’t take anything just at face value, so when I see that 66% of housing association properties fail the standard I might be forgiven for raising a skeptical eye? I don’t understand where this comes from apart from some sort of aggregated overall surveys?
    It seems to me that a lot of the standard is about attitude and aspiration. Nothing wrong in that but it feels rather subjective rather than objective. Consider for example the Stability Standard. This talks about security of tenure but throws in the question of whether you can have a pet?!! It seems to me that security of tenure is paramount yet apparently the score for HA’s is 12% (better than LA’s at !6%) whilst the PRS is 25% (and I find that strangely low).
    On the other hand Affordability is an issue for all 3 sectors at 48% failure. No surprise there for our sectors when successive governments of all colours have been pursuing a policy of letting the rent take the strain for decades.
    I am not sure (and I don’t need to know) how big the survey population was and how it was split by tenure but I hardly think this report is, “game changing”. As an advocate for Local Authority Council housing you must be disappointed that they are blackened with the same brush. It begs the question, if the Council housing (most of which was built to Parker Morris Standard) fails to meet this LHS then surely there is no hope for any of us, or putting it another way (as might be thought by a recent Chancellor, but not me) what do the ruddy poor expect, they should be grateful for what they’ve got!
    Best wishes

  3. One constructive criticism of Shelter’s report, the lack of a statistical break down of each attribute. The disability and aging attribute in the decent conditions dimension interests me, I would like to see how that attribute fairs by household income, tenure, age, and social grade.

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