Merton is well on track to meeting the government’s Decent Homes Standard by the 2010 target, as it has just exceeded the interim target set for 2004.
The Government introduced the Decent Homes Standard for social housing in 2001. In addition to meeting the current statutory minimum requirement, homes must meet the following criteria to be classed as decent:
·must be in a reasonable state of repair
·must have reasonably modern facilities and services
·must provide a reasonable degree of thermal comfort
The Standard aims to ensure that all social housing meets the Decent Homes Standard by 2010, and the number of households in social housing that do not meet the standards are reduced by a third by April 2004.
A survey of a cross-section of council-owned properties in Merton was carried out following the introduction of the standard in 2001, to determine what work was needed. The results of the survey showed that 2818 tenanted homes were in need of improvements. Since then, many properties have been improved, and many others have been inspected again individually. This has resulted in the number of non-decent properties in Merton being reduced to 1879, therefore meeting the government’s target.
Keith Marshall, Merton’s Housing Stock Manager, said:
“Our staff must be applauded for their efforts in meeting the interim target. A lot of hard work over a number of years has gone into actually establishing what work is needed, as well as carrying out the actual work itself.
“We intend to carry on until every single property meets the Standard. The comfort of tenants is extremely important to us, and our efforts have been largely focused on the more deprived areas of the borough.”
Merton is now in the process of inspecting all housing stock on an individual basis, so those properties that are yet to be looked at can expect a visit in the near future.