The Welsh Liberal Democrat Housing Spokesperson, Peter Black has voiced his concern at new statistics which show that indicate that the condition of residential properties in the private sector is in decline
The Welsh Government’s Annual Report on Housing demolitions and hazards published today reveal that the number of dwellings being demolished has increased for the first time since 2010-11. During 2013-14, 221 dwellings were demolished, up by 87 per cent on the previous year. In addition in 2013-14, six per cent fewer dwellings were assessed by local authorities under the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) than in the previous year. Of those that were assessed, the percentage that contained at least one Category 1 hazard rose from 36 per cent in 2012-13 to 38 per cent in 2013-14.
“The decline in the quality of residential dwellings is worrying,” said Mr. Black, “especially when it is likely that most of those inspected will be private sector rentals, soon to be brought under a new licensing regime. More homes are coming onto the private rental market due to the recession and we need to ensure they are fit for purpose. It is vital that the Minister uses her powers under the new Housing Act (Wales) 2014 to issue regulations that will bring these homes back up to basic standards as and when they are licensed.
“The Housing Act relies on the Housing, Health and Safety Rating System to judge the fitness or otherwise of privately rented homes, but important as this is, it amounts to a basic check regarding facilities. The Welsh Government now have the power through statutory guidance to aspire to a better quality for private sector homes. I hope that they take that opportunity. These statistics show that such an approach is much needed.”