• 4.1 million homes in England were classed as non-decent in 2018.
  • In 2006, 7.7 million homes were non-decent, which means the number of non-decent homes decreased by 3.5 million over 13 years.

This chart shows how the number of non-decent homes by tenure has changed over time in England.

Non-decent homes are those with a hazard of immediate threat to a person’s health, not in reasonable state of repair, lacking modern facilities or not effectively insulated or heated. Non-decent housing can directly affect a person’s health. For instance, poor insulation can lead to cold and damp homes, which are associated with a range of health problems. A non-decent home can also have hazards that directly injure health, such as faulty wiring or trip hazards.

The number of homes classed as non-decent has fallen by 3.5 million, largely driven by improvements in owner-occupied housing. The number of non-decent private rented homes has not improved, although the tenure has grown considerably.

  • Owner-occupied households have seen the largest decrease, with 2.8 million fewer households meeting the criteria – a 52% reduction since 2006.
  • The number of non-decent households in the social rented sector has fallen by over half from 2006 to 2018 with 630,000 fewer homes classed as being non-decent.
  • The number of non-decent private rented households has fallen slightly to 1.1 million over this period, at a time when the tenure overall has grown.
  • Owner-occupied households still make up the majority of non-decent households in England at 61% of the total figure.

The number of non-decent homes in the private rented sector has not fallen, although the proportion of private rented homes that are considered non-decent has fallen, from 45% to 25% since 2006. This is because the number of private rented homes has increased during this time period.

Non-decent homes pose a risk for health. While their prevalence has been decreasing in England, nearly one in five homes is still classed as non-decent. The rate of improvement has also slowed in recent years, showing the limits of current policy approaches.

  • Non-decent homes are defined as those with a Category 1 hazard – as assessed by the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) – that are not in a reasonable state of repair, lack reasonably modern facilities or do not provide a reasonable degree of thermal comfort.

Source: Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, English Housing Survey, 2020.

Related analysis


Relationship between health and home quality


Owner-occupiers and private renters living in non-decent housing are more likely to report poor...


Inequalities in who lives in non-decent homes


Single adults and people with lower incomes are more likely to live in a non-decent home.


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Around one million households experience more than one housing problem, most commonly non-decent...

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