Welsh housing quality standard
The Welsh housing quality standard (WHQS) is the Welsh Government's target standard for all social housing in Wales.
To meet the standard, houses must be:
- in a good state of repair
- safe and secure
- adequately heated, fuel efficient and well insulated
- contain up to date kitchens and bathrooms
- well managed (for rented housing)
- located in attractive and safe environments
- where possible, suitable for the specific needs of those living there, such as those with disabilities
These standards must also be maintained.
What we are doing to meet the standards
We have been progressing with work to improve homes and estates up to the WHQS by 2021, following an extension due to Covid. There is an ongoing programme of works called the 'Housing Capital Programme' which sets out what repairs and improvements we will make to our 13,585 council properties and 609 leasehold properties. Every year around February time the budget is set for the next financial year and determines what works will be undertaken as part of the annual Housing Capital Programme.
We are investing £46,875,000 for 2021 to reach the WHQS by December 2021. The work covers a variety of projects and some properties may need more work than others as properties are different ages, shapes and sizes, and built from different materials. We are working with a number of different contractors to carry out the improvements work.
Funding for the work
The funding is provided by a combination of council house rent income and borrowed money. Part of this investment is also given to us as a Major Repair Allowance grant from the Welsh Government. The amount of Major Repair Allowance allocated for 2021 is £9,271,000. This grant helps improve the lives of those who live in council homes as well as providing community benefits.
WHQS compliance is reached when all elements within the WHQS are considered to be in reasonable condition and performing as intended. The level of compliance is measured via house conditions surveys and updates once repairs and improvements are completed.
Within the WHQS guidance document is the facility to record elements as 'acceptable fail'. The document recognises that it may not be possible to bring all elements up to the standard and landlords are permitted to report these as one of the following acceptable fails categories: cost of remedy; timing of remedy; residents' choice; and physical constraint. Those elements that cannot be brought up to the WHQS, will continue to be repaired and maintained to ensure homes remain safe.
The level of WHQS compliance for Swansea can be seen by visiting the Stats Wales website: Compliance with WHQS (Stats Wales)