Welsh Housing Quality Standards - WHQS (Agenda Edition 5)
Subjects for Tenant Groups to discuss with their landlord
Some tenant groups have asked us for topical agenda items/subject briefings for their tenant group to discuss with their landlord. TPAS Cymru have created a briefing series that we call ‘The Agenda’ which provides tenant groups with an overview of a subject and suggestions of questions you might want to ask in your engagement with your landlord. This briefing will focus on the following: Welsh Housing Quality Standards (WHQS).
The Welsh Housing Quality Standard (WHQS) is a Wales wide standard set by Welsh Government (WG) for all homes that are let to tenants in social housing (such as Councils and Housing Associations). It began in 2002 and sets out the quality that the WG expects social housing landlords to achieve in the homes they provide.
Welsh Government is evaluating/assessing the scheme during 2020/21 and is interested to hear tenants’ views, and their experiences, of the WHQS while renting from the Social Housing sector in Wales. These views will help to update/shape what the future WHQS might look like.
The Welsh Housing Quality Standard (WHQS) is the Welsh Government quality standard of social housing. The WHQS aims to make sure that all dwellings/homes are of good quality and are suitable for the needs of current and future residents.
The WHQS requires all social housing to be:
1. In a good state of repair
2. Safe and secure
3. Adequately heated, fuel efficient and well insulated.
4. Contain up-to-date kitchens and bathrooms.
5. Well managed i.e. fairly and effectively
6. Located in attractive and safe environments.
7. As far as possible suit the specific requirements of the household (e.g. specific disabilities)
The WHQS has 42 individual elements/parts under the 7 headings above.
Should all social housing homes meet the standard?
The WHQS applies to all social housing, and therefore all social landlords need to meet these targets. Full compliance (completely meets the terms of the standard) refers to dwellings/homes where the WHQS is achieved/reached for all the individual 42 elements/parts.
However, there can be situations where achieving/meeting the standard for an individual element is not possible. These are known as Acceptable Fails. Such situations may include: the cost or timing of the work; residents choosing not to have the work done; or, where it may not be practical or possible to do the work. In these cases, the landlords may record one or more element as an ‘acceptable fails’. Where a dwelling/home has one or more acceptable fails but all other elements are compliant (meet the standards) the dwelling/home is considered to meet the standards subject to/depending on acceptable fails.
Questions for Tenant groups to ask:
Do all the landlord’s homes meet the WHQS?
What are the main reasons why some homes may not fully meet the WHQS? (referred to as acceptable fails).
How does the landlord make sure that homes are kept/maintained to standards in the WHQS?
How are the WHQS improvement works paid for? Where does the money come from?
How does the landlord support tenants who may have concerns or be reluctant/unwilling to have improvement works done because of disruption etc?
We would love to hear about your conversations with your landlords. So please email [email protected]