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pounds 1.5bn hazards in Welsh homes.

Byline: TOM BODDEN

THE bill for putting right the most serious hazards in Welsh homes could top pounds 1.5bn, a report revealed yesterday.

These risks range from falls on stairs to other falls, hot surfaces, or even fire dangers.

Of the hazards measured in the Living in Wales survey, 13% of dwellings - some 168,000 houses - had a category 1 hazard, the most serious, for falls on stairs.

The least likely category 1 hazard was fire, which occurred in less than one per cent of homes.

There were 905,000 dwellings with no category 1 hazards present in 2008, equivalent to 71% of the stock.

Some 88% of housing association homes had no category 1 hazards compared to 60% of private rented dwellings.

The total cost to remedy all category 1 hazards was estimated to be pounds 1.5bn, an average cost of pounds 4,200 per dwelling.

Latest housing statistics show that the private rented sector still has the highest number of housing hazards, compared to owner occupied, local authority and housing association properties.

Private rented dwellings were over three times more likely to be in an unfit condition, compared to the next highest group - owner occupied dwellings.

In 2008, 11% of private rented dwellings were classified unfit.

More than 141,000 homes were classed as suffering excess cold, while 23,000 had damp or mould growth.

The release provided information on progress towards meeting the 2008 standard for social housing.

The overall pass rate for social rented dwellings was 6% in 2008.

This was equivalent to approximately 13,000 dwellings achieving the standard.

A Welsh Assembly Government spokesperson said: "The Living inWales statistics record the position in 2008.

"Since then, there has been considerably more action to bring more homes inWales up to theWelsh Quality Housing Standard.

"Work is in hand to measure this further progress.

"In our draft budget laid in November, we have protected the WHQS budget to support this work on current and former local authority housing stock to ensure this important action continues.

"Thanks to an innovative scheme, the 'Can Do Toolkit', the programme of improvements is providing job and training opportunities for local people as well as improving homes."

Plaid Cymru Aberconwy candidate Iwan Huws said: "Many of the private rented dwellings are Houses of Multiple Occupancy.

"I am aware that Plaid Minister Jocelyn Davies is concerned about the issue of HMOs and the impact it has on communities.

"Across the costal belt of northWales this is a major issue.

"The estimate cost for councils to remedy the most dangerous hazards in council housing is pounds 50m.

"All of this money could be found if the Housing Revenue Subsidy Scheme was reformed."

The scheme forcesWelsh councils to pay back pounds 100m a year from their housing budgets to the Treasury in London.

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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Dec 18, 2010
Words:488
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