The Northern Ireland Housing Fitness Standard is the fitness standard set out in Article 46 of the Housing (NI) Order 1981.
This states that for a dwelling to be fit for human habitation it must:
- be structurally stable
- free from serious disrepair
- free from dampness prejudicial to the health of the occupants (if any)
- have adequate provision for lighting, heating and ventilation
- have an adequate piped supply of wholesome water
- have satisfactory facilities in the house for the preparation and cooking of food, including a sink with a satisfactory supply of hot and cold water
- have a suitably located water-closet for the exclusive use of the occupants (if any)
- have a suitably located fixed bath or shower and wash-hand basin each of which is provided with a satisfactory supply of hot and cold water, for the exclusive use of the occupants (if any) and
- have an effective system for the draining of foul, waste and surface water
Under the fitness standard a dwelling is fit for human habitation unless, in the opinion of the relevant authority, it fails to meet one or more of the above requirements.
Reasonable modern facilities and services
The standards used in House Condition Surveys consider what is a reasonable facility and service – dwellings that fail to meet this criterion are those that lack three or more of the following:
- a reasonably modern kitchen (20 years old or less)
- a kitchen with adequate space and layout
- a reasonably modern bathroom (30 years old or less)
- an appropriately located bathroom and WC
- adequate insulation against external noise (where external noise is a problem)
- adequate size and layout of common areas for blocks of flats
Reasonable degree of thermal comfort
Associations should take the opportunity to improve the energy efficiency and install insulation that meets current NI Building Regulations standards. Providing a reasonable degree of thermal comfort requires efficient heating and effective insulation. Associations should consider appropriate minimum standards to use for their own local assessment and measurement of progress – dwellings which fail to meet this criterion are those where either:
- one or more of the key building components are old and because of their (poor) condition, need replacing or major repair or
- two or more other building components are old and because of their (poor) condition, need replacing or major repair
The Northern Ireland Executive launched a review of the Fitness Standard in 2016 with a plan to review the standard. In April 2023, the Private Tenancies Act came into force bringing several new measures.
For more information, view guidance on the Government website or review other UK standards and regulations.
*Please note: The above summary is based on FireAngel’s interpretation of Private Tenancies Act (NI) 2022, always refer to the standard for specific guidance.