A room in the dwelling that offers ‘living accommodation’. Includes bedrooms, kitchens if there is additional space to provide a dining area large enough to accommodate a table and chairs (typically an area of 2m2 in addition to kitchen space). A fully converted room in the loft space is classified as a habitable room even if it can only be reached by a fixed ladder or unsafe staircase.
(a) For central heating systems:
timers which control when the heating goes on and off. They range from simple manual timeclocks to complex digital programmers and most include a manual override.
room thermostats which measure air temperature in the home, and switch the space heating on and off. They can be used to set a single target temperature and there may be one or more of these in the dwelling.
thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) which enable the temperature of radiators in individual rooms to be modified manually.
(b) For storage heating systems:
manual or automatic charge controls adjust the amount of heat stored overnight. The more recently introduced automatic controls measure the temperature in the room (or more rarely, outside the house). If the temperature is milder these allow less heat to be stored, saving money.
celect type controller has electronic sensors throughout the dwelling linking to a central control device. It monitors the individual room sensors and optimises the charging of all storage heaters individually.
gas: mains gas is relatively inexpensive and produces lower emissions per unit of energy than most other commonly used fuels. Liquefied Petroleum Gas and bottled gas are still associated with slightly higher costs and emissions.
electricity: standard rate electricity has the highest costs and CO2 emissions associated with main fuels, but is used in dwellings without a viable alternative or as a back-up to mains gas. An off-peak tariff such as Economy 7 is cheaper than bottled gas but with the same emissions as standard electricity.
oil: in terms of both costs and emissions, oil lies between main gas and electricity.
solid fuel: most solid fuels have similar costs to oil, with the exception of processed wood which can be more expensive than off-peak electricity. Fuels included are coal and anthracite, with CO2 emissions above those of gas and oil; wood, which has the lowest emissions of the main fuels; and smokeless fuel, whose emissions are close to those of electricity. By law, some areas (usually towns or cities) are designated as smoke control areas where the use of solid fuels emitting smoke is illegal.
The English Housing Survey currently covers 3 main types of heating covered:
central heating system: most commonly a system with a gas fired boiler and radiators which distribute heat throughout the dwelling (but also included in this definition are warm air systems, electric ceiling/underfloor and communal heating). It is generally considered to be a cost effective and relatively efficient method of heating a dwelling. Communal systems use heat generated in a centralised location for residential space and water heating. This could be from:
- a central boiler using any fuel which supplies a number of dwellings
- waste heat from power stations distributed through community heating schemes
- heat from a local CHP (combined heat and power) system
storage heaters: predominately used in dwellings that have an off-peak electricity tariff. Storage heaters use off-peak electricity to store heat in clay bricks or a ceramic material, this heat is then released throughout the day. However, storage heating can prove expensive if too much on peak electricity is used during the day.
room heaters: this category includes all other types of heaters such as fixed gas, fixed electric or portable electric heaters. This type of heating is generally considered to be the least cost effective of the main systems and produces more carbon dioxide emissions per kWh.
Air source heat pumps absorb heat from the outside air into a fluid which passes through a compressor to increase its temperature. This higher temperature heat is then used to heat radiators, underfloor heating systems, warm air heaters or hot water in the home.
Ground source heat pumps absorb heat from the ground through a loop of pipe buried in the ground containing a mixture of water and antifreeze. The heat is absorbed into the fluid and then passed through a heat exchanger into the heat pump to be used to heat radiators, underfloor or warm air heating systems and hot water. The ground stays at a fairly constant temperature under the surface, so the heat pump can be used throughout the year. The length of the ground loop depends on the size of the dwelling and the amount of heat required. Longer loops can draw more heat from the ground, but need more space to be buried in. If space is limited, a vertical borehole can be drilled instead.
Help to Buy: equity loan
An equity loan is government financial assistance given to eligible applicants to purchase an eligible home through a government equity mortgage secured on the home. The government equity mortgage is ranked second in priority behind an owner’s main mortgage lender. This scheme offers up to 20% of the value (40% in Greater London) as government assistance to purchasers buying a new build home.
The buyer must provide a cash deposit of at least 5% and a main mortgage lender must provide a loan of at least 75% (55% in Greater London). The government assistance to buy is made through an equity loan made by Homes England to the purchaser. Help to Buy equity loans are only available on new build homes and the maximum purchase price is £600,000. Equity loan assistance for purchasers is paid via house builders registered with Homes England to participate in the Help to Buy equity loan initiative. The payment is made to builders (via solicitors) at purchaser legal completion. The equity loan is provided without fees for the first 5 years of ownership.
The property title is held by the home owner who can therefore sell their home at any time and upon sale should provide the government the value of the same equity share of the property when it is sold. If government contributed 20% of the value to buy a new home, the owner will repay 20% of the future value (the value at the time they sell) to government, e.g. when selling their equity loan home. See more information on the Help to Buy: equity loan scheme
The following definitions are used in relation to the equity loan scheme:
completed equity loans (‘purchaser legal completions’): a purchaser legal completion is defined as occurring when the home is ready for occupation, the sale contract between house builder and purchaser has completed and all mortgage funds, deposit and equity loan assistance have been paid to the house builder. The purchaser takes possession after legal completion.
reservations: a reservation is defined as the point at which an Authority to Proceed (ATP) is issued by the local Help to Buy agent. The ATP is issued by the local Help to Buy agent following their approval of a firm reservation of a Help to Buy home. ATP issue is the approval for purchasers to commence conveyancing and submit a full mortgage application to the main mortgage lender.
Help to Buy: mortgage guarantee
The Help to Buy: mortgage guarantee scheme opened on 8 October 2013 and was available across the United Kingdom. Under the scheme the government offered lenders the option to purchase a guarantee on mortgage loans where the borrower had a deposit of between 5% and 20%. The scheme could be used for mortgages on both new build and existing homes, by first-time buyers, home movers and those remortgaging.
In order to qualify for a loan supported by the Help to Buy: mortgage guarantee, an eligibility criteria had to be met which is set out in the scheme rules. For example, the scheme was not available on buy-to-let mortgages or second homes, and the property value had to be £600,000 or less. From 1 October 2014, no new loans with a loan-to-income ratio of 4.5 and above could be included in the scheme.
The guarantee compensates participating mortgage lenders for a portion of net losses suffered in the event of repossession. The guarantee applies down to 80% of the purchase value of the guaranteed property covering 95% of these net losses. The lender retained a 5% risk in the portion of losses covered by the guarantee. This ensured that the lender retained some risk in every mortgage originated.
Over the life of the scheme the government made available up to £12 billion of guarantees, which was sufficient to support up to £130 billion of high loan-to-value (LTV) mortgages.
The Help to Buy: mortgage guarantee scheme closed to new loans on the 31 December 2016 as planned. Participating mortgage lenders were able to continue to complete loans into the scheme until 30 June 2017, where they had an application date on or before 31 December 2016.
Help to Buy: NewBuy
The title of the NewBuy Guarantee scheme was changed in early 2014 to ‘Help to Buy: NewBuy’, so that it is grouped together with the government’s other schemes designed to help prospective home buyers – Help to Buy: equity loan and Help to Buy: mortgage guarantee. The scheme allows borrowers to secure up to a 95% loan-to-value mortgage on a new build property.
The guarantee is provided by government, in partnership with the house building industry. In the event of a borrower defaulting on their mortgage, government and the respective house builder assume responsibility for any debt which is not already paid back to the mortgage lender. Mortgages are covered by the government guarantee from point of completion. Government’s maximum total contingent liability is capped at £1 billion. Each time a property is sold under the Help to Buy: NewBuy Guarantee scheme, government’s maximum possible cost within this limit increases by 5.5% of the property’s sale value.
Government’s costs will be incurred only when: (i) Help to Buy: NewBuy properties have been purchased (completed), possessed, and/or resold, and have attracted losses, and those losses have been claimed by the appropriate lender/s; and (ii) the total of such losses is in excess of the total of the builder’s corresponding indemnity fund.
The Help to Buy: NewBuy Guarantee scheme closed to new mortgage offers on 8 March 2015. Any final transactions were completed on or before 8 September 2015.
One person or a group of people (not necessarily related) who have the accommodation as their only or main residence, and (for a group) share cooking facilities and share a living room or sitting room or dining area.
The English Housing Survey definition of household is slightly different from the definition used in the 2011 Census. Unlike the EHS, the 2011 Census did not limit household membership to people who had the accommodation as their only or main residence. The EHS included that restriction because it asks respondents about their second homes, the unit of data collection on the EHS, therefore, needs to include only those people who have the accommodation as their only or main residence.
Household in poverty
A household with income below 60% of the equivalised median household income (calculated before any housing costs are deducted). Income equivalisation is the adjustment of income to take into account the varied cost of living according to the size and type of household (for further information see Chapter 5, Annex 4 of the EHS technical report).
Household reference person (HRP)
The person in whose name the dwelling is owned or rented or who is otherwise responsible for the accommodation. In the case of joint owners and tenants, the person with the highest income is taken as the HRP. Where incomes are equal, the older is taken as the HRP. This procedure increases the likelihood that the HRP better characterises the household’s social and economic position. The English Housing Survey definition of HRP is not consistent with the Census 2011, in which the HRP is chosen on basis of their economic activity. Where economic activity is the same, the older is taken as HRP, or if they are the same age, HRP is the first listed on the questionnaire.
The main classification of household type uses the following categories; some categories may be split or combined in different tables:
- couple no dependent child(ren)
- couple with dependent child(ren)
- couple with dependent and independent child(ren)
- couple with independent child(ren)
- lone parent with dependent child(ren)
- lone parent with dependent and independent child(ren)
- lone parent with independent child(ren)
- 2 or more families
- lone person sharing with other lone persons
- one male
- one female
Householder developments (as referred to in some of the planning statistics live tables, such as pilot dropdown table 1) are defined as those within the curtilage of a dwelling house which require an application for planning permission and are not a change of use.
included in householder developments are extensions, conservatories, loft conversions, dormer windows, alterations, garages, car ports or outbuildings, swimming pools, walls, fences, domestic vehicular accesses including footway crossovers, porches and satellite dishes. Granny annexes have been included with effect from 1 July 2014, having previously been recorded under dwellings.
excluded from householder developments are applications relating to any work to one or more flats, applications to change the number of dwellings (flat conversions, building a separate house in the garden), changes of use to part or all of the property to non-residential (including business) uses, or anything outside the garden of the property (including stables if in a separate paddock).
By definition, householder developments that do not require an application for planning permission are also excluded – e.g. for extensions, these include those for which permitted development rights exist, including larger householder extensions (as defined under Permitted development rights) for which local authority prior approval is needed, and those that satisfy other conditions within the General Permitted Development Order, for which prior approval is not needed, and for which data are therefore not collected.
Housing associations see Private Registered Providers (PRPs)
A benefit that is administered by local authorities, which is designed to assist people who rent their homes and have difficulty meeting their housing costs. Council tenants on Housing Benefit receive a rent rebate which means that their rent due is reduced by the amount of that rebate. Private and social housing tenants usually receive Housing Benefit (or rent allowance) personally, although sometimes it is paid direct to the landlord.
Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS)
A risk assessment tool used to assess potential risks to the health and safety of occupants in residential properties in England and Wales. It replaced the Fitness Standard in April 2006.
The purpose of the HHSRS assessment is not to set a standard but to generate objective information in order to determine and inform enforcement decisions. There are 29 categories of hazard, each of which is separately rated, based on the risk to the potential occupant who is most vulnerable to that hazard. The individual hazard scores are grouped into 10 bands where the highest bands (A-C representing scores of 1,000 or more) are considered to pose Category 1 hazards. Local authorities have a duty to act where Category 1 hazards are present, and may take into account the vulnerability of the actual occupant in determining the best course of action.
For the purposes of the decent homes standard, homes posing a Category 1 hazard are non-decent on its criterion that a home must meet the statutory minimum requirements.
The English Housing Survey is not able to replicate the HHSRS assessment in full as part of a large scale survey. Its assessment employs a mix of hazards that are directly assessed by surveyors in the field and others that are indirectly assessed from detailed related information collected. For 2006 and 2007, the survey (the then English House Condition Survey) produced estimates based on 15 of the 29 hazards. From 2008, the survey is able to provide a more comprehensive assessment based on 26 of the 29 hazards. See the EHS technical note on housing and neighbourhood conditions for a list of the hazards covered.