Poor housing affects health of one in five tenants
The health of one in five renters (22%) in England is being harmed by poor housing, according to Shelter – affecting 1.9 million households.
The charity commissioned YouGov to poll renters to find out the most common problems impacting their mental and physical health.
They found that the biggest problems affecting health are damp and mould, which affects 26% of all renters, alongside being unable to heat their home (which also affects 26%).
Renters also said that constantly struggling to pay rent (21%) and fear of eviction (19%) impacted their health.
In a separate poll, Shelter looked at the impact of housing problems on health since the start of the pandemic:
- 39% said their housing problems or worries left them feeling stressed and anxious
- 22% said their housing issues or worries made them physically sick
- 21% said their housing issues had negatively affected their performance at work.
Shelter’s chief executive, Polly Neate, said: “The cost of poor housing is spilling out into overwhelmed GP surgeries, mental health services, and hours lost from work. The new Housing Secretary must get a grip on the housing crisis and tackle a major cause of ill health.
“Listening to the calls flooding into our helpline there is no doubt that health and housing go hand in hand. Yet, millions of renters are living in homes that make them sick because they are mouldy, cold, unaffordable and grossly insecure. The stress and suffering that comes with not knowing if you can pay your rent from month to month, or if you will face eviction is huge.
“The government can ease the pressure on renters’ health now by providing targeted grants to clear rent arrears built up during the pandemic, and by making good on its promise to reform private renting. But ultimately the housing crisis will never be cured until we build the decent social homes that more people need to live a healthy life.”
Vicki Nash, head of policy, campaigns and public affairs at Mind, added: “If the UK Government are serious about ‘levelling up’ and reducing inequality they must sort out the housing crisis, reverse the £20 cut to Universal Credit and increase the rate paid for other disability benefits.”
Anyone who is struggling with poor conditions or is worried about losing their home can contact Shelter for free and expert advice through its emergency helpline, webchat service or dedicated housing advice webpages. To get started, visit www.shelter.org.uk/get_help.