Health of one in five renters harmed by their home

New research from housing charity Shelter has shown that the health of one in five renters in England is being harmed by poor housing.

Translating 1.9 million households, the charity’s YouGov poll reveals the most common problems plaguing renters’ mental and physical health. They include damp and mould, which affects more than a quarter of all renters; being unable to heat their home (also affects 26 per cent); constantly struggling to pay rent (21 per cent) and fear of eviction (19 per cent).

Renters experiencing any one of these issues are three times more likely than renters without these issues to say their current housing situation is harming their health.

Shelter also reports that as many as 39 per cent said their housing problems or worries left them feeling stressed and anxious, while 22 per cent said their housing issues or worries made them physically sick and 21 per cent said their housing issues had negatively affected their performance at work.

Polly Neate, Shelter’s chief executive, 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.”

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