Four in ten homes fail acceptable standards, Shelter warns

Housing charity Shelter has cautioned that four in ten homes in Britain fall under the standards which are considered acceptable living conditions.

Shelter and Ipsos MORI have developed the Living Home Standard, which considers affordability, neighbourhood, decent conditions, stability and space. The Standard was produced through a series of workshops and surveys with the public, with support from British Gas.

A survey of 1,961 adults across Britain calculated the number of homes meeting the standard.

The five elements of the standard included: Affordability - factors cited included how much was left for essentials, savings and social activities after paying for rent or mortgage decent conditions; words like ‘safe’, ‘warm’ and ‘secure’ were among the words used by the public to describe what makes a home meet this criterion; space - adequate space was felt to be crucial for wellbeing, especially mental and social wellbeing; stability - stability was often described as the extent to which people felt they could make the property they lived in a ‘home’; and neighbourhood - living in an area where people felt safe and secure was considered particularly important. People also wanted to be close enough to work, family and friends and the services they need.

Shelter’s survey suggested that there were 43 per cent of homes in Britain that did not meet at least part of its standard.

Campbell Robb, Shelter chief executive, commented: "It's heart-breaking to think that so many people are having to make a choice between paying the rent and putting food on the table, or living in fear that any drop in income would leave them unable to cover their housing costs.

"The sad truth is that far too many people in Britain right now are living in homes that just aren't up to scratch - from the thousands of families forced to cope with poor conditions, to a generation of renters forking out most of their income on housing each month and unable to save for the future."

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Department for Communities and Local Government, said: "Good quality housing is an absolute priority for this government and more than a million sub-standard properties have been brought up to standard since 2010.

"We've also set out the most ambitious vision for housing in a generation, doubling the affordable housing budget to £8 billion to deliver 400,000 more quality homes.