Shelter poll claims 22% of renters health is being harmed by poor housing

Shelter poll claims 22% of renters health is being harmed by poor housing

9:26 AM, 13th October 2021, About 2 weeks ago 16

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A new YouGov poll commissioned by Shelter report claims the health of 22% of renters in England is being harmed by poor housing, with the most common problems plaguing renters’ mental and physical health.

They include damp and mould, which affects 26% of all renters; being unable to heat their home (also affects 26%); constantly struggling to pay rent (21%) and fear of eviction (19%). 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.

In a separate poll of private renters only, 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.

The findings come as renters are set to head into another challenging winter with soaring fuel costs, the £20 cut to Universal Credit and shorter notice periods for private renters all taking effect. 44% of the people who turned to Shelter’s services for help last year said they were struggling to cope on a daily basis, which points to the intense pressure renters are under.

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.”

The Poll

The number of households who say ‘their housing situation is harming their health’ is taken from a nationally representative survey of 13,268 adults, of which, 3,197 are renting adults (18+) in England living in private and social rented homes. The survey asked questions around the circumstances of peoples’ housing situations, alongside mental and physical health questions. It was carried out online by YouGov on behalf of Shelter between 6-14 April 2021.

Broken down, 19% of renters say their housing situation harms their or their family’s mental health, and 11% say theirs or their family’s physical health is suffering. When combined, we see that 22% of renters said their physical and/ or mental health was affected.

Based on the 2019/20 English Housing Survey there are 8.4 million renting households in England; therefore 22% is equal to 1.9 million households with health impacts from their housing.

Where quoted, the number of adults in social and private rented housing has been calculated by Shelter based on the English Housing Survey 2019-2020 published by MHCLG and estimates of the average number of adults per household. See table:

Housing issues affecting renter’s health

Housing issues % of private renting adults affected Estimated number of renting adults affected
My home has a significant mould, condensation or damp problems 26% 3.8 million
I cannot keep my home warm in winter 26% 3.8 million
I/we regularly have to cut spending on household essentials like food or heating to pay the rent/ mortgage payments on my home 21% 3 million

Shelter also compared the health responses of those with or without specific issues in their home. As can be seen from the table below, for each individual issue, the proportion of renters that agreed ‘my current housing situation harms my/my family’s physical and/or mental health’ is three times greater for those with a specific housing issues, when compared with those who do not have the specific housing issue. See table:

The health impacts of housing issues

The health impacts of housing issues at least one issue with physical or mental health impacts from the home (%)
Mould – No issue present 14%
Mould – Yes, issue present 46%
Thermal efficiency – No issue present 15%
Thermal efficiency – Yes, issue present 44%
Cutting back to pay housing – No issue present 15%
Cutting back to pay housing – Yes, issue present 48%
Being asked to leave/security of tenure – No issue present 16%

A further YouGov survey explores the impact of housing problems on the health of private renters only e.g. how many feel anxious, physically sick or their performance at work is affected. These percentages, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov PLC. Total sample size was 3,561 adults (18+) who live in private rented accommodation in England. Fieldwork was carried out online between 6 August – 7 September. Numbers of private renting adults have been calculated by Shelter using data from the English Housing Survey 2019-2020 published by MHCLG. See table below:

Health impact of housing problems or worries on private renting adults in England

Health impact of housing problems or worries on private renting adults in England % of private renting adults affected Estimated number of private renting adults affected
Left feeling stressed and anxious (since March 2020/since the start of the pandemic) 39% 3.2 million
Made them physically ill/ sick (since March 2020/since the start of the pandemic) 22% 1.8 million

The percentage of people coming to Shelter’s services who said ‘they cannot cope on a daily basis’ is taken from responses to Shelter’s annual Outcomes Survey. The Outcomes Survey is a quantitative telephone survey carried out with approximately 2,000 clients from England by research agency BMG Research. The interviews were conducted in 2020-2021 at least three months after a client case was closed, and no more than a year after a case was closed. Each client represents a household, which can contain multiple occupants. The sample is broadly representative of Shelter’s total client population and is weighted based on the type of service received and broad geographical regions. People who have used the webchat or online advice pages are excluded from the Survey.



Comments

by Ian Narbeth

11:36 AM, 13th October 2021, About 2 weeks ago

"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."
None of which is necessarily the landlord's fault. Whilst I have every sympathy for people who are struggling, the fact their home is cold is because they are not heating it, not because it cannot be heated. The home may become mouldy because it is damp through not being properly heated and things like not ventilating bathrooms properly and drying laundry in living rooms with the windows closed to preserve heat. None of these are the landlord's fault.
It is interesting that Shelter did not survey tenants in social housing or council housing. Do a similar percentage have similar problems?

Shelter would do better to work with the PRS and Government instead of treating us as pariahs and asking the Government to take action against us. How about double tax relief for improvements that improve energy efficiency? How about repealing s24 so that we aren't paying tax on non-existent profits and would have spare cash to invest in the property? How about educating tenants on properly ventilating their homes?
Rents are being pushed higher by the anti-landlord policies promoted by the likes of Shelter. I am afraid that if tenants cannot pay their rent, then there has to be a threat of eviction. Look up "moral hazard" if you think otherwise.

by Collydriver

11:51 AM, 13th October 2021, About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Ian Narbeth at 13/10/2021 - 11:36
Also it dosnt matter how much social housing they build because governments will encourage the right to buy to people who cannot budget then after 6 or 10 years later they get re processed and are back in the hands of private landlords again.
Housing associations grew from council housing beening sold off to provide social housing, now even they have to offer the right to buy.
Until the right to buy is removed we will never have enough social housing.
As a private landlord I also feel many of us have reduced our stock due to tax changes. Reducing housing stock to renters .
Meaning I am now increasing rents on what is left (supply and denand)and making the same amount of profit with last stress

by Ian Narbeth

11:58 AM, 13th October 2021, About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Collydriver at 13/10/2021 - 11:51Right to buy is a separate matter. A lot of social housing is badly maintained and the tenants do not look after it, do not heat it properly, dry laundry in unventilated rooms etc.
If a house moves from the social sector to the PRS or to an owner occupier it is still lived in by somebody. That person or family has to live somewhere. The stock of housing has not been decreased because a house becomes privately owned.

by Anne Nixon

13:05 PM, 13th October 2021, About 2 weeks ago

Reply to the comment left by Ian Narbeth at 13/10/2021 - 11:58
Regarding the condition of social housing that is true of course but I do think that 'right to buy' benefits not society as a whole but just the individual who buys the property.
I have heard of the people purchasing their home at a heavily discounted price through 'right to buy' and then moving abroad and leaving the home in the PRS being managed by agents so providing a nice income for them while they live elsewhere with a low cost of living.
Is that not a loss to the council in terms of value and in terms of one less social property available to those who really need it?

by Kathy Evans

15:23 PM, 13th October 2021, About 2 weeks ago

And how many of those issues are caused by the life style of the occupant? Yes, it's very hard if you can't afford the gas and electric bill, but if you can't heat it, you just have to go to the laundrette with a big load and use the showers at the Council leisure centre (buy the cheapest activity) so your home doesn't get damp. Been there.

by Chris @ Possession Friend

20:10 PM, 13th October 2021, About 2 weeks ago

Strange how some properties don't have any Damp or Mould issues for decades, then they manifest from nowhere after a change of tenant, only to disappear when that Tenant leaves ? Mmm

by Mick Roberts

8:44 AM, 14th October 2021, About A week ago

So that tells me 78% of renters health aren't being damaged by poor housing-So why punish them other 78% by giving the innocent Landlord more costs & regs/rules which then means the 78% good tenants now have to pay more rent?
Shelter has massively contributed to this fear of eviction. I got one of me tenants to ring Shelter up several months ago for advice on his Mental Health tricky situation where we wasn't getting anywhere trying to join up UC DWP with Job Centre with Council Homeless with old Council HB. Shelter started advising him on illegal eviction. That went down as a statistic. We wasn't ruddy evicting, we was TRYING TO KEEP HIM IN HIS HOME OF 40 years.
Most of my tenants were fine before Nottingham Council Selective Licensing, now they encountering Mental Health problems due to the uncertainty, higher rents, less supply, no Landlord now takes Benefit tenants. Shelter supports Licensing-There u go.

by Mick Roberts

8:44 AM, 14th October 2021, About A week ago

Reply to the comment left by Chris @ Possession Friend at 13/10/2021 - 20:10
Yes Chris, I've had that many times. Unfortunately if one tenant can't afford the gas elec bills & lots of mould, next tenant moves in, heats house properly, no mould or condensation.

by Ian Narbeth

10:05 AM, 14th October 2021, About A week ago

Reply to the comment left by Chris @ Possession Friend at 13/10/2021 - 20:10
I was pleasantly surprised when the Council officer inspecting our first HMO said that in his experience in over 90% of cases where tenants complained of damp and mould it was down to the tenants' lifestyle.

He had on occasion had to tell the tenants in no uncertain terms that they should not be blaming the landlord or the house. Oh, for more wise men like him!

by Chris @ Possession Friend

12:01 PM, 14th October 2021, About A week ago

Reply to the comment left by Ian Narbeth at 14/10/2021 - 10:05
@ Ian, I think Landlords find Councils a bit like Tenants, - there are good and bad :

I actually had a fruitful conversation with a Housing Officer who ' Wanted to assist me in evicting a Landlords bad tenant ' due to ASB. !
( Problem the council faced was that they didn't have ASB trained staff.)

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