Poor Housing Hurts the Health of 20% of Renters in England, Shelter Says | Lodging
Unsanitary housing affects the health of one in five renters in England, with mold, humidity and cold being the main triggers for illness, a major survey by the Shelter charity has found.
About 1.9 million households could suffer from physical and mental problems due to poor housing conditions as well as uncertainty caused by difficulties in paying rent and repeated evictions, according to a survey of more than 3,000 private tenants.
A quarter of all renters said they had been affected by damp and mold and the inability to heat their homes. They were three times more likely to say that housing was harmful to their health than those who did not.
The study also detailed how nearly one in four renters said their housing situation had left them “stressed and anxious” since the start of the pandemic.
The results came as councils warned that waiting lists for affordable housing are expected to double next year to reach 2.1 million households. One in ten people in the queue have already been waiting for more than five years. The Covid pandemic has shaken housing construction with at least 100,000 fewer housing units built by 2023, according to the Local Government Association which anticipates an increase in demand in the coming months, as the cost of living crisis helps increase rent arrears and evictions.
âThe cost of substandard housing affects general surgeries, mental health services and lost hours on the job,â said Polly Neate, CEO of Shelter. âThe new housing secretary must bring the housing crisis under control and tackle a major cause of ill health. Listening to the calls pouring into our helpline, there is no doubt that health and housing go hand in hand. Yet millions of tenants live in homes that make them sick because they are moldy, cold, unaffordable and extremely precarious. “
Jude Geddes, 40, married and mother of three in Shoreham, said she had remained sleepless and her children were anxious after facing three ‘no-fault’ evictions in the past nine years, the most recent during the pandemic.
âYou try to hide it from the kids and do it well, but it’s the most horribly stressful experience,â she said. âI feel like I’m going through a grieving process. [Eviction] is really disturbing and makes you feel like it can happen at any time.
Krystalrose Shirley, 27, a private tenant who only a month ago managed to get out of a mold-infested apartment she shared with her three-year-old daughter, urged tenants: ‘Don’t put up with it , Do not abandon. , struggle.”
She and her daughter developed eye infections from the mold in their ground floor rental in London and had to throw out both her daughter’s bed and the bed she had replaced it with after both were infested with fungi.
âYou could see the spores going through the mattress,â she said. âI had a panic and had to throw it away right away. It’s disgusting that people can allow a family to live in a house in this state without caring. “
She said the problems were affecting her health both physically and mentally, but the owners did not recognize her and treated her as if she was “cheated”.
âThe time has come to reverse the decline of social housing over the past decades,â said David Renard, spokesperson for LGA Housing. âThe benefits are clear: a program of 100,000 social housing units per year would reduce waiting lists for social housing, reduce homelessness and reduce carbon emissions, while boosting the long-term economy by billions. of dollars.
The most disadvantaged communal areas have the greatest concentrations of housing need and the longest waiting list, the LGA said. âWith housing costs accounting for more than a quarter of all spending by the lowest income families, access to decent and affordable housing is essential to the success of any attempt to level the poorest communities. “
A low-income household typically saves Â£ 37 per week on renting in social housing compared to the private rental sector.
The Ministry of Leveling, Housing and Communities has been approached for comments.