Shelter claims the health of one in five renters in England is harmed by poor housing, and says grants covering Covid-related arrears would help put things right.
A YouGov poll commissioned by the campaigning charity says the most common problems hitting (the charity says “plaguing”) renters’ mental and physical health in the private and social sectors include damp and mould; there is also an apparent inability to sufficiently heat the home - these issues affect 26 per cent of tenants, it claims.
Constantly struggling to pay rent (21 per cent) and fear of eviction (19 per cent) are other worries for tenants.
Renters experiencing any one of these issues are three times more likely to say their current housing situation is harming their health, the poll apparently shows.
In a separate study of private renters only, Shelter says 39 per cent are “feeling stressed and anxious” because of housing conditions, while 22 per cent are "physically sick” and 21 per cent say housing issues “negatively affected their performance at work.”
Shelter’s chief executive, Polly Neate says: “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.”