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A high number of private renters are ‘suffering from housing worries’

Renters have higher levels of harmful stress levels than homeowners, according to new research. 

A survey of almost 4,000 renters by Shelter found that some private renters have fallen ill as a result of housing worries, owed in part to the health impacts of insecure housing in the PRS, suggesting that renting privately could be harmful to the health. 

Almost a quarter - 24% - said housing problems or worries such as affording the rent, poor conditions, or fears over losing a tenancy had made them feel this way in the past year. 


Some 45% of those surveyed had experienced stress and anxiety as a direct result of their housing concerns, 32% said housing worries kept them up at night, and 32% said they felt hopeless as a result.

Cllr David Renard, the Local Government Association’s housing spokesman, said: “It is alarming that so many private renters are suffering from housing worries, and councils want to work with government to help meet the challenges renters face.

“With more powers such as the freedom to establish landlord licensing schemes, councils would be better placed to support a good quality local private rented offer in their communities.

“While it was good the government ended the Local Housing Allowance rate freeze, it now needs to go further in the forthcoming Budget and restore the rate to at least the 30th percentile of market rents, which would help households being pushed into financial hardship to meet their housing costs.”

Also responding to the research published by Shelter today, the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) says that no one should feel ill or stressed as a result of their housing situation, whether that it is in the private or social rented sectors or in the homeownership market.

But the RLA urges caution on groups claiming to represent tenants who might be fuelling stress felt by them by giving the false impression that landlords spend all their time looking for ways to evict their tenants or increase their rents.

The RLA points to official statistics which show that 84% of private sector tenants are very or fairly satisfied with their current accommodation, a higher proportion than tenants in the social rented sector.

Research also reveals that private sector tenants live in the same rental properties for an average of 4.1 years, the amount that tenants in private rented housing are paying in rent as a proportion of their income is falling, while almost 90% of tenancies brought to an end are done so by the tenant, not the landlord.

David Smith, policy director for the RLA, said: “We accept that, unfortunately, some private sector tenants will feel unhappy and stressed as a result of their housing but the same will apply to many social housing tenants and owner-occupiers. We accept also that not all landlords are perfect but the objective assessment is that the overwhelming majority of private sector tenants are satisfied with their accommodation and enjoy a good relationship with their landlord.

“It is vital that tenant groups properly reflect this, rather than stoking fears that tenants are about to be evicted for no apparent reason, live in sub-standard accommodation and are charged exorbitant rents. This is simply not true and it is irresponsible to suggest so.

“We do all we can to support landlords to provide high standard, secure and affordable tenancies and we call on tenant organisations to work with us to help achieve this and root out the bad landlords that none of us wishes to see in the market.”

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Poll: Are you surprised that some private renters are falling ill as a result of housing worries?


  • Suzy OShea

    They would be in a much more worrying situation if they had bought a home, having put down a deposit of £20,000 or more and then were lOoking at losing this because their jobs were under threat and they could not pay the mortgage! Home-owners are usually much more indebted than tenants in the private sector because they are usually paying off debts on furniture too!

    When are people going stop playing the 'poor me' card and take some responsibility for their decisions in life!

  • James B

    Never read so much rubbish .. why don’t shelter do something proactive and encourage private sector growth instead of driving it down and increasing homelessness.. clearly they benefit from it

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    • 15 January 2020 13:13 PM

    If they pay their rent regularly, on time and in full as per the contract.
    If they take care of the house and do not trash it, as per the contract.
    If they stop asking their landlord to pay for, and fit light bulbs, as per the contract.
    If they take care of the garden as per the contract.
    If they swiftly inform the landlord of any issues as per the contract.
    If they do not sub let as per the contract.
    If they have no pets as per the contract.

    Then they have a lot fewer worries than ANY landlord!!!!!!! And they can stay forever as far as I am concerned.


    Sounds like prison to me or probation.

    The problem with private rental its a game of luck, if your unlucky your landlords might all sell up even if your the model rentor you can be booted out with two months notice & the cost of moving falls on the renter, if your unlucky this can happen every year or more if your really unlucky.

    Imagine how you would feel if a mortgage company had a huge list of rules, they could if they dared

  • icon

    I would have thought living in a cardboard box would cause more health problems than a privately rented home. Shelter's war on landlords will force more of its supporters into boxes as landlords get increasingly demonised by the real enemies of tenants.

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    • 17 January 2020 03:12 AM

    Yeah what about the extreme LL worries about not being paid rent to enable mortgages to be paid.
    A tenant might be made homeless but the LL could be bankrupted.
    The tenant will be housed by the Council. NOT so the bankrupt LL!


    Nope councils are not obliged to house everyone lots of get out clauses

  • icon

    So they didn't Survey Private Landlords then ?, no one worried about our mental health / well been or our financial situation but I forget we are not human, dogs have more rights than us, enemy No.1.

    • 17 January 2020 13:03 PM

    Totally correct.
    The attacks on LL surely border on racism.
    In the media greedy and LL are always put together.
    Nobody ever defines what greedy is.
    Personally I attempt to achieve the maximum rent for my property rental assets.
    That is the whole point of being in business!!
    It is hardly my problem if tenants can't afford my rents.
    Funny there is always someone who does.
    If I didn't achieve this I would have to reduce my rents.
    Every year I increase them.
    Still got tenants
    I'm afraid there is an anti-semitic trope that is being assigned to LL.
    How long before LL have to wear a fabric shape on their clothing to indicate they are a societal leper to be castigated by prejudiced society.
    Such approbrium resulted in pogroms for the Jews.
    I'm sure there are many in society that would wish the same for LL.
    It is time LL are not attacked for being responsible for all the ills of society.
    For these reasons amongst many others I am getting out of the AST PRS.
    The societal attacks on LL eventually evidence themselves with the bonkers Govt policies that are occurring.
    I can't wait until we reach a tipping point where it is obvious that the reduction of LL properties is causing real and obvious societal distress.
    For the general public and even the likes of the despicable Shelter and GR to be campaigning for policies to encourage LL to return to invest in the PRS for the good of all tenants as a whole.
    But you and I know know none of this will ever occur.
    It is clear Govt wishes to get rid of ALL small LL leveraged or otherwise.
    That is the direction of travel and LL must understand that nobody will be helping them.
    LL need to be realistic that nobody will thank them for the vital service they provide.
    Providing LL are aware of this and can grow a proverbial thick skin plus have extreme financial resilience in their business model then they should be able to survive.
    No private LL would walk down their local High St wearing a T-shirt stating on it

    I am a private LL and proud of it!!

    .........which tells you everything you needed to know about how society views what it considers are pariahs of society!


    No dogs dont have loads of rights, the average fine for dog theft when prosecuted is 1K, the average fine for an illegal eviction about the same


    E D 1K fine for an illegal eviction ? that's cheaper than going down the legal route .

  • icon
    • 13 March 2021 15:47 PM

    Really - That's for me......IMMEDIATELY it happens......
    Thanks Andrew


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