Recent research by a leading housing charity claimed renters were suffering health problems in private accommodation, but fact checkers have questioned its data.

A headline-grabbing claim that private renting is making millions of people ill has been debunked by independent fact checkers.

According to housing charity Shelter, almost a quarter of England’s 8.5 million private renters have been made physically ill by their housing in the past year.

Its survey claimed that concerns over affording the rent, poor conditions and the threat of eviction meant almost half had experienced stress or anxiety.

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However, the UK’s independent fact checking charity Full Fact says this doesn’t mean the sickness was specifically caused by renting privately, as opposed to any other type of housing situation.

A poll of nearly 4,000 private renters were asked questions such as: “To what extent do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements? Housing problems or worries (e.g. affording the rent, poor conditions, losing my tenancy etc) have made me feel physically ill/sick in the last year.”

10% of the private renters surveyed strongly agreed and another 13% answered ‘tend to agree’, meaning around a quarter agreed to some extent.

Full Fact said because Shelter’s survey didn’t quiz homeowners or social renters, it couldn’t tell whether housing-related illness were more, or less of an issue among private renters.

Many landlords have already dismissed the survey’s findings as scaremongering. David Smith, policy director for the Residential Landlords Association (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 overwhelming majority of private sector tenants are satisfied with their accommodation and enjoy a good relationship with their landlord.”

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2 COMMENTS

  1. I totally disagree. Whether you own your home or rent it there are huge challengers. The difference is a homeowner has no choice but to stay and work it out whilst s tenant give notice and move on. When initially accepting a tenancy the renter inspects the property. They know all the costs involved the only difference is the tenant has no upkeep costs other than what they create themselves through their own neglect. The house owner has the major headaches. The tenant has no building insurance to pay like the owner does. So I am trying to get my head around continual pampering if tenants creating issues that actually have no relevance to real life. Shelter do not provide houses themselves so they have no awareness of the costs and stress of the landlord. Should they use some of their fortune to actually provide houses themselves then they will have the right to comment as it is they just create problems which is what keeps them in business.

    • Totally agree Christine, Shelter are full of lefty snowflake lovers, often, these tenants who complain always seem to be of the same ilk, ie: have a sense of entitlement without any regard for their responsibilities as a tenant. Simple stuff such as opening windows when cooking, general ventilation and dehumidyfing options is alien to many tenants and should all be emphasised more in starter tenancy packs and signatures obtained to reduced liability for landlords. Much of this is tenant-related after all. They never seem to praise the majority of decent landlords, yes there are some tight-fisted and apathetic ones when it comes to sorting out issues, but the newly introduced Rogue Landlords Register could do much to put the situation right in terms of knowing which landlords or agents to avoid and thus help to weed them out of the market altogether? Always a flip side to these things remember!?

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