Poll finds that renters are more at risk of mental health problems

Instability and the threat of sudden price hikes mean renters are more likely to experience serious anxiety or depression than home owners

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A new survey commissioned by Generation Rent finds that someone’s housing tenure can have a significant impact on their mental wellbeing. The research published today suggests that tenure can affect mental health even more than economic circumstances – although the two are inevitably closely linked.

Between 24 and 25 January, Survation asked 1014 people about their experiences of serious anxiety or depression over the past year. According to the poll, 37 per cent of people who rent their home say that they have experienced these kinds of mental health problems over the past year.

Only one in five home-owners report similar experiences; this means renters are 75 per cent more likely to experience serious anxiety or depression than home-owners.

Private renters are, the report notes, typically in short, insecure tenancies which make their lives feel unstable and their household finances unpredictable, whereas social tenants are more likely to be under financial pressure from government reforms to the welfare system, including the bedroom tax.

Not only is it cheaper to own one’s own home, there is less prospect of sudden cost increases allowing people to feel more stable.

Alex Hilton, director of Generation Rent, said:

“Renters live a precarious existence where they have no idea if they’ll be living in their home in a year’s time, or if they’ll be able to afford to. They might also live in squalid conditions that they are powerless to do anything about.

“That lack of stability and comfort erodes their wellbeing so it is no surprise that levels of anxiety and depression are higher than for home owners. Better rights for renters would not only create a fairer housing market, but there’d be public health benefits too.”

There were similar findings in the government’s English Housing Survey yesterday, which found a significant correlation between housing tenure and life satisfaction. Average life satisfaction was nearly a unit higher among home owners than those in housing association homes, although the report also noted significant life differences which could contribute to this disparity; for example, social housing occupants were more likely to be unemployed or disabled.

This is a growing problem. According to the government report almost half of all households in the 25-34 age group rented privately in 2013-14, up from 45 per cent the previous year.
The proportion of this age group living in the private rented sector has doubled from 21 per cent in 2003; over the same period, owner occupation in the 25-34 age group dropped from 59 per cent to 36 per cent.
Ruby Stockham is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward. Follow her on Twitter

2 Responses to “Poll finds that renters are more at risk of mental health problems”

  1. littleoddsandpieces

    The half of all households of young people in private rental who fear rent rises,
    do have an alternative in this general election,
    that is best for small parties as will have the lowest voter turnout.

    Having any such MPs in parliament would dramatically change Labour, if they kept separate from a coalition and came into government in a supply and confidence way that the SNP and Plaid Cymru offer.

    The choices of those offering such as rent capping or free public sector housing are:

    The Left Unity Party

    Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) –
    fielding over 100 candidates this time
    but denied a party political broadcast on TV for some strange reason
    when they meet the criteria running in 1/6th the seats.

    Socialist party of Great Britain (Socialist GB)
    Brighton has Brighton central Ms Lucas, the 1 Greens MP in government.
    But Brighton Kempton offers Socialist GB candidate

    Class War –
    with their nifty skull and crossbones logo –
    who march shoulder to shoulder with protestors when get hit by rent rises, especially in London

    In Cornwall
    Mebyon Cornwall
    (offered in a council election to cut manager’s pay
    so as to fund all basic grade staff having a living wage)

    In Scotland
    Scottish National Party
    (could not get rid of Bedroom Tax, so offsetting it for Scots
    also considering offering a higher state pension to Scots by topping it up for them?)

    In Wales
    Plaid Cymru
    (Living Wage for all)

    There is a way this could radically change government, as we are predicted to now forever have coalition hung parliaments from now on.

    See how at:
    http://www.anastasia-england.me.uk

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