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