1 in 5 renters has fallen ill due to poor quality accommodation

Research reveals many tenants are still struggling in substandard properties, to the detriment of their health

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Have you had trouble with damp, mould, or lack of heating in rental accommodation? If so, you are one of a huge number of UK renters who are struggling in substandard accommodation – and paying with their health as well their wallets for it. 

A recent survey asked 2,092 UK renters if they have had health problems as the result of common property faults such as leaking pipes, mould, and insufficient heating. The results are in, and make for an alarming read: almost a fifth of tenants (19 per cent) confirmed that their health has suffered in accommodation that was not properly maintained. 

People reported suffering from flu, asthma attacks, allergies, and eczema as the result. Almost half of those who exhibited symptoms (47 per cent) had to visit their GP, although 38 per cent preferred to wait until the problem went away. Disturbingly, for 15 per cent of those experiencing health issues, the problem became so severe that it required a visit to A&E or hospitalisation. 

When asked to identify the reasons for their poor health, 15 per cent cited unheated bedrooms, mould in a bathroom (9 per cent) and damp in living rooms (7 per cent). 

Almost everyone (81 per cent) who had experienced a health issue spoke to their landlord asking them to fix the fault, but just a quarter of tenants (26 per cent) reported that anything had been done about the problem. This is despite the fact that damp and mould, and excess cold are all on the Housing Health and Safety Rating System list of hazards that could allow the local council to take a landlord to court. 

Tara Hall, spokesperson for Hillarys, who conducted the survey, comments, 'Mould and damp are proven to cause negative health effects in a lot of people, so living with these for a prolonged period certainly wouldn’t be recommended. However, when you’re in a rented home it can be trickier getting these issues dealt with as quickly as you’d like. These results are particularly worrying as it seems like a majority of tenants are struggling to get these issues fixed at all.'