Shelter is calling for greater protection for tenants after new research by the housing charity found that 43% of homes in Britain do not meet satisfactory standards in areas such as affordability, neighbourhood, decent conditions, stability and space.
Affordability was cited by Shelter as the biggest problem preventing people from being able to “live and thrive” in homes, rather than “get by”.
Shelter and Ipsos MORI developed the Living Home Standard, which is different to the government’s ‘Decent Homes Standard’, through a series of workshops and surveys, supported by British Gas, with 1,961 adults across Britain taking part.
Some 27% of homes failed at least one of the Home Living Standard’s affordability specifications, 24% of respondents said that they were not able to save anything for unexpected costs after meeting their rent or mortgage, while 18% of people said that they could not meet their housing costs without regularly cutting back on essentials like food or heating.
Almost one in five - 18% - of homes failed the criteria for decent conditions, with renters twice as likely as homeowners to live in places which fail on this element of the standard.
Renters in social housing fared particularly badly on space, with one in five residing in accommodation with inadequate space.
Shelter’s research also found that a quarter of renters felt that they did not have enough control over how long they could stay in their home, with the housing charity calling for the introduction of stable rental contracts that last for five years and protect tenants against unaffordable rent increases.
Campbell Robb, chief executive at Shelter, said: “It’s heart-breaking to think that so many people are having to make a choice between paying the rent and putting food on the table, or living in fear that any drop in income would leave them unable to cover their housing costs.
“The sad truth is that far too many people in Britain right now are living in homes that just aren't up to scratch - from the thousands of families forced to cope with poor conditions, to a generation of renters forking out most of their income on housing each month and unable to save for the future.”