Almost one in three UK rental properties deemed unfit for human habitation

Millions of private renters live in homes that do not meet the government’s minimum standards for human habitation, a report has revealed.

According to the Ministry of Housing’s 2016-17 English Housing Survey released in 2018, almost a third (27%) of private rented properties fall below the Decent Homes Standard — a set of criteria put forward by the government which aims to regulate the condition of all council and housing association homes.

The last decade has seen a doubling of the number of households living in the private rented sector, with estimates suggesting that a quarter of households will be renting by 2025. A report released in April of 2018 by Hometrack UK shows that house price inflation is now running at 4.9% year-on-year, leaving many Britons with little choice but to live in rental accommodation often found to be sub-standard.

Richard Taube, director of design and construction at South Coast Estates, said: “Landlords have a responsibility to their tenants to ensure that the rental property is safe, secure and well maintained. Unfortunately, many landlords are taking advantage of the current property market and providing the bare minimum at vastly inflated prices. The shortage of available housing is causing tenants to ‘put up and shut up’ as many live in fear of being unfairly evicted if they demand improvements to the property.”

Making these changes will not only improve living conditions for tenants, it will also help to preserve the condition of the property itself, as Mr Taube concludes: “By treating tenants as easily replaceable commodities, landlords are only going to lose out in the long-term. A high turn-over of ‘quick fix’ tenants creates stress and additional work for landlords, whereas happy tenants are much more likely to fulfil long-term contracts and treat the property respectfully.”