Home » News » Housing Market » A third of private rented homes are sub-standard, claims Shelter
Housing Market

A third of private rented homes are sub-standard, claims Shelter

In a thinly-veiled attack on private rented sector landlords and agents, the charity says the government must step in after 'decades of decline'.

Nigel Lewis

neate rented homes

A third of tenants in England live in homes which are poorly maintained, low quality and too expensive for the quality of life they offer, housing charity Shelter has claimed.

It paid YouGov to ask just over 5,000 tenants about their private rented homes and found that 35% said they live in poor conditions, with electrical hazards, pests or damp-related issues in their home.

Extrapolated into the general population, Shelter claims this means three million people in England and living in sub-standard rented accommodation, and that 3.6 million (or 43%) say they pay too much for the quality of home they have.

“Our homes are our first line of defence in this pandemic,” says Polly Neate, its chief executive (pictured, above).

“But millions have spent months trapped in private rentals they do not trust to keep them safe. And right now, there is no light at the end of the tunnel.

“After decades of decline, a dire lack of social homes means too many people, pay too much for cramped and poor-quality housing. Or worse yet, they find themselves with nowhere to live. With the stakes so high, the case for building decent social homes is clear.”

Affordable homes

Shelter is calling on Ministers to provide a further £12.2 billion in funding to build 50,000 additional decent-quality affordable rented homes, proposals which have been analysed by Savills.

“It is important not to demonise landlords, many of whom have worked closely with their tenants during the pandemic and lockdown to reassure them about the security of their tenancy despite facing considerable financial uncertainty themselves,” says Mary-Anne Bowring, MD at property management giant Ringley.

October 6, 2020


  1. Polly & Shelter,

    My houses have got worse cause of your interference.
    You called for Licensing. U got it. I now have less funds to refurbish to high standard.
    And tenants daren’t ask for ote now cause they can’t move easy.
    You forcing Landlords to pack up restricting supply & competition.

    Go after ONLY the bad houses.

    U keep going after Landlords for not taking HB UC, instead of working with us who want to take Benefit tenants, & both of us going after the Govt to get them to change the system. Easy ZERO cost changes. The way u doing it, u making Landlords take UC even less. I’ve had same great tenants 23 years, but if they ever wanted to move, they can’t. No one will take them any more cause of your persistent vilification of Landlords.

    Your surveys, generally ONLY the people who have problems reply. Same with Licensing, 99% of tenants have paid for Licensing with rent increases when they din’t have problem.

  2. Nothing will change.

    We still have a Boris sized ambition (big picture only as he is so sort-sighted) with a Bob the Builder sized construction industry.

    Until we train at least 100,000 construction workers, nothing will change until we do.

    Some scheme to get construction firms to stop building “Wonderful developments of 4 & 5 bedroomed detached houses” with fat margins.

    Build small houses and flats that give citizens the chance to join the property ownership market.

    Lets convert around 20% of all shops into flats and houses.

    Everyone is buying on-line, so retail space has only a grim future.

    Northampton Landlord

  3. ANOTHER ( yawn ) Shelter Micro-study of their most truculent tenants. hardly scientific and probably had Diane Abbott doing the stats.

What's your opinion?

Please note: This is a site for professional discussion. Comments will carry your full name and company.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.