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Acceptable property standards are not being met in many cases
Housing charity Shelter has recently released findings to its latest research which shows that more than four in ten Britons live in homes that are not meeting acceptable standards. Cleanliness, safety and space are among some of the things not being met in many houses around the UK which people of all ages and families of all sizes are living in.
As part of their research, Shelter spoke to 1691 adults about their homes and how they would rate them according to certain criteria. The research helped to develop The Living Home Standard in conjunction with Ipsos MORI and supported by British Gas.
Research was conducted into five key areas giving the charity the opportunity to look into recommendations for our current housing stock and any new houses that are built. While the government created a Decent Homes Standard in 2005, these new proposals look into the main issues affecting homeowners and renters currently.
The charity’s Living Home Standard considers a number of elements that were researched to discover the true picture of today’s housing and renting market. These elements are:
- The affordability of the property – this not only includes the market value of the property but also how much it costs to run and maintain the property each month. In the survey, people were questioned about how much money they had left for essentials, savings and social activities after paying their mortgage or rent.
- The conditions of the property – here those surveyed there asked about the living condition of their property and the words they would use to describe it. It is generally perceived that words such as ‘warm’ and ‘safe’ are ones the public would prefer to use to describe a home.
- The space in and around the property – this section looks at the size of rooms, number of rooms and any garden/public space around the property. Those who responded to the survey talked about how adequate space in (and around) a property is crucial for wellbeing.
- The stability regarding the property – this section looked at how stable living conditions are especially in rented properties. For this point, people were asked whether they felt they could make their current property feel like a home instead of a stop gap.
- The neighbourhood the property is situated in – this criteria mainly looks at the safety and security of the surrounding area of the property. It also looked at how close respondents were to their work, family, friends and services and how close they were wanting to be.
As a result of Shelter’s survey, it has been revealed that around 43% of people in the UK live in homes that do not meet at least one of the criteria above. Affordability was the main issue followed by decent living conditions which a fifth of homes failed to meet while a quarter of renters feel they do not have enough control over how long they could stay in their home.
Shelter chief executive Campbell Robb commented on the findings; “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.”
Shelter have now called on the government to work with business and charities to help homes meet their new Living Home Standard. A spokesman for the Department of Communities and Local Government reiterated the government’s dedication to building more houses and improving current housing stock; “Good quality housing is an absolute priority for this government… We’ve set out the most ambitious vision for housing in a generation, doubling the affordable housing budget to £8bn to deliver 400,000 more quality homes,”