Housing and Homelessness

Paying a high price for a faulty product

Commissioned by: Citizens

  • Published 11th Dec 2015
  • Authors: Hannah Aldridge,
  • Category: Housing and Homelessness

This report explores how private housing tenants from across income scales are living in unsafe homes that fail to meet basic legal standards.

Rogue landlords are making billions of pounds from 700,000 private rented homes in England with a category 1 hazard, the worst kind of problems, which can include rat infestations, unsafe electrics, cold and damp.

The report shows 30 per cent of households living in unsafe privately rented homes have an annual income of more than £30,000, with 18 per cent earning more than £40,000 a year.

Despite private rented accommodation costing the most, the sector is most likely to have category 1 hazards - 17 per compared to 12 per cent of owner-occupied homes and 6 per cent of social rented homes.

The report, produced by Citizens Advice and the New Policy Institute, shows:

  • There are more than 100,000 households who pay more than £900 per month to live in an unsafe private home.

  • The average monthly rent for an unsafe home in the private sector is £650, not much lower than the average overall cost of £720 for a home that meets minimum standards.  

  • Just 210,000 of the households in unsafe privately rented homes have no one in work or are of pension age.

  • Private renters in England spend £4.2 billion a year to live in unsafe homes that fail to meet legal standards.

  • Half a million children live in unsafe privately rented homes.