The negative impact of poor-quality housing on tenants’ mental health

A recent study by MIND, the mental health charity, has highlighted some of the issues faced by many social housing tenants already experiencing mental health problems, with evidence showing that being unhappy with their home correlates to a deterioration in their condition.

Around one in three people with mental health problems live in social housing in the UK, which is provided by local councils, housing associations and charities, to those who are unable to rent privately due to issues including low income or disability. The study shows that 43% of those living in social housing and already experiencing mental health problems have found that their mental health has deteriorated as a result of where they live.

As well as the study showing that many of the respondents face struggles with benefits, such as universal credit and housing benefits, a significant number (15%) reported that they had come across stigma from housing officials during the course of applying for or living in their social housing property, along with similar issues with neighbours or flatmates.

Sometimes, the problems that tenants have with their homes are linked to their accommodation only being temporary, whilst 43% of tenants told MIND that they found it difficult to understand their housing rights. MIND have produced a guide to help tenants that find themselves in this position, which can be found here.

For some tenants already experiencing mental health problems that have an impact on their daily life, adding in concerns related to their living conditions can have a big negative impact on their wellbeing. If a social housing property is in a state of disrepair, with problems ranging from damp to vermin, or structural problems with their home, the additional stress and worry this causes can be a factor in the tenant’s condition deteriorating further.

MIND is calling for social housing policy to have a greater focus on mental health, which is something that CEL Solicitors are right behind. Many of our clients have experienced deterioration in their mental health when their social housing landlord does not respond to repair requests in their home, or does not fix the problems as promised; with the issues in the property causing a great deal of stress and sometimes physical health problems too. Disrepair such as damp and mould, can cause or exacerbate existing respiratory conditions, skin conditions or allergies, and can be especially damaging for the very young, elderly and those who are already ill with another condition or have a low immune system.

These things combined can mean that poor-quality housing plays a huge role in the quality of life of some tenants, which means we feel it should be a big priority for the landlords responsible for maintaining the homes.

If you have experienced disrepair issues in your social housing property that you feel that your landlord is not taking seriously, you may be eligible to make a claim against them. If successful, a housing disrepair claim will mean that your landlord is ordered by the court to make the necessary repairs to your home, and you may also be due some compensation for the problems this has caused you.

Contact CEL Solicitors for a free claim assessment and to discuss your options; call today on 0808 281 2660.