Lack of new housebuilding means almost half of Brits overpay to live in poor conditions

According to a recent report published by Shelter, and based on a poll conducted by YouGov, more than 43% of Brits say that they overpay for the quality of home they have.

Further, 35% say that they live in poor conditions, with exposure to electrical hazards, pests, or damp-related issues.

According to the Managing Director of legal, surveying and financial property advice group Ringley, Mary-Anne Bowring, these issues should come as no surprise. She says that the UK has some of the oldest housing stock in Europe, and that this issue is particularly pronounced in the private rented sector, where the majority of homes are converted into flats rather than purpose-built.

In turn, she says, “it comes as no surprise that three million renters [surveyed] report to be living in poor conditions.”

She adds that the reason so many people are forced to overpay for poor quality housing is because:”[…] of our collective failure to build enough new homes of all types and tenures over the past few decades.”

“However, 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.”

“The government cannot expect buy-to-let investors to subsidise renters indefinitely and are now facing higher loan repayments as loan repayment holidays did not extend the term but increased the cost. We need to see firmer and greater action than what the Chancellor has announced when it comes to supporting households monetarily.”

The report also stated that only half of private renters in England say that their home made them feel safe during the pandemic. This, we should think, should be a call to arms for the Boris Johnson government. People don’t to live poor-quality extensions or property conversions. What the UK needs is purpose-built, affordable housing, and this means more social housing stock, and even an extension of the government’s starter home pilot scheme.