6 disturbing statistics about council and social housing

When your only option to find housing is via a housing association or council housing, it’s often a struggle to live a comfortable life. Your home is meant to be a place of safety, but the sad truth is that a lot of social housing accommodation is often legally unacceptable for human habitation.

It is only tolerated by some tenants because it’s the only roof they can get over their heads. People who’ve never come into any real contact with the system would be surprised to discover the full scale of the problem, so let’s talk about what you need to know.

#1 – 1/7 of all homes in England are not meeting legal requirements for health and safety

Any housing provided by the local authority should meet the Decent Homes Standard. This means that your home should be free of hazards to your health and safety, be in a good state of repair, have modern facilities available, and have decent insulation and heating.

Unfortunately, some of these homes are affected by damp, poor insulation or bathrooms and kitchens that have not been renovated in over a few decades. It’s estimated that 1 in 7 homes don’t meet minimum government standards for safe living.

#2 – 244,000 homes are C1 for risks – the highest level of danger to life

Of the roughly 525,000 homes in the UK that don’t meet minimum requirements, 244,000 are considered Category 1 – presenting a clear and present danger to the lives of occupants.

Leaking roofs, vermin infestations, broken security, overloaded electrical sockets, faulty or exposed wiring and dangerous boiler systems – are all the responsibility of the local council to fix. However, most complaints are ignored.

#3 – 364,000 homes are classified as having “substantial disrepair” and 205,000 have damp

Damp is arguably one of the most common problems for a council or housing association property. Leaks and poor ventilation are the main culprits, and damp can cause long-term health conditions.

#4 – 338,000 homes rented by those under 35 are hazardous to the point of causing harm

Young adults face a significant housing shortage. The lack of affordable options mean that most young people have to rent homes from private landlords which are not suitable for habitation. The problem is that they can’t afford to go anywhere else, and private landlords can often take advantage of their circumstances.

#5 – Nearly 50% of families in social housing do not get the help they need

Housing associations are meant to be more responsible than private landlords, but some are not. Nearly 50% of all families who appealed to a housing association never received the help they needed or were completely ignored. In either case, the support they needed was not present. Many families reported feeling at the mercy of housing associations.

#6 – 1.15m households are waiting for homes, with only 290,000 properties available

There are an estimated 100,000 families that have been on council waiting lists for over a decade. There aren’t enough homes to cater for the demand which means that certain landlords are in positions of power to decide how people live. Many tenants fear eviction, so they put up with conditions which aren’t acceptable.

Final thoughts

Social housing is a significant problem in the UK, and many people live in nightmare situations at the mercy of landlord who doesn’t care about their health and wellbeing. Radical change is needed to try and help the most vulnerable in society and ordinary people living in unacceptable conditions.

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