Health and wellbeing in the private rented sector Part 1 | Literature review

Decent housing not only safeguards health but also provides a base from where people can thrive in different aspects of their lives. Recent research directs attention away from a sole focus on “bricks and mortar” and towards the subjective and interpersonal factors that may impact people’s health and wellbeing and help to make a house a home. This in turn raises questions about the effect of living in the private rented sector (PRS) on wellbeing and the measures that can be taken to achieve greater equality in health and wellbeing outcomes, including across tenures.

This report is the first output of a project that explores the relationship between living in the private rented sector and subjective wellbeing. It features an overview of key themes from the literature and from interviews with key experts. The second output will include findings from in-depth interviews with 53 tenants.

Key messages from part 1 include:

  • Poor property conditions, affordability and security of tenure are widely cited in the literature as substantial drivers of poor health and wellbeing. Whilst the material dimensions of housing are key to improving wellbeing, by focusing on them exclusively people’s wellbeing will not be fully addressed.
  • The impact of physical environment and regulatory context is mediated by perceptions, experiences and needs of different individuals. Relational aspects, insecurity, feelings of autonomy and control and stigma are key factors that mediate the relationship between housing and wellbeing.
  • Whilst housing inequalities exist across all groups and tenures, the risk of exposure to poor quality housing and other housing stressors is not shared equally across society.
  • With research demonstrating that living in the PRS can significantly impact on wellbeing, questions remain on the adequacy of current policy and institutional structures to address these issues.

Authors: Jennifer Harris and Kim McKee





Date: July 6, 2021 9:59 am

Author(s): and

Categorised in:

« Back to publications