According to the latest research, renting leads to faster biological ageing as compared to owning a home or living in communal housing.
The reports state that the impact is almost twice as big as that of unemployment. Surprisingly enough, the study also shows that private renting can have an even more detrimental effect on body cells than smoking.
For this study the blood samples were collected, with the data coming from the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS) and the UK Household Longitudinal Study. The Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health published this research.
Biological ageing is the term used to describe the deterioration in the tissues and cells of the body, and it could differ from an individual’s chronological age.
According to the above-mentioned research, living in a house with high pollution, renting in the private sector, or falling behind on rent payments are associated with a faster ageing process because of the stress these processes cause. Compared to 13% of homes that are owned and 10% of social housing, 23% of privately leased homes, as indicated in the English Housing Survey (2021), did not fulfil the Decent Homes Standard.
However, it seems that those who lived in social housing were less adversely impacted, perhaps due to the fact that this type of accommodation is intended as affordable and secure. And if a place is rented, a person’s housing situation can “get under the skin with real and significant consequences for health,” according to the findings in a study conducted by the University of Adelaide and University of Essex.
However, the researchers also pointed out that biological ageing could be reversed, and the means to achieve that are the following: “Policies to reduce the stress and uncertainty associated with private renting, such as ending no-fault evictions, limiting rent increases and improving conditions, may go some way to reducing the negative impacts.”
The deputy chief executive of the Generation Rent campaign group Dan Wilson Craw commented that “uncertainty about how long we can live somewhere is stressful, while disrepair and damp conditions make us physically ill. Private renters, who face the threat of arbitrary eviction and live in the worst quality housing, are particularly vulnerable to poor health as a result. As more people have no option but to rent, policymakers need to act urgently.”
In recent years we have already seen the introduction of some modifications in the rental property legislation, such as the elimination of “no-fault” evictions. However, we are now in 2023 and the government is yet to act on the continuously worsening renting conditions in the UK.