An investigation from the Pro Housing Allowance has found that some tenants in the private rented sector are having to chose between eating or heating, as they simply cannot afford both.
Tenants Choose Heating or Eating
Pro Housing’s study, entitled, Poor homes, poor health – to heat or eat? Private sector tenant choices in 2012, launches a scathing attack on landlords. The report claims that charges are too high and accommodation provided is substandard. It must be noted however, that the report is based on the responses of just 19 tenants.
Chair of the Pro Housing Alliance, Dr Stephen Battersby, was concerned that the findings indicate a number of tenants on benefits are facing health risks. This, he claims, is not being helped by the Government’s welfare reforms.
Mr Battersby said that spiraling costs, “dangerous and unhealthy homes,” and “poor conditions within the sector,” are all adding up to contribute to the poor health of tenants. He continued: “This is made worse by the difficulties of finding the money to keep warm and eat; sometimes tenants cannot do both. This will lead to greater demands on the NHS, and one wonders if this is part of a policy of coercion by destitution.”
Head of research for the report, Gill Leng said: “Talking to tenants and advice agencies up and down the country has shown just how the cuts are impacting on people who already have very little money to live on.”
She added: “It is clear that health inequalities will be further increased not reduced.”
One particular adviser that was interviewed for the report suggested that tenants are reluctant to tackle their landlords over rising costs. The adviser said: “People will live in dangerous situations with their fingers crossed rather than tackle their landlord.”
Pro Housing Allowance are urging ministers to look further into possible health impacts on tenants as a result of welfare reforms. They claim that savings made on their housing budgets will result in a rise in NHS charges, due to ill tenants.