Article | Creating Resilience

What impact is housing quality having on tenants’ wellbeing and preferences?

March 27, 2023 4 Minute Read

By Ed Franks


Our environment, homes, and neighbourhoods have a direct effect on our health and sense of well-being. Yet despite this, the latest English Housing Survey found that in 2021, 3.4 million dwellings failed to meet the Decent Homes Standard*.

Figure 1: Non-decent homes, by tenure (%)

Source: English Housing Survey 2021-22

In 2021, a higher share of private rented homes (23%) than owner-occupied properties (13%) were classed as non-decent. There has been a widening of the gap between non-decent private rented and owner-occupied housing, from 6% in 2017 to 10% in 2021.

In terms of well-being and tenure, the English Housing Survey also found that the measures of life satisfaction and happiness of residents were the highest for owner-occupiers. Private renters and social renters experienced less of these positive sentiments on average, alongside greater levels of anxiety. This may be partially due to the higher prevalence of non-decent housing in the private rented sector (PRS).

Figure 2: Well-being (mean score out of 10) by tenure, 2021-22

Source: CBRE Research, English Housing Survey 2021-22

Figure 3: Reasons to move for renters

Source: CBRE Global Live-Work-Shop Report

Our Global Live-Work-Shop Report found that renters placed the quality of their homes as of the greatest importance regarding their reasons for moving, with 40% of respondents citing they wanted a better quality property in the future. Three of the four most common reasons for renters wanting to move were related to the quality, size, or attributes of the property, and all of these have increased significantly in importance compared to the last two years.

Future energy-efficiency regulations will also support the transition to better quality housing: the upcoming 2025 Future Homes Standard should improve the quality of homes by upgrading their energy efficiency.

Demand for private rented properties is continuing to grow, but the quality of rental stock is not keeping up. Renters’ priorities for what they want from their next home have changed as a result. 

Build-to-Rent properties tend to be significantly higher quality than period conversions or older units. As such, appetite for these properties will remain strong in the PRS.

A substantial opportunity exists for landlords who uphold, maintain, and improve the quality of their rental properties, given the increasing demand for better quality rental stock. Housing providers who can meet this demand will benefit from greater demand and happier tenants.

Get in touch with our Residential team to unlock the potential of your property.

*Non-decent homes are defined as homes that contain a Category 1 hazard, including issues with excess cold, damp and mould, poor air quality, and other physical risks. According to the survey, 565,000 dwellings in the PRS, or 13%, had a Category 1 hazard, which is defined by the Housing Act 2004 as a hazard that poses an imminent risk to health.