Many rental properties not reaching basic standard

Shelter in association with British Gas are commissioning the largest ever census of the state of private rented accommodation and it is estimated the study will help over 1 million UK households improve their housing standards. Initial research has found that 1.4m private homes, those in private rental do not meet basic standards and if such properties were in the public sector, they would be deemed unfit under the Government's Decent Homes Standard, whether they have landlord building insurance or not.

The number of properties privately rented has significantly increased in the last 11 years by nearly 75% and has grown from 2.06m to 3.62m households. There are projections for further growth in the rental market which is set to increase further, with an estimated 22% of families living in privately rented property by 2025.

The CEO of Shelter, Campbell Robb, said: "A lack of affordable housing and the difficulties facing young people today in getting on the property ladder mean renting is now a long-term way of life for more and more families across the country. Together with British Gas, we'll have the scale and reach to improve the condition of a million homes and set out the policy reform we need to improve our private rental sector for good.

With these increasing levels of demand, it is totally unacceptable that so many of our rented properties are still not meeting the basic standards families should be able to expect in their home. At Shelter we see so many shocking examples of families forced to live in homes that are damp, in appalling condition or even unsafe to live in. " he said.