Huddersfield Daily Examiner



ATES of overcrowdi­ng in rented housing have hit a record high across England and Wales.

Households are overcrowde­d if they have fewer bedrooms available than the national standard required per occupier.

The measuremen­t varies depending on the marital status, sex and age of those in the household.

For example, a family would be living in an overcrowde­d home if they had two children - a boy and a girl - over the age of 10 sharing a bedroom.

Those who don’t live in housing considered legally overcrowde­d may still have very cramped living conditions.

In particular, renters living in social housing see an especially high rate of overcrowdi­ng.

Analysis of government figures show that out of the 4.1 million homes across England and Wales rented from councils and housing associatio­ns in 2017/18, an estimated 319,800 were overcrowde­d - or 7.8 per cent.

That means more than one in every 13 families living in social housing are suffering overcrowde­d conditions.

The rate is the highest it’s been since 1995/96, the year modern records began, when 5.1 per cent of social renters lived in crowded housing.

It isn’t just social renters who have seen a surge in overcrowde­d conditions, however.

Some 5.7 per cent of the 4.7 million households renting privately in 2017/18 were also found to be overcrowde­d - or around 270,000 families across England and Wales.

At the same time, just 1.2 per cent of households who owned their own homes were living in overcrowde­d conditions in 2017/18 - a record low.

It means that overcrowdi­ng rates are now around five times higher in the private rental sector and more than six times higher in social housing than they are among homeowners.

The figures coincide with an increasing number of people living in the private rented sector, which has more than doubled in size from 2.1 million households in 2002/03 to 4.7 million as of 2017/18.

The private rental sector now represents more than 19 per cent of all households.

Polly Neate, chief executive of Shelter, said: “The failure to build enough social homes, combined with rising private rents and an onslaught of welfare cuts, has seen overcrowdi­ng sky-rocket in the last decade.

“More and more people living in all types of rentals – both private and social – are crammed into places far too small to meet their needs because there’s nowhere else for them to go. “A new generation of good quality social housing would eradicate overcrowdi­ng and give everyone the chance of a stable, affordable home. That’s why we want the government to adopt our call for 3.1 million new social homes over the next 20 years.”

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