Almost half a million private rented homes infested with vermin

14 October 2015

We released research today that confirms almost half a million private rented homes (equivalent to one in nine) suffered from animal infestations from the likes of mice and cockroaches in the last year.

See a full breakdown of our survey results and government data on conditions here.

A Shelter and YouGov poll of over 3,700 private renters revealed that bad living conditions are rife in rented homes. Almost half (49%) said they had problems with poor conditions or disrepair in the last year.

Over a third of private renters surveyed lived in a property with damp or mould this year (34%), over one-fifth suffered with poor insulation and excess cold (22%), and electrical hazards were reported by 11% of renters.

Our helpline adviser, Nadeem Khan, says: 'Every day at Shelter, we speak to people desperate for help after being forced to live in appalling conditions for months on end.

'Some of the housing horrors we hear are truly shocking – from people who are forced to live in flats crawling with fleas or rats or with water pouring out of the toilet waste pipe, to those who've been through the ordeal of a fire in their home caused by faulty wiring.

'No-one should have to live in a home which is unsanitary or unsafe, and that's why it's crucial to know your rights as a renter. We are here to help anyone putting up with bad conditions. Our free, expert advice is available online at or through our helpline – 0808 800 4444.'