This is not just an urban phenomenon a fair chunk of the rural housing stock has problems relating to its age and vulnerability. This story tells us:

More than 2 million older people are suffering physical and mental ill health and even death as a consequence of living in substandard and non-accessible homes, according to a cross-party group of MPs.

Substandard housing costs the NHS £1.4bn every year with cold, damp and other hazards causing falls and exacerbating conditions such as heart disease, strokes, respiratory illnesses and arthritis as well as contributing to poor mental health, according to an in-depth inquiry by the all-party parliamentary group for ageing and older people.

“Many older people are living in unsafe, unsuitable and unhealthy accommodation with little hope of being able to move somewhere better or improve their homes,” said Rachael Maskell MP, chair of the group. “Unless we work to find tangible solutions, older people and some of the most vulnerable in society will continue to live in substandard and unsuitable accommodation, the implications of which could be devastating to their physical, mental and social wellbeing.”

The report into decent and accessible homes for older people comes after an in-depth inquiry over the last year into the link between health and housing, home ownership, supported housing, and the private rented sector.

The inquiry also predicted that the number of older people renting in the private sector would soar in the coming years – often in unsafe, unsuitable and unhealthy accommodation.

Currently households comprising people aged over 65 account for less than 10% of all those living in the private rented sector, but their numbers are reportedly rising fast: a recent survey by the National Landlords Association found that the numbers of retired people in the UK moving into the private rented sector had increased by 200,000 over the last four years.

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