Four in ten homes do not meet new Living Home Standard

The Living Home Standard - the result of 9 months of research undertaken by Ipsos MORI on behalf of Shelter and British Gas - represents the first definition of what home means that has been defined by the public, for the public.

The Living Home Standard represents the first definition of what home means that has been defined by the public, for the public. It defines what the public believes an acceptable home should provide, something that we should all be able to expect from our home in order to secure our wellbeing and provide a foundation from which we can build and live our lives.

The Standard is the result of 9 months of research undertaken by Ipsos MORI on behalf of Shelter and British Gas, and involved a series of discussion groups, workshops and quantitative surveys as well as an online community – you can find out more about how we developed it here.

These different strands brought together public views on what a home should provide; these were honed into a list of 39 attributes, which together define the Living Home Standard – a standard the public think all homes should meet, irrespective of the tenure, size or age. This research is the first of its kind to involve the public in the development of a measurement of acceptable housing quality, in an approach inspired by the Minimum Income Standard work conducted by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Loughborough University.

The 39 attributes generated by this research spanned five dimensions: affordability; decent conditions; space; stability and neighbourhood. In order to meet the Living Home Standard, a home must meet all criteria within each dimension which were deemed essential by the public, and a certain number of criteria considered ‘tradable’ (see below).

The measurement of homes meeting the Living Home Standard was conducted via a face-to-face representative survey of 1,961 members of the British public aged 16+.

Topline findings

Four in ten homes do not meet new Living Home Standard. Among the groups most likely to fail the Living Home Standard overall are those living in the private rented sector (69%), in Local Authority rented accommodation (68%) and in accommodation rented from a Housing Association (66% fail). Younger people and those living in London are also more likely than overall to fall short of the Living Home Standard: nearly three in five (58%) of those aged 25-34 do not meet the Standard, along with nearly three quarters (73%) of Londoners. 

The affordability dimension saw the largest proportion fall short of the standard: twenty-seven per cent of the British public live in homes which do not meet the criteria to pass the affordability dimension. Nearly a quarter (23%) of the public say they are worried their rent or mortgage payments may rise and become difficult to pay – passing this criteria was essential in order to meet the Living Home Standard.  Nearly one in five people in Britain (18%) live in homes that fall short of the Living Home Standard in criteria relating to decent conditions, and one in ten (11%) do not meet the criteria relating to space. Attributes in these dimensions include the home being free from pest problems (5% said they do not live in homes free of pest problems), and having an adequate number of bedrooms in the home for all members of the household (4% said their home does not meet this attribute).  The neighbourhood dimension fares best, with five per cent of the British public who do not meet the criteria required to pass the Living Home Standard in this dimension, and one in ten (10%) fail the criteria in the stability dimension. Nearly one in ten (9%) feel they do not have enough control over how long they can stay in their home, an essential criteria to pass in order to meet the Living Home Standard.

Technical note

In the final measurement survey, Ipsos MORI interviewed 1,961 British adults aged 16+ face-to-face, between 19th August and 5th September 2016. Data are weighted to the known population profile. 

Analysis was conducted to calculate the proportion of the public living in homes that meet the Living Home Standard. Within each of the five dimensions some attributes are classed as essentials – conditions that every home must pass in order to meet the Living Home Standard. Other attributes were classed as ‘tradables’, features many people believed were important, but they were not universally applicable to or equally desired by everyone. A home needs to meet all essential attributes across the five dimensions in order for it to achieve the Living Home Standard. A home must also meet a certain number of the tradable conditions in each dimension of the Standard, but not all, in order for it to achieve the Living Home Standard overall.

Each of the 39 attributes included in the Standard is framed as a statement, with a ‘true’ or ‘false’ response.

More insights about Energy & Environment