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Half of England’s renters are experiencing stress or anxiety

A quarter feel hopeless as a result of unaffordable rents and poor living conditions

Half of England’s 8.5 million private renters are experiencing stress or anxiety, research suggests.

The poll of nearly 4,000 private renters on behalf of housing charity Shelter found unaffordable rents, poor living conditions and the risk of eviction are causing a quarter of people – about 2.7 million – to feel hopeless.

Meanwhile, more than two million have been made physically ill.

The number of families in England who rent privately reached 1.6 million last year – more than double the number recorded in the government’s English housing survey a decade earlier. It means a quarter of families in the country now rent.

The YouGov poll, reported by the Guardian, suggests a third of renters had lost sleep at night because of worries in the last year.

Andrea Deakin, the charity’s emergency helpline manager, said every day Shelter sees the toll that expensive, unstable or poor-quality private renting can take on people’s lives and their health.

However, David Smith, the policy director for the Residential Landlords Association, said although not all landlords are perfect, the overwhelming majority of private sector tenants are satisfied with their accommodation and enjoy a good relationship with their landlord.

He cited government research that suggested 84% of private sector tenants were very or fairly satisfied.