Loneliness of renting revealed in new poll

Renters feel more unconnected to their local area than the wider population according to new research commissioned by the Belonging Forum

Related topics:  Tenants,  Renting
Property | Reporter
25th March 2024
tenant lonliness
"Renters are a growing section of British society and there are specific measures we can put in place to help them feel like they belong"
- Kim Samuel - Belonging Forum

Renters are more likely to feel lonely and unsafe when walking home after dark than the wider population, and they display less of a sense of belonging and connection to their local area, a poll of more than 10,000 Brits has revealed.

Just 43% of renters (including private, local authority, and housing authority) say they know their neighbours, compared to 69% of those who own their homes outright.

The research, commissioned by the Belonging Forum, also revealed private renters (excluding local and house authority renters) are more likely to say they are dissatisfied with their friendships (65% vs. 76%) and less likely to report ‘feeling happy yesterday’ (62% vs. 75% of those who own outright).

Meanwhile, 30% of all renters felt unsafe walking home in the dark compared to 20% of those who own their home and 40% felt lonely compared to 29% of owners.

Renters were subdivided into those who let from a private landlord (27%), a local authority (30%), and a housing association (36%), with those in the private landlord category seeing some of the worst outcomes.

The research aims to examine social isolation and people’s sense of belonging in modern Britain, as well as inform a series of policies and initiatives which the Belonging Forum will campaign for, known as the Charter for Belonging.

The initiatives are likely to include funding for “intergenerational friendship events”—targeted at renters and focused on helping them to build connections with older people and their area—and giving renters new community gardens and priority access to some allotments.

Kim Samuel, Co-Founder of the Belonging Forum and author of On Belonging: Finding Connection in an Age of Isolation, said: “Our research—the first of its kind in the UK—identifies acute issues facing people with disabilities, older people, and migrants.

“But two groups who are not talked about as much are young women and people in rented accommodation.

“From community gardens to intergenerational friendship events, our Charter for Belonging will outline common sense and affordable ways to help renters and young women put down roots in their local area and connect with others.

“Renters are a growing section of British society and there are specific measures we can put in place to help them feel like they belong.”

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