A recent study was conducted to determine whether housing circumstances are associated with faster epigenetic ageing or not. Experts from the University of Adelaide in Australia and the University of Essex in the UK found that private renters suffer faster biological ageing than their counterparts who own their homes or live in social housing. They added that even being a former smoker or unemployed has a lesser impact on biological ageing than renting privately.

What is biological ageing?

Biological ageing is a different concept than chronological ageing. The latter is determined by when you were born. Biological aging on the other hand is linked to the degradation of your cells because of damage caused by factors such as genetics, lifestyle, nutrition, diseases and other conditions.

The lifestyle factor is important and includes housing circumstances as the study finds. Peabody New Homes dives into the 3 main reasons why private renters are worse off when it comes to biological ageing and therefore health.

Private renters deal with poorer living conditions

The first reason why private renters would experience faster biological ageing is poorer living conditions. Unfortunately, renting privately can mean being exposed to pollution and other environmental problems. It is not uncommon for renters to be dealing with poor insulation, humidity and mould issues.

Unfortunately, rented properties are rarely in pristine conditions and few of them are new build homes. This often means they do not benefit from an efficient ventilation system or effective thermal insulation.

On top of that, it is important to note that depending on the rental agreement you have, private tenants' rights can vary greatly. For example, your landlord might not be responsible for covering repair costs and for making sure your home is energy efficient.

Couple discussing finances in front of their laptop

Private renters pay more without the financial security of owning their home.

Private renters must pay soaring rent costs

The study suggests that another cause could be the financial stress that renting privately imposes on people. With soaring rent prices across the UK and particularly in London, it is becoming a heavier burden on people’s finances.

Rents have increased by 9,5% compared to December 2022. This is due to an increase in both interest rates and housing demand. This situation sadly means that more people will face housing arrears which can be responsible for faster biological ageing.

Private renters deal with stressful and unstable housing situations

The third most important cause of faster biological ageing for private tenants is the stress of their situation. Because they are subjected to the decisions of their landlord, they do not benefit from the stability that homeownership or social housing offers.

One of the big reasons behind the findings of the study could be that renting privately is often more stressful. You are dependent on the decisions of your landlord when it comes

The good news is that biological ageing is reversible. This means that improving your living situation today can reverse the damage caused by years of private renting. It is important to recognise that if you do not qualify for social housing and cannot buy a home outright, this study can feel a bit disheartening.

Luckily, there are different ways you can get onto the property ladder even without huge savings. Shared Ownership is an alternative way to buy that ends up being even cheaper than renting privately in some cases. To learn more about it, you can have a look at our guide to Shared Ownership.

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