Good housing can improve health and well being; but poor housing conditions can damage health, particularly in relation to asthma, damp and mould.
For children, the effects can last a lifetime.
The latest Welsh Housing Conditions Survey showed that since 2008 housing conditions across all housing tenures have improved, and that the private rented sector has a higher proportion of poor quality housing (damp or other hazards), and that social housing is generally of better quality than private housing. Further information is available here.
Unfitness was also more common in the private rental sector. In more than 50% of cases, unfit homes had fallen into general disrepair.
Asthma is exacerbated by poor housing conditions, mainly damp and mould, and particularly for children. In some cases, poor housing may actually cause asthma.
Further information on housing and asthma, as well as the effectiveness of interventions to address them, is available from the document: Poor Housing and Asthma Briefing Document
Around one third of all injuries happen in the home. This is partly because of the amount of time we spend at home, but also because of the wide range of hazards that we face in the home.
The stairs are the most dangerous place, accounting for more than 25% of all home injuries, followed by the garden and kitchen.
Indoor air temperature can have significant impacts on both physical and mental health; effectiveness of heating can range from around 82% in the private rental sector to 95% in owner occupied homes.
Implementing interventions to improve warmth and energy efficiency can improve general health, mental health and respiratory health, especially when targeted at those with inadequate warmth and those with chronic respiratory disease.
Warmth improvements were also associated with increased useable space, increased privacy and improved social relationships. Work and school absences due to illness were also reduced.
Housing condition (including damp, cold, mould, air quality, fuel use and fuel expenditure) is also generally improved by warmth improvements.
Warmth and energy efficiency improvements included heating installation, insulation and double glazing. There is little evidence of negative impacts of home improvement.