A photo of graffiti of a house with money coming out of the chimney. The graffiti also says "Home Sweet Home" with some of the letters replaced with money signs. The image represents the topic of the article - Is Renting Making You Miserable? The Issues With Private Renting

Is Renting Making You Miserable? The Issues With Private Renting

All my adult life I’ve been paying for privately rented accommodation, and the only thing I have to show for it is stress and headaches. I’ve had no other option than renting to keep a roof over my head. So it’s not a surprise that living in privately rented accommodation can have a significant psychological impact, causing stress, anxiety, and even depression. This is what we’ll explore in today’s article.



The Problems With Renting Private Accommodation


Financial strain

As we’re all very aware, the cost of living has been eating our money faster than we can make it. But even before the current cost of greed crisis, where businesses are posting record profits, there’s been a disconnection between salary and the cost of renting.


Weekes (2018, August 3), reporting on behalf of Shelter, shows that in England, 40% of our salary goes towards paying our rent alone. This is double what people who own and live in their homes pay (19%).


According to Green and McCarth (2015), there’s reduced availability of, and access to, affordable accommodation made worth by reductions in housing benefits for single people under 35. This means more people require living in some form of shared accommodation.


There’s also the impact that Airbnb has on property prices and renting costs. A study conducted in the boroughs of London, UK by Benitez-Aurioles and Tussyadiah (2020) found that Airbnb increases the value of properties and rents.


Support for this comes from Ayouba, Breuillé, Grivault, and Le Gallo (2020), who found that in France, Airbnb caused the same issues in cities like Lyon, Montpellier, and Paris, out of the eight French cities they investigated. This makes sense, as certain cities will be more of a tourist hot spot than others.




What’s worse, is that Airbnb-style accommodation is set to rise over the next 10 years (Gassmann, Nunkoo, Tiberius, and Kraus, 2021). This will further add to the woes of people renting, but also wanting to buy their first home.


Is it any wonder that a major concern for renters is the high cost of rent, which can strain budgets and limit disposable income? Then there’s the fear of rent increases or unexpected costs that can break our fragile balance of your ins and outgoings. This is a constant source of worry for many people.


Deposit savings

Saving for a large security deposit can be a hurdle, especially for young people or those on low incomes. This financial pressure can delay important life decisions. There’s also a lack of knowledge about how the deposit systems work. For too many people, reliance on an inheritance of the bank of mum and dad is needed to get on the property ladder. But that’s not an option for everyone.


Instability and insecurity

Many private rentals have short-term leases of 6-12 months, leading to constant worry about finding a new place and the associated costs and upheaval such leases cause. This lack of stability can be stressful and disrupt your sense of belonging.


As reported in The Guardian, 830,000 unwanted moves happened over 12 months in England, with tenants on average being forced to spend £669 (US $838.60) every time they are forced to move.


This is supported by Luginaah, Arku, and Baiden (2010), who report on the same issue being present in Ghana. Therefore, if you’re not sure of your renting rights, you may also find yourself feeling even more insecure, as you’ll more than likely move out when the landlord asks you to, rather than your landlord following the legal requirements to get you to leave the property you’re renting.




The costs

Having to move home adds a lot of additional pressure to your finances. Not only will you need to save for a new deposit before you get your current deposit back, but you’ll often have to pay a month upfront (I believe in America it’s often the first and last month upfront), and there’s the cost of moving itself. If you’re being forced to move every six months, those costs are unsustainable. Moving home is already one of the most stressful things we can do.


Being vulnerable

One aspect that often gets overlooked when social housing is non-existent, is the impact it has on vulnerable younger people, people fleeing domestic abuse, people with mental health and health issues, and people with substance dependencies (Green and McCarth, 2015).


The issue with people fleeing domestic abuse and vulnerable people is that they can be forced into shared accommodation that puts them at greater risk rather than protecting them from it.


So it’s not surprising that living in shared accommodation can lead to a decline in mental wellbeing (Green and McCarth, 2015). It’s also far more likely that shared accommodation won’t be looked after as well, not just by the landlord, but also by everyone who lives there.


Living in shared accommodation with strangers often makes the people living there not willing to clean common areas or clean up after others. I problem I’ve found a lot in the last 20 years. My mental health has also got worse in such accommodation. Covid was a particularly hard time to be in shared accommodation.




Eviction fears

Even with a lease, there’s always the underlying fear of eviction (Luginaah, Arku, and Baiden, 2010), especially if there are issues with the property or disagreements with the landlord. Revenge evictions have always been a thing.


This means you can find yourself walking a tightrope, trying to get the landlord to do what they’re legally required to do, such as dealing with dampness, and them not deciding to get rid of you instead of dealing with the issues with the property. This can create anxiety and a feeling of vulnerability.


Poor quality housing

Private rented properties can vary greatly in quality. Some renters might face issues with repairs, maintenance delays, or inadequate living conditions, impacting their health and wellbeing. As mentioned above.


Lack of appropriate housing

People with disabilities might be unable to live in accommodations without modifications for their disability (Green and McCarth, 2015). This can rule out a lot of private rental properties as the landlords aren’t likely to be happy to have their properties modified to meet the requirements of someone’s disability. And in shared accommodation, the people sharing that space might not be happy with that either.


Lack of control

When renting, you often have limited control over modifications, changes, or improvements to the property. Often you’re not even able to personalise your living space in the first place, such as painting the walls a colour you like.


Feeling of transience

The impermanence of private renting can make it difficult to feel settled and put down roots in a community. This can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness. It can also make it harder to start a family because we want to feel secure when starting a family. It’s also not practical to start a family if you live in shared accommodation or a house of multiple occupancy (HMO).




Impact on wellbeing

According to Green and McCarth (2015), in 2011 the Department of Health and Social Care identified suitable housing as a critical factor in mental health. Factors like overcrowding, room size, and high-rise buildings all affect mental wellbeing. If you’ve seen some of the ridiculous rooms and properties to rent, that often are still unaffordable, then you’d understand.


Support for this comes from Arundel, Li, Baker, and Bentley (2022) who also found a link between unaffordable accommodation and poor mental wellbeing. This is a stronger link in young people who often have less money to spend on rental accommodation.


Mind pointed out that there’s a cycle when it comes to housing problems. Poor mental health can make it harder to deal with housing problems, and housing problems can make your mental health worse.


We’ve all seen the shocking small rooms, bedsits, and studio flats that some landlords will pass off as appropriate housing, which is only suitable if you’re the size of a mouse.


An extreme version of this is the housing crisis in Hong Kong, where some rooms that were up for rent were little bigger than a coffin. Check out this article on The Guardian by clicking here to see the true horrors of such property rentals.


Impact on relationships

The stress and uncertainty of private renting can strain relationships with partners and family (Green and McCarth, 2015). It can also make it harder to maintain your social support network. And our social support networks are more important than ever.




Tips For Managing The Psychological Impact Of Renting


Know your rights

First and foremost, find out what your rights are as someone renting accommodation. I would suggest first talking to organisations like Shelter and Citizens Advice in the UK. Both can provide support and information regarding your rights as someone renting their accommodation.


I’ve found Shelter to be the best resource, as they’re a charity that’s specifically about housing and homelessness. I’ve used them to get support for myself and to get support for people I’m supporting.


Another good thing to do is to find out what your local council provides regarding knowledge and support for people renting. Therefore, it’s worth checking out your local council, as they’ll have a team that manages private renting in that area (Independent). Not every area will be the same, so knowing what support you can request when needed will give you another tool in your wellbeing toolbox.


Financial planning

Although easier said than done, budget carefully and plan for potential rent increases or unexpected costs. Consider renter’s unions or housing benefits if available in your area. If you have debts that are adding to your woes, then seek out organisations that can help you manage that debt, such as Citizens Advice in the UK and check out Gov.UK.


The picture is split in two, with the top image being of a Black person's hand holding a house key. The bottom image being of a graffiti that says "Rents Too High". The two images are separated by the article title - Is Renting Making You Miserable? The Issues With Private Renting


Open communication

Try to maintain open communication with your landlord and address any issues promptly. Not all landlords are bad, and they’re not all slumlords, although it might feel like it sometimes.



Keep hold of any communications between you and the estate agent, the acting landlord, and the owner of the property (Independent). It’s also a good idea to take photos of any issues and record dates and times. In fact, it’s a good idea to take photos before you move into the property, as that’ll give you your best chance to get your deposit back.


Focus on controllable

While you can’t control rent prices, you can personalise most of your space with decorations or plants within the allowed boundaries.


Social support network

Build a strong social support network so they can help you cope with the stress of renting. By surrounding yourself with supportive people who understand your situation, they may be able to help if something comes up regarding your rented accommodation.


Seek help

If the psychological impact of renting is overwhelming, consider talking to a therapist or counsellor. They can equip you with coping strategies and help manage your stress and anxiety.






Unfortunately, you’re not alone in facing these challenges when renting from private landlords, and in some cases, local government and council rented accommodation. Many people experience the psychological strain of renting. By understanding the factors at play and implementing coping strategies, you’ll hopefully be able to minimise the negative impact and improve your overall wellbeing.


If you’re interested in finding out about my experience with renting from terrible landlords, then hop on over to my Unwanted Members Club so you can read my exclusive article by clicking here.


As always, leave your feedback in the comments section below. Also, please share your experiences with renting in the comments section below as well. Don’t forget, if you want to stay up-to-date with my blog, you can sign up for my newsletter below. Alternatively, click the red bell icon in the bottom right corner to get push notifications for new articles.


Lastly, if you’d like to support my blog, then there are PayPal and Ko-fi donation payment options below. Until next time, Unwanted Life readers.







Arundel, R., Li, A., Baker, E., & Bentley, R. (2022). Housing unaffordability and mental health: dynamics across age and tenure. International Journal of Housing Policy, 1-31. Retrieved from https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/19491247.2022.2106541.

Ayouba, K., Breuillé, M.-L., Grivault, C., & Le Gallo, J. (2020). Does Airbnb Disrupt the Private Rental Market? An Empirical Analysis for French Cities. International Regional Science Review, 43(1-2), 76-104. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1177/0160017618821428 and https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0160017618821428.

Benitez-Aurioles, B., & Tussyadiah, I. (2020). What Airbnb does to the housing market. Annals of Tourism Research. Retrieved https://openresearch.surrey.ac.uk/esploro/outputs/journalArticle/What-Airbnb-does-to-the-housing/99515274802346.

Gassmann, S. E., Nunkoo, R., Tiberius, V., & Kraus, S. (2021). My home is your castle: Forecasting the future of accommodation sharing. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 33(2), 467-489. Retrieved from https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/IJCHM-06-2020-0596/full/html.

Green, S., & McCarthy, L. (2015). Is sharing the solution?: exploring the opportunities and challenges of privately rented shared accommodation for single people in housing need. People, Place and Policy9(3), 159-178. Retrieved from https://shura.shu.ac.uk/11304/1/is-sharing-the-solution.pdf.

Luginaah, I., Arku, G., & Baiden, P. (2010). Housing and health in Ghana: The psychosocial impacts of renting a home. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health7(2), 528-545. Retrieved from https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/7/2/528.

Weekes, T. (2018, August 3). Flatlining wages, surging rents and a national affordability crisis. | Shelter. Shelter. Retrieved from https://blog.shelter.org.uk/2018/08/flatlining-wages-surging-rents-and-a-national-affordability-crisis.




Citizens Advice


6 thoughts on “Is Renting Making You Miserable? The Issues With Private Renting

  1. Really informative post! I didn’t know that Airbnb is impacting housing so badly! Interesting! Mental illness and homelessness sadly go hand in hand. Many people who are homeless have some sort of mental illness. But I’m sure you already know that! And yes, the cost of living is getting way too high. It’s ridiculous really. A lot of young adults these days are living with their parents longer for that reason. They just can’t afford to live on their own and that’s just awful. There is even a complaint in some countries that young people are not having enough children. Of course they’re not! Children are expensive! And the worst part is that the cost of living is only going to go up. Thanks for sharing this post and raising awareness on this issue.

    • Children are expensive. Wages aren’t going up but the costs of goods and services are going through the roof, so of course people aren’t having children. I couldn’t even afford a pet, let alone a child. Thanks for commenting

Leave a Reply

Skip to content