Key Facts about housing tenure in Hackney and the City

  • Hackney has one of the largest social housing stocks in the country, a growing private rented sector and a comparatively small owner-occupied sector.
  • The City, like much of central London, has a housing stock polarised between very high-cost owner-occupied or private rented housing on the one hand and social rented housing on the other.

Health outcomes are typically worse among residents of social housing compared with other tenures, while owner-occupiers tend to report better health and wellbeing (and live longer) in general. 1 Some of these patterns may be attributed to the fact that housing tenure is strongly related to socio-demographic factors (such as age or income levels) and psychological factors (such as self-efficacy), which in themselves have a strong influence on health and wellbeing. 2 3However, some of the observed variation in health outcomes across housing tenures holds true even when these factors are taken into account.  This may be because tenure is strongly linked to housing conditions and the type of neighbourhoods in which people reside, both of which have important, independent health and wellbeing impacts for residents.

The maintenance and upkeep of a person’s immediate surroundings, and the extent to which someone feels connected to their neighbours and the local area, can make a real difference to a person’s sense of place and wellbeing (see the ‘Community cohesion and social networks’ and ‘Places and spaces’ sections of this JSNA chapter.4 5 These physical and social features of the neighbourhoods in which people live can vary significantly across tenures.  In general, owner occupiers have greater control over the immediate environment in which they live and social landlords provide a range of services for their tenants (such as repairs and maintenance, employment support, health and wellbeing services, as well as opportunities to meet other residents through social events). By contrast, isolated tenants of sub-standard private rented accommodation are often at greatest risk of housing-related harms. 6

Houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) often have poorer physical and management standards than other privately rented properties, sometimes involving poorly converted self-contained units without the requisite building regulations, and/or co-located with commercial premises.  Added to their high occupancy, this means that HMOs are subject to greater risks of certain hazards, such as fire.  Occupiers of HMOs tend to have the least control and choice over their housing circumstances, and ensuring that standards in this sector meet the legal minimum is important to protect these tenants.


  1. E. Baker, “Evidence on the relationship between unaffordable housing and poor health,” University of Adelaide, 2011.
  2. E. Baker, “Evidence on the relationship between unaffordable housing and poor health,” University of Adelaide, 2011.
  3. K. E. Mason, E. Bentley and E. Baker, “Housing affordability and mental health: does the relationship differ for renters and home purchasers?,” Soc Sci Med, vol. 94, pp. 91-97, 2013.
  4. Glasgow Centre for Population Health, “The built environment and health: an evidence review,” November 2013.
  5. M. Rounds, G. Evans and M. Braubach, “The interactive effects of housing and neighbourhood quality on psychological well-being,” Epidemiol Community Health, vol. 68, no. 2, pp. 171-5, 2014.
  6. T. Cruwys, G. Dingle and M. Hornsey, “Social Isolation Schema responds to positive social experiences: longitudinal evidence from vulnerable populations,” Clin Psychol, vol. 53, no. 3, 2014.