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Study reveals rise in children raised in squalid rental homes

A quarter of a million families bringing up babies and infants in England are living in privately rented accommodation that fails to meet the decent homes standard, it has emerged.

The number of households bringing up children aged under four in squalid conditions, which can include damp walls, broken heating and infestations of rats, has increased by an estimated 75,000 since 2007, according to analysis of official figures.

The study of England’s private rented sector says renters of all generations have been failed by successive governments. The number of rented homes has more than doubled since 2000, to 4.8m, as the construction of private and social housing has slowed dramatically since the financial crisis and hundreds of thousands of new landlords have entered the market seeking better investment returns amid low interest rates.

The problem conditions are not confined to young families. One in three homes at the lowest rents and one in five of the most expensive homes are classed as non-decent. In 2016/17, half of new households were private renters, twice the number who became owner–occupiers.

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