Previous research has established that there is a relationship between housing and mental health, however, understanding about how and why housing affects mental health is still limited. The purpose of this paper is to address this deficit by focusing on the experiences of residents of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs).
Semi-structured interviews were carried out with 20 HMO residents who were asked about their housing career and experience of living in a HMO. Participants were recruited with assistance from community organisations and landlords.
The physical properties and social environment of the property, as well as personal circumstances experienced prior to the move into the property, all influenced how mental health was affected. The authors identify and discuss in detail three key meditating factors: safety, control and identity which may affect how living in the property impacts the mental health of tenants.
Good property management can lessen the potential harmful effects of living in a HMO. However, poorly run properties which house numerous vulnerable people may increase the risk of poor mental health due to attendant high levels of stress and possible risk of abuse.
Based on the reports of HMO residents, the authors outline the key mediating processes through which living in HMOs may affect mental wellbeing, as well as illuminating the potential risks and benefits of HMOs, an overlooked tenure in housing research.
This project was funded by the Technology Strategy Board for a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (No KTP007755) between University of Essex and Tendring District Council. They provided matched funding to Tendring District Council who provided the initial impetus for this project. Many people at Tendring District Council assisted with this project notably Chris Kitcher who had the initial idea and who led the setup of this project and Paul Price who took over half way through. Grant Fenton-Jones and David McCulloch also provided assistance. Jan Stringer and Jenny Young at the University of Essex sat on the project management group and helped to guide the project. Several local service providers helped with the recruitment of interviewees and the authors are very grateful for their help. The biggest thank you goes to those who agreed to be interviewed as without their cooperation this research would not have been possible.
CitationDownload as .RIS
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited