Health Impact

“We spend a great deal of time in the spaces in which we live, and it has been long understood that housing conditions have a significant impact on health status.

Individuals who live in substandard housing are more likely to encounter material or physical hazards such as pest infestations, mold, leaks and dampness, poor ventilation, noise pollution, injury hazards, extreme temperatures, exposure to lead, or other poisoning and carcinogenic air pollutants or allergens that may trigger negative health effects.

Such exposures may increase many health risks through multiple pathways and through both acute and chronic responses including headaches, fever, nausea, vomiting, changes in blood pressure, myocardial infarction, injuries, mental and psychological distress, asthma, respiratory infections, obesity, diabetes, decreased neurological functioning, some types of cancer, and overall mortality. The same populations that already carry a greater burden of disease and illness are likely to disproportionally be impacted by home health hazards.

Racial and ethnic minorities, the poor, LGTBQ individuals, individuals with disabilities, immigrants, and other marginalized groups are more likely to live in unsafe or unstable housing, lack necessary financial resources to change their living situations, and/or are more likely to face discrimination when searching for adequate housing.”

From: Bachelder AE, Stewart MK, Felix HC and Sealy N (2016) Health Complaints Associated with Poor Rental Housing Conditions in Arkansas: The Only State without a Landlord’s Implied Warranty of Habitability.

Health Impact in Arkansas

A survey of 951 Arkansas renters found that 32 percent had experienced problems in getting their landlord to make necessary repairs.  Of the renters who had problems getting their landlords to make repairs, 25 percent said that the housing conditions impacted their health. Reported health impacts included:

  • Increased stress (69 percent)
  • Breathing problems (46 percent)
  • Headaches (37 percent)
  • Blood pressure problems (27 percent)

27 percent of the individuals who experienced health problems due to problems in their housing sought medical treatment.

Comprehensive survey results are discussed in the following reports:

Bachelder, Ashley et al, Out of Balance: Arkansas Renters Share their Experiences Navigating the State’s Unique Landlord-Tenant Laws, Little Rock: 2015 and

Bachelder AE, Stewart MK, Felix HC and Sealy N (2016) Health Complaints Associated with Poor Rental Housing Conditions in Arkansas: The Only State without a Landlord’s Implied Warranty of Habitability.