Increase in overcrowded homes found
Families are squeezing into homes they have outgrown but do not have the money to move out of, heralding a return to overcrowding in UK housing, according to a new study.
Finance firm LV= said that after decades of overcrowding declining across the country, the trend had now reversed, with the average family losing 11 sq ft of living space in the past three years.
One in eight children now live in overcrowded homes while a similar number of families had made potentially unsafe modifications to their houses to create more space, the report said.
A survey of more than 1,000 households found that one in 12 families could not move for financial reasons while a similar number carried out work to create extra space, such as converting lofts or partitioning rooms.
One in 50 people modifying their homes admitted contravening building regulations with alterations that could be unsafe.
The research also found that the number of people working from home has increased by a fifth since 2008, with makeshift workspaces being used in corridors, cupboards and under the stairs.
London families were said to be the worst affected, with around one in seven families living in overcrowded homes, twice the UK average.
John O'Roarke, managing director of LV= Home Insurance, said: "British families are feeling the squeeze as they are being forced to live in smaller homes than are suitable for their needs.
"High property prices have forced many families to remain in a house that they have outgrown and many are resorting to desperate measures to create extra space. The research found that hundreds of thousands of families are now living with makeshift modifications, which could be illegal and also unsafe.
"Building regulations are designed to ensure that home modifications are safe and we urge all those considering modifying their home to ensure any changes they are planning to make meet regulation standards."