Tenants more likely to be in overcrowded accommodation than owner-occupiers | LISER

Tenants more likely to be in overcrowded accommodation than owner-occupiers

Calculating the proportion of households living in housing which is, objectively, too small in relation to their needs is an essential part on understanding housing conditions and their impact.

A definition adopted by the European Union proposes the following criteria as a means of assessing the relationship between the number of rooms and the number of people in a household:

  • one room for the household ;
  • one room per couple in the household ;
  • one room for each single person aged 18 or more ;
  • one room per pair of single people of the same gender between 12-17 years of age ;
  • one room for each single person between 12-17 years of age and not included in the previous category ;
  • one room per pair of children under 12 years of age.

A difference between tenants and owner-occupiers revealed

Applying this definition, in 2016 significant differences between tenants and owner-occupiers were revealed, with 20.2% of tenant households in overcrowded conditions (moderately and severely) in comparison with only 2.0% for owner-occupied households. This difference is explained in part by the income gap between owner-occupiers and tenants, as well as the location and type of housing.

 

Calculating the proportion of households living in housing which is objectively too small in relation to their needs is an essential part of understanding housing conditions. Several recent empirical studies conducted in European countries point to the negative consequences of overcrowding, particularly for children: stress, lack of privacy, difficulties doing homework, etc.

This objective assessment of sufficient space is based on a definition adopted by the European Union in 2009. It involves the relationship between the number of rooms and the number of people in the household, applying the following criteria:

  • one room for the household;
  • one room per couple in the household;
  • one room for each single person aged 18 or more;
  • one room per pair of single people of the same gender between 12 and 17 years of age;
  • one room for each single person between 12 and 17 years of age and not included in the previous category;
  • one room per pair of children under 12 years of age.

The dwelling is suitable if the number of rooms is greater than or equal to the requirements. If it is greater than the requirements, the dwelling is said to be under-occupied (see Under-occupation according to age (2004-2016)). The household is "moderately overcrowded" if it lacks one habitable room and "severely overcrowded" if it lacks two or more habitable rooms.

The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg is characterised in this respect by significant differences between owner-occupiers (whether or not they have finished paying off the loans  of their main residence) and tenants (on the private market or through social housing providers such as “le Fonds du Logement” and “la Société Nationale des Habitations à Bon Marché”. 18.4% of tenant households were moderately overcrowded and 1.8% severely overcrowded in 2016, compared with only 1.8% and 0.2% respectively for owner-occupiers. These differences are to a large extent explained by the income gap between owner-occupiers and tenants: tenants on the private market more frequently have difficulties accessing housing which meets their needs. The differences in overcrowding rates are also explained by the location and type of housing: tenants’ housing mainly consists of flats concentrated in the most expensive areas (the capital and the other urban centres), while owner-occupiers more frequently live in houses, more dispersed throughout the country.

However, it should be noted that the frequency of overcrowding has greatly decreased since 2004, in similar proportions for owner-occupiers and tenants.

Field

Private households residing in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg

Source

This is an indicator produced on a yearly basis by the Ministry of Housing’s Housing Observatory using the PSELL-3/EU-SILC (2004-2016) survey, conducted by the National Statistical Institute of Luxembourg (STATEC), in collaboration with LISER.

Reading Guide

In 2016, 7.2% of households were living in moderately overcrowded conditions (i.e. lacked one habitable room given the composition of the household) and 0.7% of households were living in severely overcrowded conditions (i.e. lacked two or more habitable rooms).

Publications related to the topic of the indicator
DECOVILLE Antoine, LICHERON Julien
CEPS/INSTEAD, 2014, Notes de l'Observatoire de l'Habitat n°19, 6 p.
BOUSCH Patrick, LICHERON Julien
In: SCHRONEN Danielle, URBE Robert. SozialAlmanach 2012. CARITAS Luxembourg, 2012, pp. 249-258.
FUSCO Alessio, HAAG Antoine
CEPS/INSTEAD, 2009, 20 n°61, 2 p.