People dramatically overestimate the impact space has on their happiness, but what really makes us miserable at home?

What change to your home would make you happiest? Most people would say more space – yet people dramatically overestimate the effect more space in their homes will have on their overall happiness, research from Hact has found.

The organisation studied the impact common housing problems have on residents’ overall happiness and found the seven conditions that most affect it are:

neighbour noise (1,068);
damp (1,068);
poor lighting (1,044);
no garden (783);
condensation (645);
rot (598); and
vandalism (436)

More space – despite being the improvement that most people say they want in a new home – did not even feature in the list.

The findings shows the impact housing problems have on people’s overall life happiness – not just their happiness with their home, so provide a far broader look at the impact of housing conditions on individuals and communities.

It’s hoped the results can help housing providers decide which areas they should focus their resources on. If they can understand which improvements will have the greatest impact on overall happiness, they can then spend money more efficiently on fixing the problems that will make the biggest difference for tenants.

If landlords had previously followed residents’ suggestions about what would make them happier and opted to prioritise space at the expense of noise insulation, they would actually have a negative effect on a residents’ overall happiness – despite it being what most said would make them happiest.

Piece originally published in The Guardian.

At RFM Trading we can assist landlords and property owners with the essential maintenance work needed to address these seven problems.

Soundproofing wall panels and insulation in ceilings and floor joists can help reduce neighbour noise, all of which our expert tradesmen can install. New window frames and/or glass panes may also help in reducing external noise. Please speak to us about window installation.

Damp and condensation can cause serious health issues for occupants and must be addressed. We can remove damp and mould from your property and install extractor fans and ventilation in rooms prone to excess moisture, however tenants must do their part to help reduce condensation in the first place. Our article on Condensation offers simple tips and advice for landlords and tenants to follow.

Poor lighting in a property is easily resolved. If it’s natural light that is needed, the addition of a skylight can be added to attic rooms or loft conversions. Tall and overgrown trees and bushes should be cut back to allow natural light into a property. Internally, new light fittings can to installed and the use of daytime bulbs which provide a similar level of lighting to natural daylight can also be used. RFM Trading can assist you with all these matters.

No garden and the lack of outside space can be overcome by creating even the smallest of gardens. A small patio area, a patch of grass – real or artificial – or the addition of some seasonal flowers in decorative tubs and a bench to sit on can raise the happiness levels of tenants. Speak to us about patio, decking, grass and other garden maintenance issues.

There are various types of rot that can set in and over time destroy the structural integrity of a property. It is vital rot is found early and professionally treated. Ensuring your property is damp and mould free and anti-condensation measures are followed will help, but please seek the expert assistance of RFM Trading if rot is present in your property.

Vandalism can take many forms. Ensuring your property is secure is the first step to protecting your investment, and your tenants. Installing a burglar alarm, security lights and locks on your windows is essential. Gates with access control (code or fob operated) will also help guard against unwanted visitors and damage. Our security experts can help advise you on the appropriate measures for your property.

Call us on 0161 667 3739 to discuss any home or property maintenance matter or email your query to