Private renters and home improvements


More than three-quarters of private renters in England (77%) – equivalent to 6.6 million adults – would like to make small improvements to their home, new research from Shelter and B&Q shows.

The YouGov study for Shelter and B&Q shines a light on the important relationship between our wellbeing and our home.

72% of private renters, which is equivalent to over 6 million people, said they would feel happier in their home if they could decorate it as they wish, highlighting the positive impact small home improvements can have on mental health. 29% said they would be more likely to invite family and friends over if they could add personal touches to their home.

Shelter and B&Q are keen to stress that private tenants must first seek the permission of their landlord. Many landlords do allow tenants to make small changes. In fact, 41% of renters say they already know their landlord permits small improvements and more may do so if asked.

Partnership between Shelter and B&Q

The findings support the ongoing partnership between Shelter and B&Q, who are working together because of a shared belief that everyone should feel happy and safe in their home.

Funded by B&Q donations, Shelter’s DIY Skills Adviser Service in England provides practical help and basic DIY training to people being supported by Shelter, who are struggling with bad housing or settling into a new home after being homeless.

Covering London, Birmingham, Manchester, Sheffield, Merseyside, Dorset, and Bristol, Shelter’s team of trained home improvement specialists have helped over 2,500 people since the partnership launched in 2017, with tasks ranging from decorating to gardening.

Matty's story

Matty said: "The main thing I got from working with Steve to improve my flat, was confidence. I guess it’s hard to appreciate how much your home can change how you feel, but I’d never had anywhere I could shut the world out and feel settled before, having lived in some pretty bad places.

"Steve taught me how to fit my curtain rails and blinds. He also got some colour charts and helped me to decide which shades of paint I wanted in each room. Throughout this process, I had to speak up and say what I would like lots of times and that isn’t something I’ve had the chance to do until now. When we were done decorating the place, it really felt like it was my home."

Help with housing costs

Many people on low incomes contact Turn2us for help with housing costs - rent, mortgage, housing arrears, deposits, moving costs, house repairs, adaptations, decorating, flooring, white goods or furniture.


There is information about the help that may be available to you through benefits in our Housing Costs section, which also includes details of housing advice organisations.

You can use our Benefits Calculator to check your benefits entitlement.


Help may be available to you for some housing costs from some charitable funds, if you are on a low income and you meet the qualifying rules (eligibility criteria) for help, based on your circumstances, circumstances and needs.

See our Information tip: Home repairs, flooring and decorating

Grants may also be available for essential white goods, such as cookers, fridges, freezers and washing machines. See our Living Without campaign

Grants for energy efficiency

Read our Grants for Energy Efficiency guide

Home improvement agencies

Home improvement agencies (HIAs) assist vulnerable homeowners and private sector tenants who are older, disabled or on a low income to repair, improve, maintain or adapt their homes. The help they provide may include suggesting and organising improvements to help with energy efficiency; advising on any funding sources (national and local) that may be available to you; and helping you fill in application forms for this support.

They are generally local, not-for-profit organisations. What is available and how you access help depends on where you live in.

See the Turn2us information: Home Improvement Agencies