1 In 3 homes have home repair problems that can make you sick

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foreclosureA new report from the non-profit National Center for Healthy Housing reveals as many as one out of every three homes in a metro area may have home repair problems that exposes residents to significant health risks.

Created by the non-profit National Center for Healthy Housing, this first-ever national healthy housing indicator used US Census data to identify 20 key housing problems that relate to occupant health.


The areas of concern include: inadequate kitchen and bath facilities; deficient electrical, heating or plumbing systems; ventilation and moisture problems; pests; and poorly maintained building elements. The most common problems identified include water leaks, roofing problems, damaged interior walls, and signs of mice.

Cities at the bottom of the list for having the least healthy housing were the metropolitan areas of San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles, and New York City. Charlotte, North Carolina, Anaheim-Santa Ana, California, and Atlanta, Georgia, ranked at the top of the list for having the healthiest housing.

Also among the findings:

  • 36% of cities surveyed, or at least one of three, had at least one problem found.
  • 14% of New York City buildings reported signs of mice.
  • San Antonio led the survey for signs of rats and also for toilet breakdowns. Surprise?
  • The most window problems were found in Salt Lake City.
  • Sewage system failures were most common in San Francisco.
  • The designation for the city with the leakiest roofs goes to Oakland, CA.

"The State of Healthy Housing is intended to shine a light on the housing conditions that exist in the United States," said Rebecca Morley, executive director of the National Center for Healthy Housing. "We've known about the health impacts of poor housing conditions since the 19th century when slums were recognized as leading to outbreaks of cholera, tuberculosis, and other communicable diseases. This report is the first of its kind and will help determine where problems exist so that we can create an action plan to ensure healthy homes are accessible to all families."

Tom Kraeutler is the AOL'S Home Improvement Editor and co-author of "My Home, My Money Pit: Your Guide to Every Home Improvement Adventure." He delivers home makeover tips each week as host of The Money Pit, a nationally syndicated home improvement radio program.

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