A total of 32 per cent of people live in homes which fail to meet the “Living Home Standard” - a new measure created by housing and homelessness charity Shelter.
The measure takes into account affordability, decent conditions, stability, amount of space and the neighbourhood.
Failing one of the criteria means a house does not meet the required standard.
The study found that one in five people in the south east live in homes which fail on affordability.
Shelter’s chief executive Campbell Robb said: ‘At Shelter we know all too well that a home is much more than bricks and mortar – it’s a place that should allow us to live and thrive, rather than just get by.
‘When Shelter was founded fifty years ago, it was with the hope that one day everyone in the country would have access to a place they can truly call home.
‘But the sad truth is that far too many people in the South East right now are living in homes that just aren’t up to scratch.’
Almost one in 10 live in homes which fail to meet the standard because of poor conditions, with problems including persistent pets, damp or safety hazards.
The homes of one in 12 people fail due to instability, largely driven by renters who feel they do not have enough control about how long they live in the home.
Nearly 2,000 nationally were questioned for the survey.