Thousands of young workers across the UK have been severely affected by extortionate housing prices.
An online questionnaire by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and Generation Rent, an affordable housing campaign group, found that the average young person has had to pay over 40 percent of their salary on rent. TUC’S Big Youth Debate in London, on Saturday 15 November, focused on discussion topics including the negative housing experiences of young people, directly responding to the results of their questionnaire.
One of the issues raised was the large amount of young adults forced to continue living with parents or relatives. Of the questionnaire respondents, 44 percent claimed that where possible they would prefer to rent their own property, but most simply cannot afford to.
Meanwhile, respondents also drew attention to issues with housing contracts and tenant exploitation by landlords. Reports of eviction threats and the refusal of landlords to repay deposits has been the catalyst for action for organisations like Generation Rent.
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady sympathised: “Many young people today are having a much tougher time than their parents ever did. The message from the many young workers who told us about their housing experiences is that it’s unaffordable and insecure.
This is yet another indication that the assumption that each generation will be a bit better off than the last has now come to an end.”
The growth in popularity of websites such as SpareRoom.co.uk, launched in 2004, highlight the multitudes of young people struggling to find the means to attempt to rent their own properties.
The fact that even if you do start earning, most of your wages will be spent on rent is worrying.”
Of the 26 percent of respondents who had bought their own home, more than half had required financial aid from friends or family to meet the inflated house prices.
Such figures have raised concerns in the housing sector and amongst the general public. Alex Hilton, Director of Generation Rent, has argued that if the rising rent-to-salary ratio continues, politicians will “face the anger of a generation.”
Students at Warwick have backed Hilton’s words. Ryan Weissler, a second-year Engineering student commented: “It’s hard enough to think about finding a graduate job at the moment. The fact that even if you do start earning, most of your wages will be spent on rent is worrying.”
Both the TUC and Generation Rent have continued to monitor the housing situation of young people. The 2015 General Election is their focus for the improvement of the private renting sector.