Housing

A third of millennials will never own a home

Housing policies must change now, as new research paints a bleak future for Britain's rental generation

Britain’s young people are undoubtedly bearing the brunt of the housing crisis, according to new research that warns a third of them may never own a home.

The Resolution Foundation’s report found that up to 40 per cent of young people currently live in private rented properties by the age of 30.

This is double the rate for Generation X and four times the number of baby boomers who were renting in this sector at the same age.

And, if home ownership growth follows the weak pattern seen in the 2000s, up to half of millennials could still be renting in their 40s with a third still paying landlords when they reach pension age – potentially doubling the housing benefit bill for pensioners from £6.3bn today to £16bn by 2060.

Britain’s housing problems have developed into a full-blown crisis over recent decades and young people are bearing the brunt – paying a record share of their income on housing in return for living in smaller, rented accommodation

The change reflects the declining access to social housing, which has fallen as fast as home ownership rates.

As a result, the Resolution Foundation is pointing the finger at housing policy, which they claim has failed to move with the times as bringing children up in private rented homes has now become the norm.

The ratio of children growing up in owner-occupied housing was eight times more prevalent than rented accommodation in 2003. That has fallen to two to one in the present day with an all-time high 1.8 million families with children renting privately as opposed to just 600,000 15 years ago.

And that comes with an inherent lack of security with two-month notice periods coming as standard while fixed-term contracts of six or 12 months run the risk of a large rent rise at short notice.

One in four properties in the sector also fail to meet the decent homes standard, affecting almost 250,000 households across the country, according to Citizens Advice.

Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said: “People who rent shabby or unsafe homes have few options when landlords let them down. Resolving disputes can be risky, costly and complicated.

“For any scheme to be successful it must be simple, free and ensure renters are protected from losing their homes simply for raising a complaint.”

In the wake of these factors, the Resolution Foundation is calling for England and Wales to follow Scotland’s lead by making indeterminate tenancies the sole form of contract. They also want to see a fairer balance of tenant and landlord needs as well as limits on in-tenancy rent rises to CPI inflation for three-year periods and a new housing tribunal to resolve disputes between landlords and tenants.

Lindsay Judge, policy analyst at the Resolution Foundation, said: “Britain’s housing problems have developed into a full-blown crisis over recent decades and young people are bearing the brunt – paying a record share of their income on housing in return for living in smaller, rented accommodation.

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