Housing

The cladding crisis is disproportionately affecting young people

"Failed housing policies" mean young people are being disproportionately affected by the cladding crisis, the Intergenerational Foundation has claimed.

High rise flats

Young people have been "pushed and encouraged" into flats which may be dangerous, the IF said. (Image: Pixabay)

Younger generations are bearing the financial and emotional brunt of the cladding crisis, a new report has revealed. 

The report by the Intergenerational Foundation (IF) found various factors, including homeownership schemes, low salaries and high housing costs have exposed young people to the crisis, with two-thirds of those affected by cladding issues aged 50 or below.

Angus Hanton, IF co-founder, said the report showed that the government, mortgage lenders and developers are “letting down a generation of young people”. 

The report looked at the cladding crisis through the lens of intergenerational unfairness, exploring how and why cladding issues have affected younger people more. 

It comes after he UK Cladding Action Group (UKAG) carried out a survey of its members in 2020, finding that one-third were aged 25 to 34 and another third were aged 35 to 50. Around 68 per cent were first-time buyers. 

The IF says this situation has emerged partly because younger people, especially those born after 1980, are more likely to have bought or rented out newbuild flats affected by the cladding crisis.

Younger people have been “pushed and persuaded” into buying or renting these homes due to the UK’s “failed housing policies”, the report said, pointing to Help to Buy as one example. 

Both the Help to Buy scheme and shared ownership schemes offer routes into homeownership at a lower cost than buying properties with a traditional mortgage, and were designed to assist young people in achieving homeownership.

But the IF’s report says these schemes may have “encouraged younger people to buy unsafe and defective homes” which are now being affected by cladding issues. 

It’s estimated that around 1.6 million homes are currently fitted with dangerous cladding, with many thousands more trapped in properties which can’t be sold or remortgaged until they are tested for dangerous material and fire-safety defects.

Due to younger people making up a disproportionate share of the renting population, they are also more likely than older people to be renting one of the 850,000 flats potentially fitted with dangerous cladding. 

Though the IF welcomed a recent announcement from the government that developers will have to pay for cladding remediation on some flat blocks, the report warned that it’s not clear whether developers will cover the costs – or whether the government can oblige them to do so.

The organisation also warned that a further 300,000 high-rise leasehold homes have been left out of the government plans, with younger owners “expected to pay many thousands of pounds on interim measures such as waking watches, further eroding their financial and mental wellbeing.”

Hanton added: “The wider housing crisis has pushed many younger people into buying these substandard and dangerous homes. The government, developers, mortgage lenders, banks and builders are letting down a generation of younger people. 

“It seems patently unfair that younger generations, who bought properties in good faith based on mortgage valuations and homebuyer surveys, should have to face huge bills to put right their buildings through no fault of their own.”

Support the Big Issue

For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
Vendor martin Hawes

Recommended for you

View all
Over 90,000 households threatened with no-fault evictions since Tories promised to ban them
Renters angry at no-fault evictions, Renters Reform Bill delay and a lack of rent controls
RENTING

Over 90,000 households threatened with no-fault evictions since Tories promised to ban them

Starmer warned over glaring omission in Labour's six general election pledges: 'I'm disappointed'
Housing crisis

Starmer warned over glaring omission in Labour's six general election pledges: 'I'm disappointed'

Scottish government is declaring a national housing emergency – but what does it actually mean?
Scottish first minister John Swinney
Housing

Scottish government is declaring a national housing emergency – but what does it actually mean?

Home Office drops plan to arrest homeless people if they smell
Homelessness

Home Office drops plan to arrest homeless people if they smell

Most Popular

Read All
Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits
Renters: A mortgage lender's window advertising buy-to-let products
1.

Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
2.

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over
next dwp cost of living payment 2023
3.

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know
4.

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know