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.”
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