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What is the impact on young private renters?

"In the past 5 years, I have lived at 7 different addresses. I wasn't evicted from any of these properties, but didn't stay long term for financial, practical, mental health or COVID-19 related reasons. I'm now very used to my housing situation changing every year or so, I have a constant sense of not being settled and knowing wherever I live won't be long term - I wish it wasn't this way."

So, what does all this mean for young private renters - just because you can’t buy a house does that mean you can’t feel part of a community or settled down or like a, well… a grown up?

Almost everyone we spoke to, and even amongst the research team ourselves, there was a consistent expression of what could be only articulated as a permanent feeling of isolation. From simple things like not wanting to buy furniture for a rental property (lest you have to figure out how to take it with you to your next place) to being served a section 21 out of the blue, every aspect of the rental experience is punctuated by this feeling of temporariness which weighs heavy.

This inability to settle down affects almost every young renter. Imagine you are leaving your familial home for the first time, or trying to settle down to raise a family, the nagging feeling that at any point could have to leave puts you under incredible mental pressure. The reasons for this have been addressed above, but it can't be understated how even in the best of circumstances being a young renter leaves people feeling like they're always in a state of precarity.

Ultimately, the feeling of rootlessness has a much darker expression than just a nebulous feeling of hollowness and isolation. For many, it meant they couldn’t access mental health services, their GP, or even vote as their address changed too much for the system to keep up with. The experience for so many we spoke to was stark: a constant cycle of housing precariousness that cuts off friends, family, support services and any chance at feeling part of a wider community.

Extract from an article written by young private renters about the impact of the temporary nature of private renting has on their lives. Read more about the project here.

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