LIVING long-term in the private rented sector is damaging young people’s mental health, with the chronic lack of social housing partly to blame, says a new study.
In yet another example of the collateral damage incurred from the UK’s housing crisis, the study for the UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence (CaCHE) explores the issues that are said to be exerting a negative impact on the mental well-being of ‘Generation Rent’.
Insecure, expensive and poor-quality housing contributes to feelings of stress, anxiety and depression among young people unable to realise their housing aspirations, the study says. The issues are particularly severe for those on the lowest incomes.
This highlights not only the experiences of those locked out of buying a home because of high prices, but also those on lower incomes locked out of more secure social housing because of a lack of supply.
The study was carried out by Dr Kim McKee from the University of Stirling, and Dr Adriana Mihaela Soaita, from the University of Glasgow.
“The poor experiences reported by the young people in this research is a sad reflection on housing in the UK today,” said McKee, lead author, and senior lecturer in social policy and housing at Stirling University.
“Their negative impact on wellbeing, particularly mental health, underlines the need for urgent policy intervention to address the failure of the sector for lower income groups.
“Put simply, for those in low paid and insecure work, social rented housing would provide a better safety net than the private rented sector. We need more social housing to be built, and to stop selling it off by ending the Right to Buy across the UK.”
The study makes six key housing policy recommendations, including a call for more affordable housing to be built – both for sale and rent. It also says tenants should be educated about their rights, and landlords and letting agents required to undertake training on their legal obligations and duties.