How can landlords help young people find homes?

A recent report published by the housing charity Shelter has shown that nearly half of all twenty to thirty four year olds are still living with their parents as they cannot afford to get onto the housing ladder. To make matters worse, this demographic is also struggling to afford current rent prices, meaning that we are seeing a generation of young people unable to leave home. As a landlord, you may think that this doesn’t affect you, however helping young people find homes can be extremely beneficial for both parties…

Shelter’s Findings

From investigating statistics provided by the 2011 national Census, Shelter was able to show that a growing number of young people are unable to rent or buy a home. They claim that 1.97 million adults aged between twenty and thirty four are still living at home with their parents, and in a separate survey the charity commissioned themselves they found that forty eight per cent are still living at home as they cannot afford any other option.

Discussing their findings, Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said: “The ‘clipped wing generation’ are finding themselves with no choice but to remain living with mum and dad well into adulthood, as they struggle to find a home of their own. Rather than pumping more money into schemes like Help to Buy, we need bolder action that will meet the demand for affordable homes and not inflate prices further. From helping small local builders find the finance they need, to investing in a new generation of part rent, part buy homes, the solutions to our housing shortage are there for the taking. Politicians of all parties must now put stable homes for the next generation at the top of the agenda.”

Government-Funded Schemes

As Campbell Robb mentioned, the government has already put in place a number of schemes in order to help young people get onto the housing ladder. One of these schemes is Help to Buy, however there has been a number of controversies surrounding this scheme as many people claim that it hasn’t improved the situation for a large percentage of young adults. Lack of affordable housing is one of the main causes of the current housing crisis and the fact that house prices are so expensive, which is why the government has also funded a number of construction projects. However, these projects will take time and until then young people will either have to remain at home with their parents or rely on social housing.

How can Landlords help?

Landlords have had a considerable amount of bad press over the past few years, mainly because rent prices across the country, especially in cities such as London, are so high. However, landlords are not to blame for the current cost of living or the fact that property prices and subsequent outgoings such as landlord insurance and letting fees are so expensive. There are some things that landlords can do to help however, such as looking into offering their properties as Homes in Multiple Occupation (HMOs).

As young people are struggling to afford current rent prices, having numerous people all live in one property will spread the cost and reduce the likelihood of them falling into rent arrears. In order to let your property as an HMO you will need to adhere to government legislation concerning health and safety and the amount of people that can realistically live in the type of properties that you are offering. Unfortunately, rogue landlords are taking advantage of the fact that young people are now looking to stay in HMOs and are providing sub-standard properties that are not only dangerous but are also over-crowded or lack necessary facilities. If you think a landlord is acting unscrupulously in your area you should report them to the council or the local police in order to help young people who are being taken advantage of.

Even though landlords cannot control the property or private rental markets and therefore the price of housing or rent, they can try and improve the sector as much as possible when it comes to young people. Adapting your property portfolio and keeping an eye out for rogue landlords is just two ways you can help, however if you want to do more you should get in touch with your local council.

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