UNISON is backing the TUC’s housing charter for young people in the private rented sector.

The charter calls for urgent action by the government to address the housing crisis facing young people today and to strengthen tenants’ rights and conditions by making private renting more affordable, secure and decent.

Consecutive governments have failed to meet the housing needs of young people, many of whom have been pushed into the private rented sector because of the shortage of housing -particularly social housing – and the un-affordability of homeownership.

This has meant that young people under 35 – whether in work or not – are now the largest group (over 50%) living in the private rented sector.

With the number of young people owning their own home set to fall by 50% in the next five years, more than half a million 25-35 year olds will be forced into private renting instead.

Yet the private rented sector lacks effective regulation and young people face high rents and poor-quality accommodation, often in unsafe housing environments, and insecure tenancies.

This means that they are often robbed of a stable and secure home life and the chance to develop strong links in the community.

The TUC’s housing charter for young people calls for wide ranging measures, including a fair rent system to improve affordability, minimum quality standards for private accommodation, improved stability and security in private renting, and the building of a quarter of a million homes per year, with a significant proportion being social and affordable housing.

UNISON is campaigning with the TUC for a significant increase in housing supply and for effective regulation in private renting – and to ensure that young people have a better housing deal so that they can invest in and feel a part of their community.

Assistant policy officer Sylvia Jones said: “Young people have had a poor housing deal. Many are trapped in a cycle of insecure, short-term lets in very poor housing in the private rented sector.

“The lack of affordability and security in private renting also means that many young people are forced to live at home with their parents, sleep on friends’ floors, sofa surf or sleep in various unsuitable environments, which hides the true extent of ‘hidden’ homelessness in the UK.

“Housing is therefore one of the biggest challenges facing young people, which is why UNISON is campaigning to ensure that the housing needs of our young people are met.”

The TUC and UNISON are encouraging members – young members in particular – and individual supporters of reforms to make private renting more affordable and secure, to sign up to the charter.

Supporters can:

  • tweet a photo of their signed charter with a message to say: ‘I support @TUCyoungworkers housing campaign’;
  • post a similar message on Facebook using #TUCYoungWorkers;
  • print your signed charter and display as a poster for others to see.

The more supporters we have, the bigger the impact we can make in influencing politicians and decision makers to develop policies to make private renting more affordable, stable and secure and decent for the 10m renters in the UK.