The challenges of being a young renter – Joe’s Story


Generation Rent supporter Joe, a young renter who is moving from student accommodation to the wider private rented sector, shares his experiences of renting.

While my experience with private renting over the last five years since leaving home certainly is not as harrowing as some of the experiences others have had (and my greatest sympathies go out to those people), it has certainly not been without its problems. It is essential to remember the ever-widening gulf between those who own a house in the UK and those who don’t. 

I’m twenty-three years old, have lived in three separate houses since moving out from my parents and I’m now looking for a fourth.

Throughout this time, I have dealt with problems including dampness and mould, and pest infestations with slugs and woodlice. I’ve faced extreme delays to necessary repairs that are supposed to be done as part of my contracts and which only seem to be getting sorted now that I am due to move out of the house and the property needs to be put back on the market.  Even moving out has involved severe problems and delays in approving my references for a new property, despite providing adequate guarantors. And the local water company sent letters threatening to escalate action if my landlord continued not to pay the water bill, which was meant to be included as part of the rent. 

In my last two places, we have had little to no direct contact with the landlord and had to work through an estate agent, which is understandable. Still, if they fail to provide adequate service, then it should fall to the landlord to ensure necessary actions are taken. 

It can feel incredibly insulting when these things happen, and you learn that your landlord is off skiing in the Alps using your money and refusing to check their emails. 

Problems were often only solved in the past by shouting, angry phone calls or threats of legal action (even then, some were not dealt with) or simply trying my best to fix things alone. It has unfortunately become the expected norm for things like this to happen as part of private renting. It certainly shouldn’t be. 

I have previously lived with various friends, but in 2024, I will be moving into a property on my own and am starting to realise the increasing harshness of the market when you’re only looking for a one-bed place or studio flat. I currently pay just shy of £1000 a month rent for a two-bed house, which I share, but even if I move out of the area, forcing me to commute further to work, I still won’t make much of a saving. 

My family members have said they would be happy to contribute money to pay rent, but I’m incredibly reluctant to take this as they should not have to fund me on top of my full-time employment just to be able to afford to live. 

I can undoubtedly kiss any fantasy of having a nice flat and a pet cat goodbye unless the lengthy process of passing the Renters (Reform) Bill into law goes through. Despite the drop in inflation, the cost of living is still increasing, and those of us who struggle to save will still only aspire to get onto the housing ladder and out of the cycle of private renting. I wish it weren’t the case, but if we keep pushing for changes and resisting poor qualities, hopefully, people will have better private rental conditions in the future.

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Individual Advice

Generation Rent can’t offer advice about individual problems. Here are a few organisations that can:

You might also find quick but informal help on ACORN’s Facebook forum, and there are more suggestions on The Renters Guide.