GROWING numbers of young people in the Wee County now find themselves living in the private rented sector for longer periods of their lives – a situation that has been shown to have a negative impact on their wellbeing, and consequences for their mental health.

In a study for the UK Collaborative Centre for Housing Evidence (CaCHE), we carried out interviews with a group of people, aged under 35, renting private property in England and Scotland.

Recent reforms in Scotland mean that private renters in Clackmannanshire have more long-term security than those in England – where 80 per cent of new tenancies are initially fixed at between 6-12 months.

Once this break in the contract is reached, the landlord can ask the tenant to leave without giving any reason.

This insecurity makes it hard for young people to put down roots, make a home and build a future.

Having to move at short notice is not only stressful, but expensive. It undermines their social networks and the attachment they have to where they live. These connections are vital forms of support.

Tenants can also face significant letting agent fees and sizeable deposits every time they move. This is on top of whatever rental agreement they have for the property, and can run into thousands of pounds each time.

These costs add to young people’s money worries. Not all of them have family support to draw on for help, and some are in low-paid and insecure work.

Being asked by their landlord to move on, is something they always have to think about and budget for.

The cost of private renting in Clacks can also lead to young people having to share with others. This might be strangers they found via Gumtree or Facebook.

Whilst sharing helps keep down the cost of rent, it brings additional pressures. Some described how they felt judged when applying to be part of such a ‘sharing’ arrangement, and that rejection was hard to take.

For some, the challenges of finding a suitable property they could afford were impossible, and led to sofa surfing and other forms of homelessness.

Those in this situation spoke about how this made them feel depressed about their living situation.

For some young renters, especially those who are vulnerable and on low incomes, the market is clearly not working.