VIDEO: Meet The Girl Who Lives On A Mezzanine

It's the first in our series of Cribs 2.0 – capturing the real way young women are living in the UK today


by Kieran Yates |
Published on

What was most striking about meeting Rachel who has found herself living on a friends mezzanine in a make-shift bed on the floor was how common her experience was. Perhaps not everyone has found themselves sleeping on a friend’s landing, but the concept of having a ‘stop-gap’ period in between places to rent has become increasingly popular as the housing crisis has amplified. A period of rent respite is all that enables twenty-somethings to financially prepare for the estate agents fees, deposits et al that are inevitably coming their way.

Why? Well the short answer is that the idea of ‘affordable housing’ is a total myth in the first place (to make this very clear, if you lived in a low-income area with a pocket of wealth, the local incomes of high earners would drive up the house prices for everyone, making them ‘affordable’ for said earners – just not for you). It’s now defined by the Government as housing where ‘eligibility is determined with regard to local incomes and local house prices’, rather than housing provided at a cost low enough for local people to afford – all of which basically means that low-cost housing appears to be slowly phased out, and in its place are sky-rocketing rents made up by landlords who can charge what they want.

Most days there is new information is released about the ‘Housing Crisis’, whether it’s the 25% increase of 20-34 years old living with their parents since 1996 or the fact that the average deposit has risen from £600 to £900 according to the Deposit Protection Service. To put that in perspective that's a 50% jump from 2007, when the average wage is up just 13% in the same time.

So, no wonder so many young women are finding themselves living in some strange set-ups – set-ups we decided to capture in this our new video series, Cribs 2.0. Today’s isn’t as eccentric as living on a houseboat because of their cheap rates, nor as anecdotal as becoming a property guardian, but it’s about the quiet understanding between friends that support from one another is a central aspect of renting. The idea of girls providing space for one another to boost each others personal economy was what drew us to this story about rent-breaks. While it appears seemingly normal to simply stay with a friend between houses, to stay with a friend so you can afford to rent a house is making a point about a shared understanding of personal economy and how to manage it.

The fact that young women are recognising the need within their peers and providing solutions is touching. The fact that the need exists is a damning indictment of where we find ourselves in a rental market that feels crippling, and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.

Follow Kieran on Twitter @kieran_yates

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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