‘All I want is security’

Robert is a 36-year-old performing arts teacher. He been a renter since his university days. He lives with his girlfriend in a house which he rents from a family member.



I’ve never lived in one place for longer than two years.

Rent has always been my single biggest expense. Without a windfall, I resigned myself to the fact that I would never be able to buy anywhere.

I’m renting my current place from a family member for a good rate in order to save enough for a deposit to buy the house from them at some point.

Despite my earnings being good, rent prices meant that I’ve often lived in less than salubrious areas. I have burgled three times. Finding somewhere close to work, affordable and safe is difficult.

I was made redundant in 2009 but I couldn’t use my redundancy pay for housing as there weren’t any home ownership schemes that would help an unemployed single person get on the ladder.

I retrained as a teacher and this meant that I’d need move somewhere much cheaper. I could only afford teacher training by combining it with working in a school.

If I had more money, I would have pursued a more artistic career. My current career and the choices I’ve made have been driven by my desire to build something stable so that at some point I can do something I really want to.

I don’t feel like I’ve ever had a choice when it comes to finding somewhere to live. I’ve never felt like I could pursue any option outside Yorkshire where my parents offer security.

I’ve not really been on a holiday for the past seven years, because there is no money for that level of leisure.

Worrying about my housing situation has been a burden on my relationships with people, especially with my partner. I have felt judged by friends and family because of the quality of my accommodation.

The fact that my relative is renting to us cheaply means that that hopefully within the next six months the deposit will be down for this place.

Shelter gives free, expert housing advice if you are thinking about buying a home.

We also campaign to end the housing crisis.

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