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To really not understand the logic behind "lifetime tenancies"

(148 Posts)
DrinkFromMyFountain Mon 02-Sep-13 17:31:48

Please correct me if I'm wrong but I am under the impression that once you get a council house you effectively get a lifetime tenancy and (provider you can pay the rent) you can stay in that house for life. I am also aware that council house rents are often well below market rates.

This strikes me as very unfair because obviously people's circumstances can change, and one could say, get a substantial pay rise or get married to a higher earning partner who then moves into the council house. I know housing benefit would stop under these circumstances but they'd still be getting a cheap council house when the didn't really need it.

Toughtimes30 Tue 03-Sep-13 22:50:09

A lot of councils are now offering flexible tenancies or 5 year tenancies which are reviewed to see if they still need the property, makes better use of the housing stock

grumpyoldbat Tue 03-Sep-13 23:34:37

What have I done to people to make them want me to lose my home? I'm working hard to get on a more stable financial footing. If I succeed, why do I deserve to be punished for that?

Long term I'd like to buy a place one day but that will take a lot of saving and it may be too late by then.

noobieteacher Tue 03-Sep-13 23:45:22

Lifetime tenancies are a great idea - but lifetime rent is not. Rent should change as income increases. This will provide money to build more council homes. We are lining the pockets of the wealthy in some cases.

Lifetime tenancies bring stability to communities and overall that reduces the cost to the state.

Wonderstuff Tue 03-Sep-13 23:52:07

Thing is grumpy unless you are clever enough to have spent your twenties saving hard for a deposit, or have parents who've worked super hard and have a spare few grand to give you, and now own a property you don't deserve a home. Count yourself lucky you have a roof over your head. Only homeowners are entitled security.

I think that the government should give private tenants more rights to stay in thier homes, build more property and raise inheritance tax.

grumpyoldbat Tue 03-Sep-13 23:58:49

I know wonder I constantly feel guilty for existing. I know it's wrong but I long to be a proper human being and get sick of apologising just for being.

BTW my Dad did leave me a deposit, I saved and bought a house. Didn't even give into advertising pressure and go for a more expensive place. Still lost everything. Having experienced homelessness once I'm in no hurry to experience it again. Just because it's true doesn't mean it's not upsetting for people to go on about how I deserve to be homeless especially people who I've done nothing to hurt.

Wonderstuff Wed 04-Sep-13 00:16:05

It's not personal. They don't know you, they have a small existence where they mix almost exclusively with others lucky clever enough to be home owners. The Tories have done such a great job diverting attention away from the super rich tax avoiders and blaming the countries ills on the poor.

MistressDeeCee Wed 04-Sep-13 01:27:35

^ Exactly.

Its frankly scary how easily diversion tactics work,then again many love a scapegoat, as they say. Constantly seeking to kick those they deem to be lower than them on the social strata (not that they'll admit that) is their scornful feelgood factor.

Benefits bashing, social housing bashing..so much mileage in these thinly veiled poor/working classes bashing topics. God forbid we should wonder how much MPs expenses & hugely underoccupied 2nd residencies are costing the taxpayer. They're entitled, you see

Whatever next..? Should we give private landlords & the rich the right to build large scale workhouse units for the poor, & to charge market rents for these..?

Ericaequites Wed 04-Sep-13 02:40:48

Lifetime tenancy in the same house is unreasonable for tenants who do not own the home in question. Older persons with no children at home should not occupy big houses. People who are making more money can't expect to stay in subsidized housing. Rent control only makes housing problems worse.
I feel for landlords. Tenants often treat the places they rent poorly, and landlords have to pay for repairs. They give all sorts of excuses as to why they can't pay, but the mortgage is due at the same time every month. Most landlords would like to keep good tenants, as reletting to new people costs even more.

Ericaequites Wed 04-Sep-13 02:41:08

Should not expect- I meant

JakeBullet Wed 04-Sep-13 06:08:28

A council house is not subsidised. ....it has already paidfor itsitself.

Councils don't receive funding to keep rents low. They set their own rents.

HAs DO receive some subsidies for building affordable homes. .....they also build homes for sale. Again once the property is paid for it makes profit.

Far cheaper if the tenant needs HB than paying twice the amount in private rent.

gamerchick Wed 04-Sep-13 07:08:28

That's the problem... people thinking council houses are subsidised and obviously being told they are not is a bit like nutting the wall.

It's well scary how well those in charge have got the drones stamping on the heads of those deemed beneath them.

Trills Wed 04-Sep-13 08:16:43

Different definitions of the word "subsidised" clearly.

Council houses are let out at lower rents than they could be. That missing money could be put to use doing other useful things.

If council tenants were charged a means-tested amount from zero up to current market rent then the council would make more money from the rent of those houses, and that money could be given in housing benefit to private renters on low incomes, to make the gap between people in council houses and those not in council houses a little less unfair.

WafflyVersatile Wed 04-Sep-13 08:59:50

Or the market is out of control. Private rents are unaffordable.

Wallison Wed 04-Sep-13 09:12:55

Trills, what you are suggesting is that council tenants give over money to private landlords. Madness.

And council housing is not subsidised - private renting is, through housing benefit, by billions every year. Council tenants aren't costing the taxpayer money; private landlords are.

williaminajetfighter Wed 04-Sep-13 09:13:03

1. I think when people say the housing is subsidised they mean, and certainly I did, that rents are not related to market rates and often lower therefore subsidising the individual paying for it. Is everybody happy with a system where some people get special low rates for rent and the rest of the working drones out there have to pay market rates for rents and mortgages?

2. I never conflated the cost of housing with welfare spending. I was merely stating that the govt is broke, social spending has reached an all time high as has spending in other areas. The UKs debt is bonkers. I know and don't care that pensions constitute a large part of 'welfare spending'. I know a large portion of LA spending is on pensions.

So even though we have to cut spending you want a massive program of social housing building? So more people and another generation can think it's normal to go to the govt for all their needs including housing?

What I'm hearing is that the utopia is a world of zillions of new state owned affordable homes which would house all those people who are currently topped up with Hoising Benefits therefore saving govt spend in that area. And lifelong tenancies to create long term stability and communities. Lovely. Please explain economics of this on back of a fag packet. Would love to see someone on MN do the figures.

Portofino Wed 04-Sep-13 09:14:39

I rent in Belgium. We have a 9 year lease which is the standard. The landlord can only give us notice (6 months) if he wants to live in the property himself. We have to maintain the property ourselves (apart from the structural stuff) and give it back in the state we found it. It is SO much more stable. Our house IS our home.

Wallison Wed 04-Sep-13 09:20:29

Yes but williamina, private renting is actually subsidised, according to the true meaning of the word, in that the taxpayer is paying out money for it. A lot of money. Council houses aren't costing the taxpayer money - they pay for themselves.

mrsjay Wed 04-Sep-13 09:24:20

lifetime tenacies are like hens teeth these days and why should people keep them if they have them why do they need to buy a house just because people think they should, Social housing may have changed but it is social housing, before I bought my house I had a lifetime tenancies, we were just lucky to afford where we live not everybody has that,

JakeBullet Wed 04-Sep-13 09:32:42

As portofino says, the situations with regard to private renting in Europe is much better than here. It is also affordable, ie: the market rent is affordable from the income through work.

Many many people here cannot afford a basic roof over their head without going to the Govt for housing benefit. In other cou trie this does not happen as even ordinary jobs pay enough for someone to house themselves.

We don't do that here.

So we either have to accept that housing benefit goes to private landlords at a much higher rate than it would cost to use social housing or we raise incomes to ensure people CAN pay for housing without Govt input OR we embark on a project of social house building.

I agree that the term "subsidised" can cover many meanings

I have been in the enviable or unenviable position of having been in all sectors. I had the mortgage, I have privately rented and even been a private landlord (no rent paid to me and it took 10 months to get the tenants out during which they trashed the place) and am now in social housing after a marriage breakdown and being the Carer of a disabled child.

Twenty years ago I never really considered social housing, but when I was in the depths of despair I was more grateful than I can say that it was there for me.

We cannot maintain things as they are ....so we need action to either raise wages to a level where people can afford housing without benefits, or we need to cap rents or we need social housing.

We cannot just say "if you can't afford a roof over your head then there's a railway bridge a mile up the road.....oh and here's some rugs".

What do other countries do? Do they leave people to just live on the streets?

All I know is that I am PROUD to live in a country where we don't do that. Our Country is founded upon the principle of supporting the most vulnerable and we should take some pride in that because a fall can happen to any one of us.

JakeBullet Wed 04-Sep-13 09:42:07

I don't think on the whole that British people DO go to the State for everything. We have a State school system and a National Health Service but many people can live without claiming tax credits, income support etc.

I managed for a very long time with nothing in the way of benefits as I earned a good salary. Most of my colleagues were in the same boat too....none of us needing to claim because we bought property when prices were low and mortgages were easily obtained.

It is now completely different and there is such a demand for housing that private rents have increased as have house prices. It is nigh in impossible for "normal" people to get a mortgage now without a very hefty deposit.....not easy to save if you also have to privately rent while you do so.

So the demand for social housing has increased.

Personally I would like to see more in the way of Shared Ownership properties for people. They seem to offer the best of both worlds and the tenant has a stake in the home. This makes home ownership much more affordable for a greater number of people and is usually cheaper than privately renting.

Chunderella Wed 04-Sep-13 10:35:30

The claim that even council tenants who are paying as much and more as their accommodation actually costs to maintain are subsidised rests on the argument that the property would rent for more on the open market. This is flawed, because we don't have anything close to a free market for housing. If a council or HA tenant is paying the entire costs of their accommodation then they're not subsidised. They may even be actively subsidising others, if they pay in rent more than their accommodation and share of the HAs running costs. And it's not like the HA or council is going to be able to rent them on the open market anyway. Such tenants are lucky, not subsidised.

Don't worry though, attempts are being made to drive rents up further and further towards private sector levels. So we won't have this thorny problem in a few years!

Callani Wed 04-Sep-13 13:21:10

The fact of the metter is that if people know that they'll be kicked out of their house the moment their situation changes then they're not going to look after their house very well, pay for upkeep etc

However I completely understand that it grates when people can be earning a signficant amount of money (think Bob Crow on £145k) and be living in a council house.

For me, it's not that these people are costing the council money (because they usually aren't) it's because they are essentially blocking up a house that someone needs desperately and that strikes me as unfair.

Of course, if councils had actually reinvested the money from council housing into building more houses we wouldn't be in this mess!

It would probably also help if there were decent rental controls on private landlords so that the choice wasn't
a) A 3 bedroom council house in central London for £150 / week
b) A privately rented squat in a garage in some God forsaken hellhole for £200/week <--- and I did actually see one of these looking for a house a couple of years back!

Not sure what the answer is, but don't think the situation would be helped by shoving out loads of people just above a maximum earnings threshold - you'll just end up shoving up private rents again.

Portofino Wed 04-Sep-13 18:49:28

Yes the system here would totally deter anyone in it for a quick buck. 9 year leases tend to mean either stable long term investors, or people renting out property that they have inherited. The redecoration is amortised over the 9 years. The rent can only increase by indexation also.

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