How to get a council house - definition of entitled?

(94 Posts)
Notcontent Wed 30-Apr-14 21:39:06

Just watching that show on channel four. Yes, I know, I shouldn't watch it but need some rubbish tv. Anyway, that woman Marilyn - really, why would she go on tv when she is obviously being so unreasonable. She has been offered a place to live but nothing is good enough for her. I know she is not representative of most people but in a minority. But annoying nonetheless.

I was buying a place a while ago. I quickly realised I couldn't afford the perfect house in the perfect location. So I ended up buing a really shitty house that ticked a few boxes because that's all I could afford. And I am very grateful.

WooWooOwl Fri 02-May-14 22:03:19

I was reading Buggerlugs!

TheBuggerlugs Fri 02-May-14 21:54:10

Getting on my soap box seems to have killed the thread blush

TheBuggerlugs Fri 02-May-14 20:02:30

Basically if you're over 18, single, childless, healthy, unable to afford a mortgage or high rent, and homeless you're pretty fucked, even more so if aged 18-35. Even if you have children you're still fucked.

I loved it when someone over 60 walked in for help, I could normally get them keys for a nice property in a nice area within a week.

Age restrictions are also a major flaw in the system. Its assumed that if you're under 50 your likely to be a bad tenant.

TheBuggerlugs Fri 02-May-14 19:59:35

And every time housing associations try to build more properties NIMBYs come out in masses, I see it all the time.

Also the funding / loans they get to assist with building (they're non profit making) is linked to the Local housing Allowance rates which means that houses built in areas where the LHA is low will never be financially viable to build.

WooWooOwl Fri 02-May-14 19:59:28

It is a bigger problem than forcing mortgage lenders or landlords to take HB claimants, but it would fix the problem for enough individuals that it would be well worth doing IMO.

TheBuggerlugs Fri 02-May-14 19:56:39

Also it's worth pointing out that the council doesn't have a duty to house anyone.

Under the Housing Act 1996 part 7 there is a duty to offer advice and assistance to anyone and temporary accommodation to anyone it has reason to believe may be homeless and in priority need.

Following a full homelessness investigation if a person is found eligible, unintentionally homeless, in priority need and with a local connection the duty to provide temporary accommodation is made formal and can only be discharged on the offer of suitable permanent accommodation. This is why allocation policies give extra points/ bands to some people and until recently councils could only discharge the duty to an assured tenancy, I.e. social housing so a person could sit in temp accommodation for years and years despite there being perfectly good private rented available. Thankfully this law has changed but sadly so has the local housing allowance rules.

BillyBanter Fri 02-May-14 19:54:32

How are the council meant to magic up 'help' for people?

It's a bigger problem than forcing mortgage lenders or landlords to take HB claimants although that would be a start. We need more council housing. We need more housing for people to buy and occupy themselves.

It's not the councils that make major housing policies that result in the situation we have now.

TheBuggerlugs Fri 02-May-14 19:51:15

I used to work as one of those housing workers that were shouted and sworn at and have seen it all:

An 85 year old thrown out by her sons wife; 16 year old girls getting pregnant intentionally to get a house; alcoholics the same age as me (20s) with severe liver problems; care leavers; marital breakdowns; asylum seekers etc etc.

Some had VERY unrealistic ideals of what they were 'entitled' to despite never working or intending to work. Others thought they'd won the lottery when I got them a flat in the worse area of the borough.

The housing situation is a total mess and the media does nothing but feed the sense of entitlement people have because otherwise the nasty foreigners will come and take it.

Look at the current UKIP campaign, the foreigners are coming for your jobs......erm what about all the brits going abroad to work?! Oh yeah, they're allowed as they're entitled. Silly me.

WooWooOwl Fri 02-May-14 19:42:08

I agree that the major problem with his situation was that few private landlords will accept people on HB, which is just wrong.

This is a huge problem, and I find it incredibly frustrating when it's something that could be improved massively just by changing legislation. It doesn't have to cost loads of money that the government doesn't have. But at the moment private landlords are reluctant to accept housing benefit because they struggle to get insurance at all, or they have to pay significantly more expensive premiums. The insurance wouldn't be so expensive or hard to get if councils didn't advise tenants to stay in accommodation until they are evicted by bailiffs, sometimes months after they have last paid rent. If they helped people that genuinely needed help as soon as their tenancy ended instead of forcing landlords to go through the hassle and cost of eviction, then landlords wouldn't be so reluctant to take HB claimants, and there would be more housing available for them.

But it goes round in a viscous circle.

I had a thread about it a little while ago, it massively pisses me off as a landlord who would happily take HB claimants if it wasn't going to cost me so much extra in time, money and risk. Councils could remove the barriers and solve the problem for tenants and landlords alike.

theresnowheretohidewithachip Fri 02-May-14 19:03:45

If Marilyn was just being hyper-picky and entitled then I do think she was totally unreasonable to have turned down 3 properties and then say she should be given what she wants. But like others have said, I suspect she has MH or other difficulties that make it hard for her to make the best choices or to compromise. Knowing the scarcity of housing, to not even go to a viewing, doesn't make sense.

Steve did seem so vulnerable. I agree that the major problem with his situation was that few private landlords will accept people on HB, which is just wrong.

People should be able to stay where their roots are, but when demand is so high and rationing of properties is so tight, I don't think it is feasible any more. I lived in a lovely house before my divorce. I was homeless afterwards and am now in a 1 bed HA flat in a totally different area to where I lived before. It's not where I'd choose to live, but have had to accept if I can't afford private rental properties then sadly, I don't get to have the choices I'd like to have.

Also think that if you can't afford a huge family then you may have to accept that you're going to have to have a smaller one. It's sad but it's a decision that people are increasingly having to make.

medic78 Fri 02-May-14 18:04:43

So if you are lucky enoughto be in social houses you are unable to have more children as you are housed according to your needs. In that case I would never have been born. Yes, I am 1 of 7 and grew up in a council house but my parents always worked.

misselphaba Thu 01-May-14 21:38:53

The pp who mentioned poor ppl having no agency over their lives hit the nail on the head.

I think there's a big difference between choosing to move away to take up career/educational opportunities and being forced into it. It's a hugely frightening prospect, especially when you're already in the unenviable and often humiliating position of traipsing up to join the endless queue at the council offices in order to beg the housing officer for a home. The housing dept of my local council employs a number of security guards and for good reason -its an awful, intimidating place to wait and I dont envy anyone that has to do it and when youre waiting for council accommodation you do it a lot.

I live in an outer London borough and I don't suppose the inner London ones are any better.

However, moving out of borough isnt anything new. Councils have always relocated ppl to houses outside of the borough. I know pensioners who were moved from inner to outer London boroughs when they were starting out. There were happy to leave as they were moving to start new lives, in new houses with actual gardens with space for their families to grow. Theres whole estates in towns just outside London which were built almost entirely to take the overspill from outer London. I think a big difference is that relocation was once sold as moving for a better life in a nicer area with more opportunities and for the most part that was probably true. That just isn't true anymore. People are moving from one shitty, damp flat to another and losing family/friends/school/work to boot.

Pipbin Thu 01-May-14 20:40:07

I agree Barbarian I'm from the West Country and would love to move back there, but there is no way I could begin to afford a house in my home village because it's full of people from London now.

Not that I'm saying people should be forced to move, but some of us have no choice.

BarbarianMum Thu 01-May-14 20:35:00

I don't like cordoning off certain cities for the rich either (and I don't think the rich would like it either cause who'll wait on them?).

HOWEVER dh and I are both from the south east and left (independently) as young adults cause we couldn't afford to live there. This was 20 years ago. It's nothing new, and it doesn't by any means just affect those living in council accommodation. There is no automatic right to live in the area you were raised and where your family are for anyone.

To a certain extent council's should provide more housing but the south-east is already massively over-populated and you can't concrete over every square inch of it to provide homes (subsidised or otherwise) for everyone who wants to live there. Perhaps if the country's wealth was spread a bit more evenly people would be happier about the prospect of moving.

And I do think programmes highlighting these types of issues should be made. <gets off soapbox>

BillyBanter Thu 01-May-14 20:31:40

I'm not sure why/how moving somewhere else = better life for themselves and their children.

Are they going to be moved to some Utopian paradise with decent homes and full employment that has somehow evaded my attention?

you're poor so you're allowed no agency over where you live. We're going to move you to Stoke where you have as few employment chances as you do here so can't even afford to visit family.

Sicaq Thu 01-May-14 20:15:44

I still don't see why people are reluctant to stay put and not accept a better life for themselves and their children. London property is unaffordable to most people now.

I've reluctantly had to relocate numerous times for work, so I am willing to do it. BUT I have a major problem with the idea of cordoning off any city for the uber-rich. Telling those earning the average wage (because even average, let alone low, wages won't keep you in London in any decent accommodation) to just evacuate and let the rich carry on without you is actually quite a disturbing idea to me. Where will that end?

BillyBanter Thu 01-May-14 20:07:04

A girl at school was one of 6. they didn't have much. An interesting outcome of that is she has 12 kids.

Preciousbane Thu 01-May-14 17:27:33

Rebel I have no idea. I am one of six. We grew up with naff all tbh and an interesting outcome of this is we all have small families.

Rebelwithoutapplause Thu 01-May-14 16:21:04

Why do some people continue to have children beyond what they can reasonably afford to care for?

I agree with the points made regarding selective editing, however the underlying issue of a percentage of people having large numbers of children with an expectation of the state caring for them is valid. Too many on the programme seem to be saying, I'll do what I want, when I want and where I want.

I cant see any major changes until there is a general change in attitude from what society can do for me to what the individuals responsibilities are to society.

BillyBanter Thu 01-May-14 15:40:34

Doesn't change the facts about housing stock though and the expectation of a right to life-long housing which I think anyone can see is no longer realistic

It's as realistic as any other scenario providing there is the political will.

It's not inevitable that anyone on low income will have to leave London either, not if the political will is there to change it.

And again policies could be changed on BTL re HB etc.

What is happening now isn't a force of nature. It's a consequence of lots of decisions made by people other than Marilyn or Steve.

Forago Thu 01-May-14 14:30:53

I have been interviewed many times, yes. This program was clearly designed to show the approaching housing crisis so they will have specifically chosen very entitled cases, sure. Doesn't change the facts about housing stock though and the expectation of a right to life-long housing which I think anyone can see is no longer realistic.

expatinscotland Thu 01-May-14 13:48:39

She did not want a one-bed, she wanted a two-bed. House. With garden. And it appears, yes, she wanted it in London. From the council.

Would have been far more doable if she'd bought the thing back when she had a big discount and then flogged it on the open market.

shirlynot Thu 01-May-14 13:45:26

There is already a specific exchange scheme for people who want to move to the country/seaside - she would have been more likely to get a house that way. I wonder if she was aware of it, and why the council staff didn't mention it? But I also assumed she wanted to stay in TH, if she lived there all her life and raised a family there then she must have a lot of ties in the area. I think that if she was prepared to move out of the area (even to another part of London), she would have had a better chance of getting that house she wanted. Council houses are rare in London but if she downsized right from a 3 bed to a 1 bed she could well have found a suitable exchange partner. But getting an exchange means being proactive and contacting people yourself, and she just expected the council to offer something directly.

seaside.housingmoves.org/seaside-country-homes.htm

expatinscotland Thu 01-May-14 13:23:00

Don't understand why Julie had never bought that maisonette. She could have sold it and easily bought a small cottage by the sea with the proceeds.

YoureBeingASillyBilly Thu 01-May-14 13:07:11

"all the "because I deserve it" got a bit wearing I have to say"

I will bet you all the bacon in my fridge that every single one of those "i deserve it" comments were in direct response to the camera man/ investigater asking "do you think you deserve this property" that was edited out to look like all these people were running round saying they deserved it. Guarantee it. Have you ever given an interview for a newspaper/ newsreport? I have, and the reporter had an agenda that i knew about, which is the reason i was sought out to give the interview- every single question was leading i.e; "in your opinion is it very likely to happen again?" "Would you agree that children's lives are at risk?" When reading the article- it looks like those were spontaneous comments i had offered up rather than the one word "yes" answers i actually gave.

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