To take a bigger council house than we need?

(1000 Posts)
isthisunreasonable Tue 15-Jan-13 10:11:02

Have namechanged for this as it's pretty obvious who I am if you know me...

We currently have a two bedroom house (3 children) and we can fir just about but it's a squeeze. We are "entitled" (cringe) to a 3 bed house but it's likely to be 4-5 yrs by the time we would be offered one so placed our details on the Housing Association's "mutual exchange" site. We have also said we are happy to take a 2 bedroom house with separate dining room to use as the 3rd bedroom.

Have been contact by someone via our housing association's "mutual exchange" list. They have a large 4 bed house with a dining room and massive garden and they want to downsize (older couple all kids left home) and would like our house.

Given that is is bigger than we actually need . Part of me thinks it should go to a family with 5/6 kids but part of me thinks this couple are looking for a mutual exchange to downsize to a 2 bed house, what's the chance of them fining such a large family in a 2 bed house that they want.

It would be fabulous for us of course, lots of space for everyone, kids could have their own bedrooms and a nice big garden to play and we wouldn't have to move again when we have more children (planning another 1 or 2 in next 5 years perhaps).

Would we be unreasonable to accept it?

DSM Tue 15-Jan-13 10:12:42

Is this for free?

MakeItALarge Tue 15-Jan-13 10:14:16

Would it cause problems with under occupying? As long as you can afford it go for it, no point holding out for a smaller one to have to move again in a few years.

But I am envy at your four bedrooms!

WorraLiberty Tue 15-Jan-13 10:14:16

If we all said YABU would you seriously say 'OK, I won't'?

It's your life and your family.

I thought HA and council were different though or am I wrong?

I don't know how this works tbh. Are you 'allowed' to take a house bigger than you 'need'?

Fluffy1234 Tue 15-Jan-13 10:15:20

So would you be giving up your right to buy?

LadyBeagleEyes Tue 15-Jan-13 10:15:36

It sounds perfect for you, I'd jump at it.
And with 3 children, it really isn't too big anyway, like you say, you've got 3 children with at least another planned.
Go for it.

Allonsy Tue 15-Jan-13 10:16:41

Im not sure they would let the exchange go ahead on either side as neither house is adequate for needs.

They won't allow you to change to a bigger house than you need (they don't here anyway), I'd ask the council first to see if they will accept the swap.

DSM Tue 15-Jan-13 10:17:47

I'm confused by this. How much more does it cost? If you can afford it then why not. If we could afford a 4 bedroom house, we'd get one. We'd also then be able to have more children, which we am can't just now as we can't afford to move from our 2 bed.

I don't get the post?

DSM Tue 15-Jan-13 10:18:46

But it's a 4 bed house? They have 3 children, how is a 4 bed house too big? hmm

Is this a free house, is that the issue?

LadyBeagleEyes Tue 15-Jan-13 10:20:07

Up here, there is no right to buy an HA house.
And of course it isn't free confused.
It's an exchange which will suit all parties and perfectly legal.

LovesBeingWokenEveryNight Tue 15-Jan-13 10:20:10

Take it

It's because children have to sgare

isthisunreasonable Tue 15-Jan-13 10:21:16

HA and council are different but you can do a mutual exchange between council and HA easily (and the other way).

I have called and checked and yes we are "allowed" although the lady did tell me about the long waiting lists for 4 bed houses in this area (guilty). You are allowed 1 bedroom more than you need as a "spare room" and the dining room doesn't count as a bedroom.

Not for free DSM - People don't get given FREE houses smile

Not saying I am definitely going to decide based on a MN vote worral, but I am after opinions as I do feel in two minds and my partner and I feel guilty.

I have 4 kids and am not classed as overcrowded (even though I have no idea where my 18 month old is going to go when he leaves our room!)

The HA wouldn't allow me to have a 4 bedroomed house (not that there are any available), so I'm not sure they would allow you with 3 children?

Mumsyblouse Tue 15-Jan-13 10:21:54

This isn't a moral issue, it's a practical one. Get onto the housing office and ask if they are fine with the swap, there's no point worrying about it until you know it can happen. If it can, great, 4 bed is one bed each for three children and one for you, hardly excessive and if it's what's available, go for it.

MolotovCocktail Tue 15-Jan-13 10:21:59

Sounds like a dream come true to me. We are a family of 4 in a 2 up, 2 down house, looking to pay £895-£950 per month in rent for a house we need (min 3 bed). DH has had to get a new job and even then it's gonna squeeze is financially.

Yep, offers like this only happen in my dreams. Take the swap, if you can!

Ah thats interesting, must be different rules.

Ah, then take it. The couple want your house, you need more room, so it seems fair enough tbh.

dancemom Tue 15-Jan-13 10:22:55

So you claim HB? If so you would be under occupying and come April your benefit would be deducted by 14��

I would take it. The older couple aren't obliged to downsize, and they probably won't if they don't find something they like so it's not like their house would go to someone else anyway.

dancemom Tue 15-Jan-13 10:23:31

That should be 14%

oldraver Tue 15-Jan-13 10:24:02

I'm not sure what the rules are on sharing but surely at some point it would be advantageous for all three children to have their own rooms ?

Fluffy1234 Tue 15-Jan-13 10:24:06

It's a chance of a lifetime , you will be happy, the older couple want your house. Definetely go for it.

isthisunreasonable Tue 15-Jan-13 10:24:36

Yeah, apparently different HA and councils have different rules. They told me the other big HA in this area doesn't allow "spare" rooms and classes separate dining rooms as anther bedroom so with them we'd only be "entitled" to a 3 bed house or a 2 bed house with a dining room (which we'd be perfectly happy and grateful for I will add). Although as the waiting lists are so long you'd think they'd crack down on the rules! hmm

Mumsyblouse Tue 15-Jan-13 10:24:36

Please don't feel guilty about taking the bigger house, much better a family with three children in it than a couple who want a smaller place anyway. I wouldn't worry about the long list either, the plain fact is unless this older couple move out to somewhere else, it won't be freed up.

It's lovely you have a conscience, but you will be paying rent and I don't really see the logic that says that because other people are overcrowded, you should remain so too.

Take it (you'd be silly not to).

DSM Tue 15-Jan-13 10:24:39

I totally don't understand this.

If you have to pay for it, then why are you asking? Do we all think you should buy a house with a bedroom for each child? Is that the question?

My parents live in a 5 bedroom house. There's only the two of them. What's the issue?

I think I'm missing something blush

ENormaSnob Tue 15-Jan-13 10:24:41

When does that extra bedroom tax thing kick in?

Presuming you will be paying more rent for the 4 bed?

Go for it .
They want yours , theirs sounds perfect for you

God, yes, I would go for it. Like you say, what are the chances the older couple are going to find a 5/6 child family in a 2 bed house that they want? The couple obviously like the area your house is in, happy with the way it's looked after, etc. As long as you can afford any extra costs that may come your way as and when the councils' change their housing rules, go for it.

Its a mutual exchange, the couple are going to exchange anyway rather than rent somewhere else and have a family from the waiting list take the house so why shouldn't you go for it since the council will accept it?

IfNotNowThenWhen Tue 15-Jan-13 10:26:02

Good God woman! Of course you take it. It's a swap. The couple you are swapping with want smaller, you need bigger (3 growing kids to a room is overcrowding) and it's not too big for you. It's not like you will have a spare room.
Congrats on your good fortune.

Free house for fucks sake. Presumably you will be paying rent.grin

orangepudding Tue 15-Jan-13 10:26:10

Do you claim HB, if so you will lose some of it due to having an extra room.

isthisunreasonable Tue 15-Jan-13 10:26:32

Oh yes Appleandblackberry I didn't think of that, as they are "older" they don't have to move and won't get charged the "bedroom tax" will they! Oh well that makes me feel a bit better about it all.

It really is such a big thing for us, I feel very excited actually!

Well we have 4 kids, 3 bedrooms and NO dining room, just small living room, small kitchen.

DH and I are in one room with DS in his cot, I have 2 boys with bunk beds in the other small double room and DD in the tiny, tiny, box room.

And we got a letter saying we were under occupied... apparently they have no record of my youngest 2 existing!

isthisunreasonable Tue 15-Jan-13 10:28:29

No, we don't claim HB as we work so pay our own rent (Def NOT a FREE house, unless anyone has one of those going?) smile

The rent around here privately is about £900 for a 2 bed house and about £1300-£1500 for a 4 bed. My current HA rent is £440 a month and this 4 bed is only £500 a month.

I really want it too (does that count) wink

Crawling Tue 15-Jan-13 10:30:20

Go for it and don't feel guilty just think how lovely it will be for your family.

YouOldSlag Tue 15-Jan-13 10:30:46

You will be mad to refuse.

Stop feeling guilty and bloody grab it with both hands. There are five of you altogether and therefore a 4 bed house for a growing family of five is not excessive or greedy.


millie30 Tue 15-Jan-13 10:30:56

Don't feel guilty, just do what is best for your family. When I got my HA house my banding was changed at the last minute and I leapt over someone else who wanted the house too. I felt guilty but then my mum reminded me my only priority was myself and DS. You didn't make the rules and it's not your fault there is a housing shortage. Go for it and enjoy your new home!

DSM Tue 15-Jan-13 10:30:58

So, how do HA houses work then? Do you have to go in a list or something?

I'd bloody love to only pay £500 a month - for a 4 bed! We pay over double that for a 2 bed!

Sorry, I obviously know sod all about HA. blush educate me!

Mumsyblouse Tue 15-Jan-13 10:31:45

For an extra £60, wow, I'd be on the phone arranging it asap. There's nothing to feel bad about, your children need the room, the other couple need a smaller place to manage, I would say yes immediately (in case someone else sees this great offer!)

orangepudding Tue 15-Jan-13 10:32:07

Go for it! As others have said it's unlikely they will find someone in a 2 by bed with 4 or more kids to swap with.

Lovethesea Tue 15-Jan-13 10:33:00

Go for it, sounds a great thing for you all as a family.

Go for it and don't feel guilty. Apart from anything else, you will need the space soon if you don't now - your DC may be happy sharing whilst they're little, but if they're anything like mine, when they get a bit older they will want/need their own space.

shock at the cost of renting BTW...

Another reason to definitely go for it!

IfNotNowThenWhen Tue 15-Jan-13 10:34:25

I am confused about this HB thing.
So....I have one child. If I find a 3 bed which is actually cheaper than a 2 bed (quite likely actually since the ex-council houses round here tend to be 3 bed) would I be penalised by them taking some of my HB off me?
That makes no sense!
(sorry about hijack OP, although now you have told me how cheap your rent is I am actually officially not speaking to you!)

PandaOnAPushBike Tue 15-Jan-13 10:35:37

If you are seriously bothered about it, talk to the HA and see if they want to engage in a 3 way swap. Someone off their waiting list to the 4 bed, you into their 3 bed and the other exchanging couple into yours. Can't see why they wouldn't jump at it.

MoodyDidIt Tue 15-Jan-13 10:35:56


go for it you jammy cow envy

IfNotNowThenWhen Tue 15-Jan-13 10:36:03

My rent is more than what I would pay for a 100k mortgage badtaste. And no way in hell would I qualify for a 100k mortgage. It's mental how high rent is.

Thingiebob Tue 15-Jan-13 10:36:22

If you are allowed to, then do it.

LegoAcupuncture Tue 15-Jan-13 10:36:24

Take it. You'll not be overcrowding I as you have three DC and it sounds ideal.

I live in a council house, pay full rent etc. It has nothing to do with anyone else if you claim HB or not.

crikeybill Tue 15-Jan-13 10:36:41

Take it I would.

Just remember to pay it forward and give it up to a family in need when YOUR children leave.
That way social housing is working as it should.

Sigh...we've got 5 of us in a 2 bed if anyone fancies swapping sad

WeAreEternal Tue 15-Jan-13 10:37:53

Take it, it sounds perfect for you.

HeathRobinson Tue 15-Jan-13 10:39:33

I can't see that it's too big for your family as it is. 3 kids with their own bedroom and you and dp with yours. Nothing wrong with that, imo.

Also, it also suits the couple you're going to exchange with.


Go for it! Of course you should.

It's a swap, they want a smaller house, you want a bigger house, averyone benefits!!!

Go for it! smile

It isn't bigger than you need. It's a house that is adequate for your family and for the children you would like to have and can support. Take it and thank your lucky stars grin

16052013 Tue 15-Jan-13 10:45:03

Sometimes I think it would be so marvellous to live in social housing.

A separate bedroom for every child, a massive garden, and the opportunity to plan for extra children even though you have three already.

It's a good idea some of us are working hard in a recession to subsidise your housing association.

You have three kids, and plan another two in the next few years.

Blimey. I wish I were you.

But, I guess, if I qualified for a council/HA house, and did not really have to worry about paying market rate rent/mortgage, then I too could afford 5 kids.

Lucky you. Go for it, you are after all planning to be a family with 5 kids.

shesariver Tue 15-Jan-13 10:45:57

Dancemom why the assumption they claim HB, not everyone whol lives in council/ha houses do you know. Further post by Op has shown they pay full rent so under occupancying rules wont apply. I dont get this either though and must be missing something to - a couple with 3 children and a 4 bedroom house - how is there a spare room? confused

JakeBullet Tue 15-Jan-13 10:46:19

DSM, dont know if anyone has answered you. HA provide social housing in the same way that coubcils do. They are self funding (as far as I know) and their rents are higher than council housing.
Usually you have to be nominated to them but not always. I am in a 2 bed HA house and got it as DS is autistic. I pay £400 a month for this but can remember being in your position and paying huge amounts more in the private sector. sad .

crikeybill Tue 15-Jan-13 10:46:49

How do you even get on a housing list if you are both working ?

Genuine question BTW.

isthisunreasonable Tue 15-Jan-13 10:47:41

It's a good idea some of us are working hard in a recession to subsidise your housing association

Both my partner and I work and we don't claim ANY benefits at all. So what's your point? Or just a bit envy

LadyBeagleEyes Tue 15-Jan-13 10:48:07

Jealous much, 16052013?
Anyone can go on the list you know.
Why didn't you? You might have one by now

IfNotNowThenWhen Tue 15-Jan-13 10:49:01

You don't need to be unemployed to go on the housing list!
Anyone can go on the list where i live. I am entitled to a 2 bed place. I won't get one as the list is too long, and we have no special needs, but I am on there!

WorraLiberty Tue 15-Jan-13 10:49:13

I think the poster's point was that you live in subsidised housing OP...not that you claim benefits.

16052013 Tue 15-Jan-13 10:50:23

Hosuing associations are NOT self-funding.

They are partially self-funded, but the capital costs to buy the land and build the houses come from taxes and, especially, council taxes.

The plan is for the rent to amortise the capital costs. I can't see that plan working, can you? It requires joined up thinking in successive governments, and for people to limit their expectations so they don't take up subsidised housing for longer than they need it.

My sympathies are all with private sector rental tenants, I'm afraid. HA should be a stopgap, not a way of life.

crikeybill Tue 15-Jan-13 10:50:36

Omg I privately rent as we can't afford a mortgage and I could weep at the amount of rent we pay.
£1200 for a 2 bed !!!!

Its never even occurred to me to try and get on a housing list. How does it work ?? I can't imagine we would be eligible ??

isthisunreasonable Tue 15-Jan-13 10:50:54

Crikey -I was eligible for social housing when I was younger and became a single parent and homeless both very suddenly due to some unfortunate (shit) circumstances (I worked then too, part time as my child was a baby still). I kept the tenancy as I went along, as they allow you to, and moved on from there when I met my now partner. Now we both work we are still allowed to keep or home and we do feel very lucky to have a home at such low rent.

shesariver Tue 15-Jan-13 10:51:42

pure why wouldnt you qualify for a council/HA house? You might have to wait a long time depending on the waiting lists of course. Why dont you put your name down now? But the tone of your posts dont suggest that by making the market rent comment, and I guess it wont be long before this thread descents into bashing council tenants who dont "deserve" their "cheap" housing rather than the fact private lets generally have inflated and overpriced rents in the first place. But I apologise if I have picked you up wrong, just seen it so much on mumsnet.

crikeybill Tue 15-Jan-13 10:51:59

Omg I privately rent as we can't afford a mortgage and I could weep at the amount of rent we pay.
£1200 for a 2 bed !!!!

Its never even occurred to me to try and get on a housing list. How does it work ?? I can't imagine we would be eligible ??

16052013 Tue 15-Jan-13 10:52:06

I am jealous. I'd love to have had the kind of life choices the OP has.

You know when people working full time are jealous of the life choices and housing choices available to those subsidised by the public sector that benefits and public subsidies (which is what housing associations are) have gone too far.

16052013 Tue 15-Jan-13 10:53:51

Private rents are high because the capital costs of buying land and building property are high.

If property developers had the luxury of taxpayers' money to subsidise their capital costs, rents for the private sector would come down very quickly because supply would increase dramatically.

MoodyDidIt Tue 15-Jan-13 10:53:52


read the Ops posts. the OP is NOT subsidised she pays full rent hmm

isthisunreasonable Tue 15-Jan-13 10:54:11

But 16052013 - We are working full time too, my past circumstances means I was offered (much needed) help in the form of a social housing tenancy and I have kept my tenancy since. Are you saying you think we should give it up and rent privately? But what if someone on social housing and NOT working moves into my house (god forbid) wouldn't that be even worse in your eyes?

JakeBullet Tue 15-Jan-13 10:55:07

I must confess to knowing buggar all about HA.

But my DS is autistic and this place IS "a way of life" for us. It helps me to know that he will always have a place he can call home. Especially as he may well face difficulties in the future.

The system upsets people so criticise the system and not those who are within it.......however fortunate you might think them.

16052013 Tue 15-Jan-13 10:56:40

"Now we both work we are still allowed to keep our home."

So you're preventing someone who is now in as bad a place as you were then from being housed?

HA accommodation should only ever be temporary. When your circumstances improve, you don't need subsidies from the taxpayer.

Matildaduck Tue 15-Jan-13 10:57:04

To be fair i wouldn't rush to jelous, the op will be renting this house, it's not hers and it might not be in an area that you would want to live.

I wouldn't want to live in socail housing.

I think she's mad to consider further children when she can only afford to rent.

Horses for courses and all that.

16052013 Tue 15-Jan-13 10:57:39

Moody I have read the OP's posts. Her HA "full rent" is half the market rent.

expatinscotland Tue 15-Jan-13 10:58:00

Take it! You're not 'depriving' anyone because it's a mutal exchange. The occupants won't move out without exchanging.

And if you're not on HB, you're not affected by the bedroom tax.

Don't feel guilty!

IfNotNowThenWhen Tue 15-Jan-13 10:58:44

"A separate bedroom for every child, a massive garden, and the opportunity to plan for extra children even though you have three already.
When social housing was invented in the 1930's that was the aim, yes. That ordinary "hardworking families" (to quote the current government) would be able to live in spacious, clean housing with space for a veggie patch and the kids to run around in the fresh air.
That was always the point. Social housing was never designed to be a race to the bottom for the dispossessed, or a social lottery for people who have been priced out of private rented accommodation.
It was always supposed to be there to give normal people a decent place to live.
Of course, now we no longer live in houses. We live in "properties", which makes us think that housing is no longer a right but a privilege.
It makes me want to weep.
I am paying over the odds for private rent. I will probably never get a council house, but I don't begrudge OP's luck. She is good people, paying her way, and paying a reasonable rent, rather than a rent that has been made unaffordable on a decent salary by a pumped up housing market and buy to let cowboy landlords like mine.

DSM Tue 15-Jan-13 10:59:00

But her full rent is less than half mine, and for a house twice the size of my flat.

It's not hard to see why people get annoyed.

So, can anyone get on these HA lists? Is there eligibility criteria? And are only certain houses available? If so, I assume these aren't in 'nice' areas, like council housing?

LegoAcupuncture Tue 15-Jan-13 10:59:00

Council houses are not subsidised! The rent is the standard rent, it goes up every year as well. Private rent is so high because of house prices. If landlords were not so greedy, private rent would be cheaper.

Not everyone who lives in a council house gets housing benefit you know. Some actually (shock horror) work for a living.

ANYONE can go on the housing list, you get allocated the house around your needs so may not get one straight away.

WorraLiberty Tue 15-Jan-13 10:59:03

Moody HA properties are subsidised by public money/taxes.

Sour grapes much, 16052013? The op and her dh are also working, so not quite sure what your point is. Keep taking those bitter pills and I'm sure you'll be just fine.

Hope the new house works out well for you and your family op!

expatinscotland Tue 15-Jan-13 11:00:06

HA is not 'subsidised'. It's that private rents are too high due to high mortgage costs for the BTL landlord.

LegoAcupuncture Tue 15-Jan-13 11:00:18

DSM my HA house is on a council estate, but it is a nice one. Not all council estates are horrible. And all estates have their old and bad points!

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16052013 Tue 15-Jan-13 11:01:01

Do you know any private landlords?

Most of them are renting out their own home in order to work elsewhere.

A very, very few make a profit. They tend to be people who have made adequate provision for their own retirement because THEY DON'T WANT TO LIVE OFF THE STATE.

Most of them are barely clearing yields of 4% in London because the capital costs are so high.

DSM Tue 15-Jan-13 11:02:23

lego I'm sure there are nice council estates in some places, there are some new build ones in my city that look nice but ultimately I wouldn't let DS walk to the bus stop in an are like that. Not would I feel comfortable walking alone at night.

LadyBeagleEyes Tue 15-Jan-13 11:02:45

What others have said, the problem isn't with HA or council rents, it's with the greedy landlords and property developers that make private renting so expensive.
That's what need to be tackled.

JakeBullet Tue 15-Jan-13 11:03:18

DSM, it depends oon the HA and the area. My HA has a certain percentage of properties allocated according to need so I got my house due to DS' s disabilities.

Most offer shared ownership though which might be cheaper than privately renting and does at least mean you have a stake in the property.

expatinscotland Tue 15-Jan-13 11:03:37

'But her full rent is less than half mine, and for a house twice the size of my flat.

It's not hard to see why people get annoyed. '

So you're angry with her and not a government which allowed massive speculation in property by individuals and a huge housing bubble to develop - which it still supports via low interest rates that penalise savers and pensioners? Really? Wow, those in power aren't so stupid, they've done a marvellous job of pulling the wool over most peoples' eyes and wagging the dog so those who are rightly to blame for the shite system that private renting is in this country escape it entirely.

Bogeyface Tue 15-Jan-13 11:03:53

They are not subsidised!

But equally, they are not mortgaged or "investment" properties. They were built to house people at an affordable level and thats what they do. There is no profit made, and thats why the rents are so cheap. Private landlords have to charge high rent to cover the costs of the their mortgages or simply because they can. Councils dont have to cover mortgages and their remit was always to provide affordability.

MoodyDidIt Tue 15-Jan-13 11:04:27

Moody I have read the OP's posts. Her HA "full rent" is half the market rent.

to 16052013

<yawn> can people not see that the "market rent" is TOO HIGH, not that HA / council is TOO LOW hmm

have said this so many times on here, bangs head against brick wall

and btw you would LOVE me, my rents 50 quid a month cheaper than the OP's and we are moving to another, bigger council house soon where its EVEN cheaper, and we are planning DC3 grin

(and before you get your knickers in an even bigger twist, we work as well and dont claim.)

Yeah, all landlords are milking it, arent they?
We did not make any profit when we rented out our home to live in Norway a few years to care for my parents. It cost more than we earned, in repairs and maintenance. From the rent received, we had to pay mortgage, and insurance, and estate agent fees, inventory fees, gas and electricity safety tests, plus repairing everything the tenants broke, be it chest of drawers, light pulls in bathroom, shelves in the flipping fridge, we paid £40 plus vat call out charge for every little screw that needed fixing, plus parts. Heck, repairing that one shelf in the fridge cost us almost as much as a new fridge!

(Not going to list the additional £20k worth of damages the first tenant caused, when she decided to trash the place before moving out, with rent arrears. )

expatinscotland Tue 15-Jan-13 11:04:53

'Most of them are renting out their own home in order to work elsewhere.'

Really? Where's the evidence and statistics that prove that? We rented privately for years. EVERY time it was someone who was a property developer or just had an extra place.

IfNotNowThenWhen Tue 15-Jan-13 11:05:27

For those who are jealous, most of you would not want to live on any of the HA estates round here. Not that they are awful, but they look slightly grim, and not remotely salubrious.
And of course HA housing should not be temporary. What about the stability of The Family (Cameron again)??
It's not great to have to keep moving your kids. That is one of the main reasons I would like social housing, to have some security and stabilty, since we have moved 3 times in 6 years.

MoodyDidIt Tue 15-Jan-13 11:05:40

So you're angry with her and not a government which allowed massive speculation in property by individuals and a huge housing bubble to develop - which it still supports via low interest rates that penalise savers and pensioners? Really? Wow, those in power aren't so stupid, they've done a marvellous job of pulling the wool over most peoples' eyes and wagging the dog so those who are rightly to blame for the shite system that private renting is in this country escape it entirely

and <applauds expat> for her last post (above)


expatinscotland Tue 15-Jan-13 11:05:46

I don't think they're all milking it, I think many have to charge what they charge because of vastly over-inflated housing prices.

McNewPants2013 Tue 15-Jan-13 11:05:48

I would take it.

mrsscoob Tue 15-Jan-13 11:05:54

You should go for it if you wish, you are doing nothing wrong it is a mutual exchange. Also don't let other posters somehow make you feel guilty as your rent is less than theirs. You are paying a fair rent. It isn't your fault that private landlords charge extortionate and unfair rents.

DSM Tue 15-Jan-13 11:06:24

Ah we looked at shared ownership when trying to buy but again, there were barely any in decent areas, most of them were in high poverty areas.

I assume I wouldn't be eligible, or if I had to join a list I would be far down near the bottom - given that we don't and never have claimed benefits, have no disabilities and have obviously managed to pay our rent for the past 4 years.

Seems.. Unfair? We'd love to have more children but can't afford a bigger property.

16052013 Tue 15-Jan-13 11:06:48

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DeWe Tue 15-Jan-13 11:07:42

I'd say that if you can afford it, and there's not going to suddenly be in 6 months' time HA going "hang on isthisunr, you're in too big a house, we have to move you out because we've got someone who needs this" then go for it.

But I would thoroughly check that you're not going to find yourself thrown out in a short time because moving back to children sharing is going to give them big arguements if they're used to their own rooms.

In this area, it's basically up to 3 children can share of the same gender, or children under 5yo. After age 5yo they are entitled to be only with the same gender. So if you've 3 girls they can be expected to share (ie 2 bed house), but if you have 2 girls, 1 boy, you'd get a 3 bed house once the boy hit age 5yo. (I think) But round here 3 beds are the really hard to get hold of ones. 2 bed and 4 bed aren't too bad, but they won't let you have one that's too big either.

Market rate is very much in proportion with mortgage rates that banks give. If anything, blame the BANKS, not landlords.

JakeBullet Tue 15-Jan-13 11:07:59

There is also the issue of reluctant landlords (for want of a better term) who have not been able to sell but needed to move. They then rent out their former house and havr to charge enough rent to cover the mortgage which might be high, management fees etc.

Of course if we are being picky we coukd say that they too have made a choice......but it does explain why the rent they charge might be high.

Bogeyface Tue 15-Jan-13 11:07:59

Shame you stay on full time, now that your circumstances have changed, and even plan on milking the system for all it is worth, getting another couple of kids that the HA (and the tax payer) is subsidizing, rather than give way for somebody else who is in need, like you once were.

What would you have her do? I would remind you that this is her HOME we are talking about and she has as much right to stay there as you do in yours. Just because she is in social housing doesnt mean that anyone has the right to kick her out so you can feel better about paying high rent!

And how exactly are her kids being subsidized? HA and council housing is NOT subsidized, it just isnt subject to the same market forces as the private rental market. Get your facts right before slagging someone off!

I think the issue here is that private rent should not be sky high.

Go for it op and don't feel guilty at all just enjoy your new home. smile

16052013 Tue 15-Jan-13 11:09:40

Private rent cannot be anything else but sky high whilst public money is spaffed on subsidising housing for people who are working and therefore don't need it.

Subsidise the private rental sector and you'll see rents for all fall very, very quickly.

expatinscotland Tue 15-Jan-13 11:10:11

This is a swap. This is not depriving a family in need and all that bollocks because the tenant of the 4-bed will not vacate the place unless there is a suitable swap.

This may be due to under-occupying.

This is an option if you are under-occupying and on HB and then the bedroom tax applies to you - to a) swap for another property b) go private (6 month contracts, really 4 months if served notice and I haven't had a 'longer tenancy' yes that didn't have that good ol' 2 months notice after 4 monts clause).

People bitch left and right about under-occupiers on MN (but conveniently forget that the vast majority of under-occupiers are pensioners, who are exempt from these new policies) but then when someone goes to do it, there are flames afoot.


DSM Tue 15-Jan-13 11:10:26

expat I didn't say I was annoyed at the OP - all I said (which you actually quoted and then misunderstood) was the its easy to see why people get annoyed.

And yes, it should be directed at the 'system', the government.. whatever. But it's also fair to direct it at those who abuse the system and make it even worse. Whether that be people staying in HA when they could afford not to, or landlords bumping up private rent.

I happen to know several private landlords (all through the one PL), and each and every one of them owns a minimum of two BTL properties which they charge over the odds for and are raking it in. I know ONE person (me) who had to rent out property to afford to live elsewhere, and admittedly, I gained zilch from this, lost out actually as couldn't cover costs and had to sell, almost at a loss. But to say that all PLs are in my position, is quite frankly, bullshit.

16052013 Tue 15-Jan-13 11:10:54

"HA and council housing is NOT subsidised...get your facts right."

WOW, ignorant of how public money works, much?

SignoraStronza Tue 15-Jan-13 11:11:03

Go for it! Local authority housing was meant to be for working families who would not otherwise be able to pay the market rental rate. Why on earth should you feel guilty?!

If Maggie hadn't sold all the council houses then this would not be an issue and there would be affordable housing for all.

IfNotNowThenWhen Tue 15-Jan-13 11:11:56

Of course not all LL are like Daddy Warbucks. The problem has been, though, the in the last 15 years "property" has been seen as a way to make fast money. As quintessence knows, it isn't.
It is also the fact the property prices got so insanely high, so if a LL only has one or two flats the rent has to be high to cover the mortgage.

The best LL I ever had was a builder who had maybe 15 places. Repairs were done, rent was reasonable, because he had held the property for years, and he never kicked anyone out as he like long term tenants.

My current LL won't do anything about the rising damp,and the mould, and I fix everything myself because he won't. He is making approx £300 a month profit from my rent-not loads, but not bad considering he does absolutely nothing.
I will never have an ameteur LL again.

Bogeyface Tue 15-Jan-13 11:12:19

we don't and never have claimed benefits, have no disabilities and have obviously managed to pay our rent for the past 4 years.

Your financial situation is irrelevant. If you are inadequately housed then you will be able to join the list, and eventually you will get enough points for a new house. However, if you are not inadequately housed then you wont, simple.

16052013 Tue 15-Jan-13 11:12:51

Lil Blonde How old are those other landlords you know who are making a profit. Approaching retirement age, I'll bet. THAT'S BECAUSE THEY HAVE TOO MUCH PRIDE TO LIVE OFF THE STATE.

And if they're making a profit, they'll be paying taxes. Good luck to them, I say.

If you want to buy an investment property on a buy to let mortgage, the bank will place demands such as "must be able to reach a rent of X in order to get a mortgage of Y" - Unless you put down a deposit of more than 50% of the value of the property, you are never going to get rich from letting a property, because the mortgage will almost swallow up all you get in rent.

This means two things.

On the one hand you have landlords such as me, who had to let the house for a period, and did not make any profit because the rent was used to pay mortgage.

On the other hand you have landlords who own a large number of flats, people and companies with a lot of cash to invest, and they are the only ones who make money.
1. They buy a property with a high deposit and small mortgage - so have an income from the rent.
2. They will at some point in the future be able to sell the property, and make profit based on a higher price than they bought for.

BUT these developers need to earmark some flats for HA and Part Ownership flats, which require cheaper rent and cheaper buy prices.
How do you think they fund this? Through their market rate flats.

I blame the Banks. Mostly.

expatinscotland Tue 15-Jan-13 11:13:09

'Private rent cannot be anything else but sky high whilst public money is spaffed on subsidising housing for people who are working and therefore don't need it.

Subsidise the private rental sector and you'll see rents for all fall very, very quickly.'

PMSL! So you shouldn't be 'subsidised', unless you're a private landlord, then you should get monies to pay that extra mortgage (which many already are via taking tenants on HB)?

Private rent is sky high because of a massive housing bubble that two successive governments allowed to occur, via dodgy lending practices, and continue to support via artificially low interest rates, despite inflation increasing. So, looking at it that way, all of us are subsidising the BTL landlord or the private landlord in general, via inflation. Not to mention savers and pensioners.

isthisunreasonable Tue 15-Jan-13 11:13:38

Oh I have no guilt about paying low rent. We are not greedy grabbing people at all. I was put in a very awful situation years back now and I was very fortunate to be helped by being given a social housing tenancy. I am not obliged to move at all, I was given this tenancy on the understanding that it was a home for life if I wanted it.

I understand why people dislike the way the system works but it's not my fault!

DSM...Where we are now is a nice area, non estate. We are very very excited about this exchange as the 4 bed house is in an even nicer and more rural area (nearby still) and is down a lovely country lane surrounded by fields and greenery. We feel very fortunate and will likely spend a fair amount of time and effort on the house and keeping it to a good standard so when the time comes for us to no longer need the big house we will pass it on for someone else to benefit from.

Just had an email from the other couple, they particularly want our house as it is near their son and grandchildren and ours is disabled adapted and the wife there has mobility problems, so they will be very happy here.

SkinnybitchWannabe Tue 15-Jan-13 11:13:54

If I were you I'd jump at the chance!
I've got 3ds all who have their own rooms now we converted our garage and it's great.
If you've got the opportunity for them each to have their own space take it...quickly!!

WorraLiberty Tue 15-Jan-13 11:14:39

Bogey it's swings and roundabouts really.

The rent isn't subsidised but millions of pounds of public money goes into the purchase of these homes. I guess that's why people think the HA's should be more careful about over housing and leaving a shortage of larger properties.

I don't have an opinion on the OP's situation either way...just explaining the subsidy thing.

DSM Tue 15-Jan-13 11:15:38

But we aren't inadequately housed because we pay a fortune in rent, and cut back elsewhere. We have never had another child because we can't afford a 3 bed.

If I got pregnant, would I get a HA house? And then we'd be at least £600 a month better off, just in rent?! Not to mention tax credits etc that we'd get for child 2.

Is this how it works?!

Bogeyface Tue 15-Jan-13 11:15:48

Private rent cannot be anything else but sky high whilst public money is spaffed on subsidising housing for people who are working and therefore don't need it.

Most housing benefit claimants are people with jobs, so yes, they do need cheap housing as moving out to private rented housing would actually cost the state more.

And yes I do know how public money works, probably more so than most thank you.

16052013 Tue 15-Jan-13 11:15:58

Damn I agree with you.

Selling off affordable housing stock has crippled this country. Labour costs are high because housing costs are high - it's why our manufacturing industry has shrunk so dramatically.

By taking up subsidised housing when you don't need it, you create hardship for other people who do.

JakeBullet Tue 15-Jan-13 11:16:27

We are also missing the fact that while the OP and her husband work they might not earn enough for private rent. The answer folks is much more investment in social housing.

For those of you bitching about unfairness I'd like to ask how many of you have parents, friends, aunts etc who benefitted from buying their council house at a vastly reduced sum? You might have even grown up in parents paid a pittance for their council house...a huge subsidy.

THIS coupled with the lack of reinvestment in replacing social housing lost is why we are now in this mess and why YOU are paying vast sums to rent a 2 bed flat instead of being able to go to the council and ask to go on the housing list knowing you would be housed.

LegoAcupuncture Tue 15-Jan-13 11:16:50

Why should the op give up a secure tenancy to rent privately and have to move her family around whenever the landlord decides so?

I have a council house, it has three bedrooms and adapted for my child with SN. I have three children. No way would I want to rent privately because the landlord wouldn't want to adapt their property and uprooting children every year or so isn't fair on the child.

ariane5 Tue 15-Jan-13 11:17:11

Go for it and enjoy your new home.

Ignore anybody on here who is being unkind it is either pure jealousy or ignorance.
A 4 bed will not be too big for your needs at all it will be lovely for your dcs to all have their own room.

Don't let anybody make you feel guilty, I recently made the mistake of posting on aibu about my circumstances re my 4 disabled dcs and our situation and was flamed.
A handful of people were lovely you just have to go with those ones.
All the best

IfNotNowThenWhen Tue 15-Jan-13 11:17:50

"Private rent cannot be anything else but sky high whilst public money is spaffed on subsidising housing for people who are working and therefore don't need it.

Subsidise the private rental sector and you'll see rents for all fall very, very quickly."

???Private rent is sky high due to interest rates being kept artificially low for years, and banks over lending for years. Any subsidies housing charities (which most HA are) get have no bearing on private rent being high.

Bogeyface Tue 15-Jan-13 11:18:31

Well you could certainly apply DSM, but as I said, your financial situation is not relevant. Unless it led to you being homeless in which case you would be a priority.

Having to pay high rent and cut back elsewhere is not a condition of qualifying. But 4 children in a 1 bedroom flat (say) would be.

Chunderella Tue 15-Jan-13 11:19:06

Crikeybill you just apply to the local housing association to go on the list. You are entitled to be on the list, but you may well be so far down the priority list that you've no chance of ever getting anything. but you can apply. And there's a misconception that working people can't get HA/council homes- actually, quite the opposite. There are some areas where applicants who are working get priority, and I know of one area where the rules are that 50% of new lets must be given to a household with someone in work. You may as well go on the list, it does no harm to be on it even if you've not much chance. You never know.

WorraLiberty what makes you say that HA accommodation is subsidised? Mine was built in the 1950s on cheap land, I should know since my great grandad and his mates built the estate and my great uncle did some of the plumbing! It has been paid for many times over since then. I pay £325 a month for a two bed, market rate being about £500 although there aren't many ex council two beds available for private rental locally anyway. And my home certainly doesn't cost the HA that: they run a small office, no maintenance has been done since we moved in. Nobody is subsidising me. I pay my way. there's a difference between paying less than the (colossally distorted) market rate and getting a subsidy.

I think the confusion regarding 'room taxes' is because people are mixing up HA/council tenants and housing benefit recipients. HB recipients in social housing soon won't get the full amount of their rent paid if they are under occupying, on the grounds that the state shouldn't have to pay for someone's spare room/s. But if OP is paying her own rent, HB is not an issue.

And yes OP, obviously take it. The alternative may be you crowding into your little house and the older couple rattling around in theirs, since they may not be able to arrange a suitable swap with anyone else for a while. there'd be no sense in that.

Babygruffalosmum Tue 15-Jan-13 11:20:25

My rent is crazy high but it's hardly your fault. Go for it and enjoy it. There's always people who think the grass is greener but when it actually came to it they wouldn't want to live in HA/council houses anyway. Leave them be bitter. As long as you and your family are happy, healthy and comfortable who cares what they think? They'll complain about anyone getting cheaper housing employed or not. It's just misplaced jealousy!

IfNotNowThenWhen Tue 15-Jan-13 11:20:37

And also, 60% of "people who are working" qualify for HB in private rented places because rents are too high.
If I was in social housing I wouldn't be a HB claimant, so my council would no longer be subsidising my housing in that way. Yes council housing is subsidised, although, since most of it is quite old now the capital costs of building it have been paid off by now.

Bogeyface Tue 15-Jan-13 11:20:53

Subsidise the private rental sector and you'll see rents for all fall very, very quickly.

Really? YOu think?! Or perhaps the majority of LL's would keep their rents at their current level and pocket the difference!

The one who I knew originally, through whom I know the others is 39. So a wee while to go yet. The others vary between early 40s and late 50s so a bit closer. They have each to a man snapped up cheap repos from families who have lost their homes in the recession, given them a lick of paint, then rented them out to poor fuckers who have possibly had their homes repossessed (irony anyone) and who now can't afford to buy.

Bloodsuckers the lot of them.

And yes, they'll be paying tax, as is the op and her husband. As they should.

Social housing was created to affordably house the working family. What part of that do you find hard to swallow?

PandaOnAPushBike Tue 15-Jan-13 11:21:48

Gosh, a lot of jealousy and lack of knowledge on this thread. I lived in a Housing Association house prior to emigrating. My HA's funds all came from a massive fund bequeathed to the local community by an extremely wealthy local land-owner when he died. All of their developments consisted of 1/3 shared ownership, 1/3 off the local council waiting list, and 1/3 anyone else who wanted one.

WorraLiberty Tue 15-Jan-13 11:22:12

Chunderella See my post at 11:14

I would go for it OP, and not feel guilty.

I think the remark that has probably caused the biggest 'issue' is that you are planning on having a couple more children. Many people paying private rents or mortgages simply cpuld not afford to consider that choice.

LtEveDallas Tue 15-Jan-13 11:23:03

Do you know any private landlords? Most of them are renting out their own home in order to work elsewhere. A very, very few make a profit

I know lots - Military Housing being at a premium in my area we have an awful lot of soldiers in private rentals. Almost to a man, when they were contacted by the housing people they put their rents up to the maximum allowed by the MOD....for some this was an increase of £300 per month.

I'd say very, very few DON'T make a profit.

expatinscotland Tue 15-Jan-13 11:23:21

'For those of you bitching about unfairness I'd like to ask how many of you have parents, friends, aunts etc who benefitted from buying their council house at a vastly reduced sum? You might have even grown up in parents paid a pittance for their council house...a huge subsidy.'

Exactly! And many, many then turned round and sold those ex-council houses they got very cheaply for huge profit.

LadyBeagleEyes Tue 15-Jan-13 11:23:43

It sounds wonderful Op.
I bet you can't wait.grin.
My HA house is a fairly new build ,about 10 years old I think.
I got it when I separated, as my job was live in.
I live in a very rural area in the Highlands, where every house privately rented are holiday homes in which the owners visit for about 2 weeks a year.
I was very lucky to get it.

TroublesomeEx Tue 15-Jan-13 11:24:32

If it's not going to cause you problems to do so in the future (e.g. with under occupancy) then I'd do it.

I rent privately. I agree that private rents are ridiculously high and that there are problems with housing being unaffordable in this country for lots of people and that it is a situation that could have been avoided if the people who had the power to make a difference hadn't been up to their eyeballs in it themselves...

But that doesn't mean I'm going to let my feelings cloud how I'd feel about someone else's situation.

Take it, take it, take it and enjoy. If you don't, someone else will and you'll still be in the same position.

Do your swap as it will benefit this elderly couple greatly.

Then maybe, as you earn enough to plan 5 kids, why dont you pay back the generosity allowed you by this HA years ago when you were in need, by moving out of your HA housing and onto the private market?

DSM Tue 15-Jan-13 11:26:34

So how does the OP qualify? Because she once did and never moved? I'm not 'bitching', I am only asking. And you can call it jealousy if you like, I am more than willing to admit that we would be a lot more comfortable and happy if we could pay half what we pay in rent. This is not the OP's fault.

And jakebullet - none. Not a single person I know lives in an ex-council house. Maybe there aren't so many around here?

orangepudding Tue 15-Jan-13 11:26:48

Whether you can apply for council/HA housing depends on where you live.

This coucil won't even put many people applying on to a list.

SamSmalaidh Tue 15-Jan-13 11:27:11

It's within the rules, you can afford the rent - DO IT you'd be mad not to!

The housing scandal in this country is the lack of social housing and the fact that taxpayers are subsidising private landlords NOT that social housing rents are set at a reasonable amount.

Bogeyface Tue 15-Jan-13 11:28:01

why dont you pay back the generosity allowed you by this HA

Why was it generous?! She needed a home, she fulfilled the criteria, she got a home!

Should she spend the rest of her life tugging her forelock and saying "Thank you very much for your kindness Guv'nor" when she passes the HA office?!

I would not be surprised if Camerons next move is to abolish council housing. Few countries have as much council housing as Britain.

expatinscotland Tue 15-Jan-13 11:29:15

'Then maybe, as you earn enough to plan 5 kids, why dont you pay back the generosity allowed you by this HA years ago when you were in need, by moving out of your HA housing and onto the private market?'

Why on EARTH would anyone give up a secure tenancy with a family? How do you know the OP can even afford private market rent? She may be low-income. How is it 'generous' that a family can be housed securely and something to be 'paid back'?

Many private landlords won't let to people with children at all. Or, if the OP is low-income, she'll need partial HB. Good luck finding a private landlord who'll take children AND HB!

SamSmalaidh Tue 15-Jan-13 11:29:18

PureQuintessence - so you think the OP should move into the private sector, into a house that is twice as expensive, and probably have to claim housing benefit so the taxpayer can fund a private landlord confused

Orwellian Tue 15-Jan-13 11:30:13

What a crazy country where we have an apartheid system which means people in social housing can have as many children as they like and a bigger property subsidised by the taxpayer and those who are not entitled have to limit the number of children they have, pay much much more for a smaller place with less security. Great system to reward work and responsibility - not!

Bogeyface Tue 15-Jan-13 11:30:19

An awful lot of private landlords cant take HB as a condition of their mortgage, so again it comes back to the banks and the government.

expatinscotland Tue 15-Jan-13 11:30:47

'I would not be surprised if Camerons next move is to abolish council housing. Few countries have as much council housing as Britain.'

Ever been to France? And few countries have such horrible, discriminatory private rental laws as Britain.

Bogeyface, yeah, why not? Seems to me like she has won the lottery! grin
She is set up for life, with a rent so small that she can afford 5 kids! While others who really need it, are struggling to get a roof above their heads. Why should she not be thankful?

SamSmalaidh Tue 15-Jan-13 11:31:18

I wouldn't be surprised if council housing was abolished either, because now as ever the Tories favour the rich over hardworking poor families, and would rather see wealthy landowners' pocket's lined than working class people live in decent safe housing.

That would be because most countries have nothing but private rentals.... Maybe with more social housing these countries would also have a big difference in private and social rent?

Bogeyface Tue 15-Jan-13 11:32:43

Orwellian Been reading the daily mail again?

There seems to be a myth that thousands of families are breeding like rabbits and moving into bigger and bigger houses. This is not the case, not least because there are barely any large houses available. The cases of families being put into £2 million mansions in London make the headlines because they are so rare, not because it happens every day!

I live in HA housing, with 3 children in a 3 bedroom property ( schildren who live with us half the time) 2 boys share, sd has her own room. If i was offered a swap on the homemover scheme like yours i would take it. The homemover scheme round here is between the two people who want to swap if you both do then i see no problem. Obviously bills will go up accordingly but thats expected. You can spend your time worrying about the moral obligation or do whats best for your family. I know what id do.

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SamSmalaidh Tue 15-Jan-13 11:33:44

Yes Orwellian, but it wasn't always like that. We used to have much more social housing and fewer private landlords. The answer is build more social housing, and help those in shitty private housing - not just drag everyone with affordable housing down into the gutter too hmm

expatinscotland Tue 15-Jan-13 11:34:38

'What a crazy country where we have an apartheid system which means people in social housing can have as many children as they like and a bigger property subsidised by the taxpayer and those who are not entitled have to limit the number of children they have, pay much much more for a smaller place with less security. Great system to reward work and responsibility - not!'

Yes, what a crazy country where we have a system where taxpayers pay for so many to have a second or more property via HB for working people, whilst increasing millions of working people are unable to afford even one and will live forever with the threat of having to move, possibly as frequently as every 4 months. Great system to reward work and responsibility indeed!

Bogeyface Tue 15-Jan-13 11:35:05

Thankful? Yes. I am thankful that I bought my house at the lowest point of the last recession as there is no way I could afford to buy now. But it was not generosity that she fulfilled the criteria to be given a home.

This is a HOME not a luxury!

Only in Britain is a house considered an asset first and a home second hmm

McNewPants2013 Tue 15-Jan-13 11:35:59

I would never give up my HA to go into private rent.

I have a 3 bedroom that I have decorated, carpeted and done all the small repairs ourselves.

I have had a new kitchen from the HA which due to some government policy on renting they had to do it.

I like the security of ha and it means my DC will never have to move school. Ds has austism so he needs to be secure in his school.

Well, we see where it is going. The welfare state is slowly picked to pieces, tax credits, child benefit etc and now also the pension is revamped.

The Flat Pension will push people into having their own private pension plans or savings to live of in retirement. £145 per week regardless of your income? Taxable, too? Who can survive on that. Fuel allowance only for the most wealthy pensioners?

expatinscotland Tue 15-Jan-13 11:36:12

'That would be because most countries have nothing but private rentals.... Maybe with more social housing these countries would also have a big difference in private and social rent?'

That would be because most countries have far more secure and less discriminatory rental laws.

IfNotNowThenWhen Tue 15-Jan-13 11:36:53

Yup expat. I just tried to rent a house (cheaper than where I am now) which was perfect for us, but didn't get it as the LL didn't want any children.(I only have one small boy!)
He rented it to students instead, who will doubtless stay one year and trash the place I hope..
Whenever we move I get so stressed,as moving is hard work and expensive- £800 upfront deposit, £150 movers, £150 estate agent fees.
And we never know how long we will be able to stay.

DSM Tue 15-Jan-13 11:40:38

Yes, bogeyface I agree with Quint. She bloody well should be grateful for the very lucky position she is in. And we are a low-income household, living in the second most expensive city in the UK. I have not had the benefit of HA cheap rent that the OP has had, and for that reason have not been able to have the 5 kids she is in the middle of having. We have had to stick to one, as we can't afford more.

So yes, I think she should thank her lucky stars, and be grateful.

WorraLiberty Tue 15-Jan-13 11:41:38

Hats off to the OP though, who I suspect knew exactly the sort of feelings this thread would throw up wink

And to go from 'feeling guilty and between to minds' to 'feeling very excited' in the space of 5 minutes...genius! grin

sashh Tue 15-Jan-13 11:41:59


There are rules about social housing. Councils expect same sex children and any children under 10 to share a bedroom so the OP can only apply for a bigger house when she has more children.

Housing Associatins have slightly different rooms.

No it is not free, people pay rent and moving expenses.

But, and this seems to be what is happening here, you can arrange a swap for more suitable accomodation.

So the couple in the large HA house want something smaller, the OP wants something bigger. If they agree and the council agrees (they usually don't disagree) the OP and her family swap houses.


Do it. You are not taking a house away from someone who needs it more than you so I don't see the problem.

shesariver Tue 15-Jan-13 11:42:48

Ask I keep repeating, and as few of you understand because you're unlikely to be net contributors to the tax pool

What a nasty post this is, based on assumptions - you have no knowledge of peoples backgrounds here!

And as to askign the OP to give up her house, you seriously think that would be a good idea? At the moment she is paying full rent and not claiming HB, the chances are she woudl need HB to make up the difference in a private let so would end up claiming benefits, mad!

McNewPants2013 Tue 15-Jan-13 11:45:24

DSM then move to a place that is not so expensive to live and have the 2nd baby

sashh Tue 15-Jan-13 11:45:51


Housing associations do not have cheap rents, they are market rents, no cheaper than private, just a secure tenancy.

shesariver Tue 15-Jan-13 11:47:53

Worra I was beginning to think that to grin

As sashh says HA rents are market rents, i pay the same as i paid living in private rented which i had to move out of. The reason i stay here is not low costs it is the security.

DSM Tue 15-Jan-13 11:51:58

McNew - I'd have to move to a different city, as we already live on the outskirts, not in town. We are not able to do that.

sashh If they are market rents, then why is the OP paying half what she would for a private rent in the same area hmm

The 4 students who rented our house for 2 years did not trash the place. The just left behind some rubbish. All I had to do with carry it out, and give the house a spring clean.

The single mum of 2 kids managed to trash the place quite successfully, to the point of letting her kids draw on every single wall (and the furniture) with spirit marker, rip off wallpaper, soil the carpets, radiators and fridge with nail varnish, and throw poo nappies out in to the garden, for two years, rather than using the bin.

I am never letting my house again.

Dawndonna Tue 15-Jan-13 11:54:05

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WilsonFrickett Tue 15-Jan-13 11:55:37

^When social housing was invented in the 1930's that was the aim, yes. That ordinary "hardworking families" (to quote the current government) would be able to live in spacious, clean housing with space for a veggie patch and the kids to run around in the fresh air.
That was always the point. Social housing was never designed to be a race to the bottom for the dispossessed, or a social lottery for people who have been priced out of private rented accommodation.
It was always supposed to be there to give normal people a decent place to live.
Of course, now we no longer live in houses. We live in "properties", which makes us think that housing is no longer a right but a privilege.^

Excellent post Ifnot. Thank you.

DSM Tue 15-Jan-13 11:56:03

dawndonna we are all entitled to have a conversation without being called thick and asked to bugger off. Needless.

JumpHerWho Tue 15-Jan-13 11:56:33

Wow - some disingenuous posts on here.

It is a two tier system whether people like it or not. You can't have it both ways - either social housing is for the needy, or it's for everyone. It's clearly not for everyone, as me and many other posters have pointed out we are paying huge amounts in rent privately, and cannot afford more children. It isn't fair. You can't pretend it is.

Obviously OP you should take the house, I would in your situation. I do also think you should 'pay it forward' by moving out when you no longer need it.

I do think its bonkers that people aren't continually assessed to see if they need council housing - get a foot in the door and you're sorted for life seems so wrong. Am absolutely not a DM reader and I resent debate being polarised in this way - my SiL has just bought her council flat on right to buy and will wait the minimum period before selling it on at a huge profit, renting it out in the meantime. I don't blame her and I don't blame the OP, but it's not right for some people to struggle privately while others are subsidised and able to have more children. My heart aches writing the bit about more children tbh - OP do give a moment's pause to the idea of having to sacrifice the desire for another child because you couldn't afford a bigger house. You're on a different playing field here. You're not a millionaire, you're a normal hardworking family, I get it - but the majority of hardworking families do not have the choices you have. It doesn't mean people are rightwing DM readers, it means they see the injustice in people who have similar jobs having homes subsidised in order to afford more children. It's a dream for most 'hardworking families' and we don't have the choice to move to a bigger home.

DSM Tue 15-Jan-13 11:59:31

And, with all due respect, they can't afford a larger house. Neither can I. But they want more children, so they will take a HA house.

This is logic I am not understanding.

For the record - I don't understand it on general principal, I don't give a flying fuck what the OP does or where she lives, as an individual. In fact, given the story, I'd say take the bigger house. Seems to make sense.

BUT what I can't understand is why some people, like the OP, are in this situation? Surely if you can't afford a house adequate for your needs, you stop having children until you can afford it? Obviously, social housing is wonderful for people who haven't planned their children, accidents happen, but the OP is actually talking about children she intends to have years from now?

Good Post Jumper, you explain so well what my opinion is.

I do sometimes despair when I look at this entitlement culture. I am not talking about people who need help, like the OP did. But why shall welfare be for ever? Would it not benefit more people if welfare was used temporarily to get back on your feet, and move on from once you manage? It seems that people view it as their entitlement to a certain way of life, a subsidized life, even when they no longer need it. Rather than showing social responsibility and moving on when their situation is better, they cling to their entitlement for life, while their financial situation is getting better and better, to the point of having 5 kids in an overpopulated country. I just dont understand it.

With nobody voluntarily moving on from social housing, it is harder and harder to get a home. The government is not likely to build more social housing, their best bet would be to try and make changes so that people who dont need it move out of welfare and into the private market. This way, they wont need to replenish the social housing stock. I think the government more and more want to see a population that work, and pay their own way.

It is just a different point of view. Some blame the situation on not enough social housing. And others, like me, on too many people who stay in social housing and view it as permanent rather than a stop gap solution.

DSM Tue 15-Jan-13 12:01:19

jumpher you put it so much more eloquently than I wink

DSM Tue 15-Jan-13 12:02:30

quint so do you. God I am so in-succinct blush

And I totally agree with Dsm

JumpHerWho Tue 15-Jan-13 12:03:31

Although actually I suspect like Worra, that the OP may not be back, having lit the touch paper...

X post. I dont agree that you are in-succinct! shock

But thanks. (Dare I say Lol)

WilsonFrickett Tue 15-Jan-13 12:05:26

My DM is very snobby about the people who live in the new social housing estate next to her. Until I reminded her that her house was originally a council house. My point being that before right to buy my DM would never have considered buying a house. As far as she was concerned, you moved into your council house and that was you until you died. That wasn't based on need, btw, it was just what you did if you were working class, you went on the list for a council house, you had your secure tenancy and that was you for life. But you worked and you paid a market rent for it.

Now, if there's enough social housing to go around, then that works fine. But then Thatcher said 'no, secure tenancies at fair market rates aren't enough, we need an nation of owners.' So she bought her house. That house (which she moved into from new btw) will never go back into social use. It's that which is wrong, not the concept of secure, fairly-priced social housing.

JumpHerWho Tue 15-Jan-13 12:05:44

<High -fives DSM and Quint>

I just hate being typed as a DM reader when I'm just frustrated at the inequality. It's good to read others feel the same. I'm not judging the OP but I do judge those who can't see beyond their own cosy situations I the wider implications of a two-tier situation. Jealousy is a normal reaction I think.

thegreylady Tue 15-Jan-13 12:06:56

OP yes go for it. You want to and you can afford it why the heck not? I have only read first page and this page but you would be mad not to accept. I hope you'll be very happy.

DSM Tue 15-Jan-13 12:07:33

I've never read the DM either grin

JumpHerWho Tue 15-Jan-13 12:08:47

Wilson good post. But where now? We can't go back to that situation, things have changed irreparably, market rents are ridiculous and there's no money for councils to build or buy.

I think the 'home for life' in the current climate has to be impossible, it's not right as it causes unfairness through inequality.

Chunderella Tue 15-Jan-13 12:09:53

Oh sorry Worra, my mistake, I've seen your post now.

Regarding the thankfulness issue, yes people who have any good fortune should be thankful for it. I am grateful for my HA home, as I'm also grateful for my health, baby, husband, employment, education, family and friends. Many people are lacking some or all of the above, those of us who have all or most of them are fortunate indeed. I'm no better than people who don't have these, just lucky. I hope the people who are so concerned that those of us who are in HA housing be grateful for it also expand the same rule to other pieces of good fortune, though. Their own included. Especially as those of us who pay our own rent in HA properties and cost the HA less than we're paying are doing a fair amount of subsidising others ourselves. Not that I mind doing it, but let's have the facts right.

This isn't the same as feeling guilty about not paying market rent, though. That's because market rent is fucked. As I've said, I pay £325 a month for a two bed property. It's a mid terrace in a northern city, in an area where the schools are appalling, insurance for everything is high, it's far from the city centre and lots of people wouldn't even consider living there. I don't personally think £325 a month is particularly low for this. It's about right. The problem isn't with my rent being too low, it's with a totally broken housing system that forces private rents up to unjustifiably high levels. My home would cost about £500 a month privately renting, which is daylight robbery. I'm not complaining about where I live btw, I have chosen to live here to be close to family, and could afford somewhere more desirable, so I'm not whining.

bluebiscuit Tue 15-Jan-13 12:12:28

Op, I think you would be perfectly reasonable to do this swap. 5 people occupying a 4 bed house is perfect, it's not under occupied in real terms. I can see that the council may class it is under occupied because 2 of your dc could share but I think that isn't something to feel guilty over as it is just a technicality and none of the bedrooms will actually be empty.

However, I am not so sure that it is financially wise to plan to have another 1-2 children when you already have 3 and cannot afford to buy a house. I think that having 3 children in your position is fine but actively planning more is not really sensible.

DSM Tue 15-Jan-13 12:13:35

A 2 bedroom mid terraced house for £325, you think is 'about right'? And £500 would be daylight robbery shockshock

Wow. I really do think you should be even more grateful than you are. You have no idea how lucky you are.

DSM Tue 15-Jan-13 12:14:22

To help - I pay four times what you do. And We live in a flat.

JumpHerWho Tue 15-Jan-13 12:15:33

I pay £1200 for a 2-bed terrace in a horrible area in zone 6 sad tiny galley kitchen. This talk of dining rooms...

DSM Tue 15-Jan-13 12:16:42

I know right, dining rooms. Jeez.

Matildaduck Tue 15-Jan-13 12:17:07

DSM do you live in an area described by chundra? Are you paying more to live in london?

Slightly OT but I'm shocked at how high rents are in other areas. Granted, I live in a very very poor area, but the lovely 4 storey, 4 bed, 2 bath house I've just moved out of cost £495 a month! shock

Average rent on a 2 bed house here is £400!

Do wages really differ so much that people can pay double or triple that amount??

Matildaduck Tue 15-Jan-13 12:18:46

You can not compare an apple with an orange.

TroublesomeEx Tue 15-Jan-13 12:20:47

southern no wages don't really differ that much. People are really struggling. sad

DSM Tue 15-Jan-13 12:21:00

I don't live in London. I don't live in England!

And no, I would say my area sounds a lot nicer than the area Chundra described - however not four times nicer hmm

Matildaduck Tue 15-Jan-13 12:24:57

People make choices, could you move to a less nice area and reduce your rent?

When i rented years ago i lived in an amazing area and boy did i pay for it. I chose that over a less nice area. I couldn'tvmoan about my rent it was a lovely area...

DSM Tue 15-Jan-13 12:27:04

Oh we've looked, but I don't think saving c.£100 a month is worth living in an area I wouldn't feel safe in, or moving DS so a rubbish school.

If I was getting my rent for £500 a month, I would bloody well move!

Bogeyface Tue 15-Jan-13 12:29:43

You can't compare living in London with (what sounds like) a run down area in the North with shit schools!

Perhaps you should move instead of moaning?

Bogeyface Tue 15-Jan-13 12:30:49

That was for Jump btw

Chunderella Tue 15-Jan-13 12:33:04

Well DSM I agree that your area isn't likely to be four times nicer, and that's a good example of the fucked private housing market I described. It looks like we both agree on that. But Matildaduck is quite right: you can't compare apples with oranges, and actually the comparison you're making is more like comparing apples to carpets- the areas concerned have so little in common. The appropriate comparison would the people spending £500 a month for an identical home in the private market, not what you pay yourself.

But yes, I don't think £325 is an unfair rent for my accommodation. I don't want to put my private business in MN, but if you undertake to be discreet I'll happily PM you the name of the area I live. You can then do your own research on local prices, insurance costs and most importantly wages. Until you've done this though, forgive me for considering myself much better qualified than you to assess what a fair rent for my home would be. I am lucky because I am not being fleeced like people in the private market, not because I am being subsidised.

JumpHerWho if it helps, I don't have a dining room and my kitchen isn't big enough for a proper table and chairs!

Matildaduck Tue 15-Jan-13 12:33:38

Dsm you could move also. :-)

Phew bogeyface, thought it was for me.

I know how lucky I am, I live in a nice village, good transport links, good schools, countryside to one side and city centre 20 minutes the other way. And rent is dirt cheap.

However, insurance, crime etc is high but I've never felt unsafe here.

Chunderella Tue 15-Jan-13 12:34:53

In that case DSM, put your money where your mouth is and get your arse up here. Trust me, you'd save a colossal amount more than £100 a month in rent! I live in Manchester, I can provide long lists of flats (2 bed?) for that price or lower, in the private sector. HTH!

JakeBullet Tue 15-Jan-13 12:37:50

Just out of interest am going to look at Rightmove to see what property is renting for round here.

Chunder, I think we live very close to eachother wink

OwlLady Tue 15-Jan-13 12:38:11

omg at how cheap some of these rents are envy <<--in a nice way we pay a grand for a 3 bed semi

purpleflower123 Tue 15-Jan-13 12:38:59

I've just exchanged into a 3 bed from a 2. I have 3 children and won't have any more now as I haven't got space and 4 beds are very hard to get here and I can't afford private rent.

The estate I live on is mainly 3 beds with only a few 4. the list for a 4 is huge. I think I would consider doing a 3 way swap to a 3 bed, but as you are planning more that would be pointless.

Chunderella Tue 15-Jan-13 12:39:42

By that price I mean £500 btw. Actually, I've just done a search in a couple of Manchester's cheaper postcodes, and pickings were better than i thought. I found you a couple of 3 bed houses for south of the relevant price DSM.

DSM Tue 15-Jan-13 12:40:12

matilda, well no, actually, I can't.

chunder I do think it is relevant to compare, because though I don't know what you earn or your living situation, I do know that you can't be learning significantly less than me. Certainly not significantly enough to make the disproportional rents balance out.

I agree that you are able to assess the rental of your house, I did not mean to insinuate that you couldn't. But surely you must agree that it is through circumstance that you end up living in a poorer/cheaper area (your family live close by) and therefore you can agree that there is a certain element of luck, which you should feel grateful for. Luck that you are able to live in a cheap area, and luck that you got a HA house, making it even cheaper.

DSM Tue 15-Jan-13 12:41:20

thanks chunder, but I am not able to move down to Manchester.

creighton Tue 15-Jan-13 12:41:53

the local authority or housing association will have to agree the new tenancies for each family. they may veto a move of a 3 bed need family into a 5 bed property if they have a long waiting list of families who will already have 4, 5, however many children who exist now rather than give the home to children who don't exist as yet.

the op needs to check with her landlord

Owl, I think it's swings and roundabouts. I saw a thread recently where an OP got flamed for paying an employee minimum wage. I was shocked. Everyone I know round here gets paid minimum wage, including me.

Chunderella Tue 15-Jan-13 12:42:43

Sorry, those links are a bit fucked. Just put M8 and M22 in Rightmove, at least 2 bedrooms, between £450 and £500.

Perhaps we do, Southern! I don't live in a village, but not too far from some. To be fair, it's not a desirable area. I wouldn't be here if my family weren't. Having said that, a lot of people who wouldn't previously have been seen dead in somewhere like this have bought here simply because it's one of the few places in the city where you can still get a decent, non-wreck family home for south of 100k. Of course, there are other costs to be factored in.

Chunderella Tue 15-Jan-13 12:44:46

Ok DSM but you did say you'd move if you got your rent for £500 a month. You didn't say you'd move if you could get somewhere for £500 a month, but not to Manchester. Perhaps if you were to specify places you would be able to move to, other posters might be able to assist you in finding somewhere rather cheaper than where you are now.

DSM Tue 15-Jan-13 12:47:06

Oh, thanks for the suggestion, but I can't move away from the city I am in. I meant I would consider moving - I didn't mean to another country!

Matildaduck Tue 15-Jan-13 12:47:32

No i don't agree that circumstances make you live where you do....i'm in charge of my life, i planned it. My mother is over and hour and half away.

Stop being a victim, don't moan change things smile

isthisunreasonable Tue 15-Jan-13 12:49:10

DSM - We both work too, we have never claimed benefits either and we pay our rent every month as well. We are in social housing though, doesn't mean we don't work hard and pay our way.

Worral, I did not post here for a bunfight! I wanted to know some honest opinions of the situation we are in and what others (both those in social housings and not) would do. I was HUGELY excited from the very minute I first spoke with this couple, it is not a new excited. Excited because we feel very very fortunate to possibly getting such a lovely house that we will all feel safe and secure and love living in.

However, that excitement doesn't stop me feel guilty that there are so many families who are very overcrowded needing that 4 bed, it is "categorized" by the council as maximum occupancy 8 (four double bedrooms). Our kids do not need their own rooms, we have one secondary age boy and two primary aged girls, so a 3 bed will do perfectly, but we can't find one and the HA / Council don't have any to give us (huge waiting lists).

We are genuinely nice people (honest) we work hard and due to having a shit time in the past we have had the good fortune to have a social housing tenancy which we are allowed / expected to keep indefinitely. I know lots of people who are not eligible for social housing also work hard, I am not disputing that fact, we are just very fortunate.

Yes, to those who asked, rent around here (South England, not far from London a little bit rural/villagey) is hugely expensive. Our current rent is about half of the average private rent and the new rent (if we take this house it's still undecided - we haven't even been there yet just seen photos) will be about 40% of the average private rental. We couldn't afford it privately, no way!

It seems some posters are saying I shouldn't keep my social housing tenancy and should pay privately to rent now that both my partner and I work, even though the tenancy I was given was given to me on the understanding that it is now mine and I am not expected to give it up should my circumstances change. I am not going to rent privately and pay silly amounts when we don't have to, right now we have a secured tenancy and stability for the children, that is something all should hold on to if/when they have it.

ComposHat Tue 15-Jan-13 12:49:20

Take it if you can!

Not that it is anyone's business, but the house would be more fully utilised with you and your family in it than it is now with an older couple in it.

orangepudding Tue 15-Jan-13 12:50:01

Chunderella I'm surprised at how your rent is. I live in a commuter town (20 mins by train to London). A three bed council house within 10 mins walk to train station and town centre shopping and in catchment for an outstanding primary school in £85 per week. The same house (there is a long road with identical council and ex council houses) cost £1200 for private rental! A much bigger decrepancy between ha and private.

Go for it OP.

Matildaduck Tue 15-Jan-13 12:51:34

Compo i think her guilt is that she queue jumping.

orangepudding Tue 15-Jan-13 12:54:42

That £1200 PCM

CecilyP Tue 15-Jan-13 12:55:14

I would go for it OP, but the final say might be with the HA. A friend with 3 children wanted to swap her 3 bedroom flat for a 4 bedroom house just occupied by an elderly widower, but the council vetoed the swap - probably thinking longer term that both parties would be underoccupied.

creighton Tue 15-Jan-13 12:57:06

she isn't queue jumping, she is trying to move into a 'category' that she shouldn't be in i.e. the 5 bed category. if a family of 8 needs that house, they should get it not the op's family.

DSM Tue 15-Jan-13 12:59:01

matilda stop being a victim? hmm I'm not a victim?! Ha!

Chunder said that she lives where she does to be close to family. As do I. That doesn't make either of us a 'victim'!

creighton Tue 15-Jan-13 12:59:49

it's a shame that the council isn't doing it's job properly. they should be approaching underoccupying families and offering them new homes with a cash bonus/incentive and then they can dispose of houses to the correct families.

Mumsyblouse Tue 15-Jan-13 13:00:21

To me, the biggest difference between HA and private, which would make me cling to HA in your shoes, is security of tenancy. In the private sector (which I rent in), you can be asked to leave with a couple of months notice, or a landlord may not resign a 6/12 month contract. I know it's been said 1000 times on MN, but this is so destabilising and stressful for a family and doesn't encourage you to spend money/time on home improvements.

OP, surely you know you are going to take it, handwringing aside?

isthisunreasonable Tue 15-Jan-13 13:04:01

Creighton, the point is that the older couple want our house specifically because it is near to their son and grandchildren and that is it disabled adapted (partly). If we do not take the house they may just stay there in their big house and we may stay here in our small 2 bed with 3 kids. It is not the case that either we take it or it is put back into the "system" to be handed to a larger family in dire need of it, if that makes sense. I hadn't thought of that before and did think of it as we were "queue jumping" but a previous poster pointed out that older people are exempt from the new "bedroom tax" for under occupying their properties, so they will just stay there if we don't swap with them.

BlueBiscuit - Lots of people can afford to buy but choose not to, lots of people would prefer to rent than buy. We have a secure HA tenancy, we can't afford the private rent around here but we would be quite likely to be able to afford a mortgage if we wanted to, but we don't want to buy a property, we are happy with what we have and very grateful for it. Not owning a home doesn't mean we shouldn't have more children anyway. I obviously wouldn't have more children unless the house we were in was big enough for them all, that was my point when I listed why this 4 bed house would be so great for us, we would be able to have another 1-2 children in the future without the need to move.

aufaniae Tue 15-Jan-13 13:04:55

People are quite rightly upset that ordinary hardworking families are having to make decisions like not having more children because they can't afford the room.

However it saddens me greatly to see people taking the illogical step that because they can't have that choice, neither should the OP.

The problem here is high rents, and a lack of affordable housing. Why are people not demanding something be done about that rather than having a go at the OP?

I'm very disappointed in the last government or this one (fat chance!) for not starting a program of building social housing.

Building social housing would be an investment for the tax payer, it would create jobs, house families, bring down rents for everyone and stop house prices going up so fast. So, very beneficial to ordinary working families (WC & MC).

It wouldn't be such good news for landlords or property companies though.

Who's side are this government on? ... Let me see. Well if we were concerned about providing affordable housing we could maybe to something really simple for a start, like requiring developers to provide a percentage of affordable housing in every new development. Oh no wait ... we did do that. Except this government have removed that requirement.

Those of you who think it's unfair that the OP can have a decent home, why aren't you rallying against the high rents? Or trying to get this government to do something positive about it, which will help you too?

Wouldn't it be better of more people had decent, appropriate housing, and the ability to chose to extend their families - not fewer?!

We're in a period of recession. The HB bill is huge (and much of it given to working families as despite working, their wages are too meagre to afford the rent). What a waste of money! We should be supporting the extension of council housing (so the money comes back to the tax payer to use elsewhere) not encouraging the transfer of money via HB to private landlords.

happyinherts Tue 15-Jan-13 13:05:40

OP - you are definitely not being unreasonable

The people you are considering swapping with are presumably selective so if you didnt swap with them its unlikely their property would be on the market for a larger family from the housing list to take advantage of.

A 4 bedroomed property is designed for a family like yours. I don't know whether you have a mix of boys and girls but 3 children should qualify for a 4 bed house in due course.

Take no notice of jealousies or quibbles about rent / payments. That is what the house was built for - young families - if you are paying full rent, good on you. You have absolutely nothing to feel guilt about. I'm sure you will take pride in your house and love it and be a positive benefit to your neighbourhood rather than some families I can think of that play the system into council / HA properties, do not work (out of choice) and turn estates into ghettos.

You go for it if it is at all possible. You deserve it and you may not get the opportunity again. Furthermore the children deserve it

Chunderella Tue 15-Jan-13 13:05:57

Yes OrangePudding the discrepancy is much larger in the south east. In the north, it's not so big and I have heard of some areas where actually the private sector is no more expensive. In fact I might have overstated the private rent for my home, as there are 3 beds in the area going for less than £500 on rightmove. It's hard to say because there aren't a lot of 2 bed properties locally, and i think January is a slow time in the property market so perhaps the prices are unusually low right now. But anyway there was a 3 bed in my area at £480 per month, my aunt pays £375 for her identical HA house. A totally different beast altogether from the south east and London situations.

DSM I think what you're saying is that you'd like to pay the market rent for a shithole but get to live in an expensive city with all the associated benefits. You and millions!

DSM Tue 15-Jan-13 13:06:08

But.. you can't afford a bigger house? You can only afford a bigger house if its subsidised by HA.

isthisunreasonable Tue 15-Jan-13 13:06:57

Mumsyblouse, We are not 100% sure yet. The other couple are coming to have a look at ours tomorrow but they have seen lots of photos and know the area so it's very likely that they will say yes. We have arranged to go and view theirs at the weekend, although we love it just from the photos and so we are really just going to look round and get excited! grin

aufaniae Tue 15-Jan-13 13:08:08

isthisunreasonable you should go for it (assuming you like it once you've seen it!)

I hope you enjoy your new home smile

TroublesomeEx Tue 15-Jan-13 13:08:32

I still think you should take it.

isthisunreasonable Tue 15-Jan-13 13:09:00

DSM - But I am in social housing, I have a social housing tenancy that has no expiry date and our HA are find with us moving to a larger house. Do you think we should all give up HA tenancy to make a point to the government that hard working families without HA tenancies think it's unfair that some people get social housing and some don't?

If I was a housing officer, I would move OP and her family OUT of social housing, and move the elderly couple into their two bed.
If OP told me "no dont, as we plan to have two more kids" I would possibly be gobsmacked.

I think the biggest problem in housing is that tenants are given infinite tenancies rather than assessed 5-10 years down the line.

But I guess, if this was so, nobody in social housing would ever go out and work, as they might have to start paying private rent. hmm

LadyBeagleEyes Tue 15-Jan-13 13:09:50

I agree word for word with aufaniae.

DSM Tue 15-Jan-13 13:10:36

Chunder well, thats the dream wink

Obviously not, but I can't move from the city I live in. I can't get on a HA list as I have no reason to (and yes, I hear that everyone can but I would presumably be very low priority) and I can't afford more children on our current earnings.

But.. some people are staying on the HA list that they once needed so they don't 'have to pay higher rent'.

That, is unfair. We could all take turns. Say everyone gets 3 years in a HA house. That way, I could save enough for a deposit to buy my own house. Obviously this doesn't work in practice but you see my point.

isthisunreasonable Tue 15-Jan-13 13:10:56

Aufaniae - I cannot think of any reason why we would say no to it, even with all the work needing doing it's so worth it. The older couple been living there just using the downstairs mostly, so everything needs stripping, cleaning, painting, re plastering, new carpets, etc etc and the jungle of a garden needs clearing but it will be worth the time and effort.

DSM Tue 15-Jan-13 13:11:40

OP do you not think it is unfair?

isthisunreasonable Tue 15-Jan-13 13:11:47

So what's your point DSM, should I leave my HA so that you could have it?

Aufania, I would be very happy to take part in such a rally.

I also think I shall get on to my local councils website and see if I can apply for work as a housing officer. grin <evil cackle>

Lonelybunny Tue 15-Jan-13 13:12:49

We did smile a friend of DP had a 4 bed all to himself and wanted a 2 bed house. We have 3 children and we went for it as its a 10 year wait for a 3 bed in our area. They did question the swap tho and said out baby is not yet classed as a person hmm but we explained she will grow pretty quickly actually smile and it went through. We also may have another child in the future so I don't think it's a problem children and young family's grow and expand. Hope it goes well smile

And no doubt you will get a grant from the HA to do the work to the house to turn it into a lifetime family Dream home?

isthisunreasonable Tue 15-Jan-13 13:13:46

No DSM I do not. The social housing system is perfectly fair it is just shit.

The system of who is eligible for social housing and the order of priority is perfectly fair and very very strict. It seems you have an issue with the length of the tenancy and the fact that people don't have to give it up after a set period of time, even if they start earning a huge wage etc, I can see your point about that and it is a bit shit.

creighton Tue 15-Jan-13 13:13:49

isthis... the council would go out of their way to give the older couple what they want in exchange for a hard to come by large property. they would find a flat in the right location, adapt it and give them cash.

i hope the council vetoes the move, not out of personal spite as i have nothing to gain in this argument, but because a large family existing today should get the property.

"but we explained she will grow pretty quickly actually"


How did you know?

zumbaholic Tue 15-Jan-13 13:15:02

Go for it. Here (southwest) my HA let you swap as long as you only have 1 extra bedroom for your needs eg im "entitled" to 3 bed, but can swap for a four bed.

DSM Tue 15-Jan-13 13:15:11

Obviously not in practice, no.

What I do think is that one should accept a HA house when they need it. If they no longer need it, and can afford to rent/buy, then they should no longer be 'entitled' to it.

You have said that your rent would be c.£500 a month more if you went private. So basically, you don't want to decrease your lifestyle to afford that. Therefore, there is no incentive for anyone to move out of social housing.

isthisunreasonable Tue 15-Jan-13 13:15:27

Lonely bunny - How very dare you consider another child, being social housing scum and all! grin Yours sounds very similar to our story, I'm glad you're happy in your new home and if our swap goes ahead I'm sure we will be too.

LadyBeagleEyes Tue 15-Jan-13 13:15:45

There is so much jealousy on this thread.
'If I can't have it, why should you' type attitude.
Blame the Government, not those that live in social housing, and campaign for lower rents and more social housing rather than knock the Op.

Bogeyface Tue 15-Jan-13 13:16:04

Every post of yours DSM gets more bitter and "Poor meeeee!"

The fact of the matter is that the OP isnt doing anything wrong. IF you think it is unfair then you need to protest to those in charge of policy making, not demand anyone who gets a bit of a win out of it give up their good fortune just to make you feel better!

Whining about fairness wont make a blind bit of difference to the OP or the policy makers.

holidaysarenice Tue 15-Jan-13 13:16:26

I would definitely take it, regardless of anything else you'll need the space. The other couple want your house, fair deals no-one is being pushed.

And the older couple could well be fored to move, even financially forced when the new rules enter play.

Enjoy your new home!!

isthisunreasonable Tue 15-Jan-13 13:16:55

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DSM Tue 15-Jan-13 13:17:14

So you think it is fair that some people get half price housing, for an unlimited amount of time - which they can upgrade when they fancy more children, and other people get no part of this?

That's fair to you? hmm

BaresarkBunny Tue 15-Jan-13 13:17:52

My husband is in the military so luckily we live in military housing. I have no idea how we will afford to rent/buy when he leaves. Both our families are in the SE.

Can the people who disagree with op honestly say they wouldn't do the same or at the very least if they lived in HA housing and couldn't comfortably pay more rent, would they move and rent privately?

Bogeyface Tue 15-Jan-13 13:18:19

And no doubt you will get a grant from the HA to do the work to the house to turn it into a lifetime family Dream home?

Where do you get this crap from Pure?! The HA will make sure that the house is habitable, that is fit to live in, not a palace. That doesnt include (or atleast around here it doesnt) the garden, decor or carpets. All of the must be paid for by the tenant.

It would help your argument no end if you stopped making things up.

Lonelybunny Tue 15-Jan-13 13:18:26

We both work full time and really crappy hours , sorry but I was given the opportunity I took it, we pay full rent too so we don't have any help with our rent at all.

Lol well she is a person no? A baby is a person smile

DSM Tue 15-Jan-13 13:18:30

There is no bitterness.

I just find it really sad that someone is handed all this and seems to think it's fair. It isn't!

creighton Tue 15-Jan-13 13:19:06

isthis..and lovebunny the council has to house people who exist now not mythical, magical, future beings. that is fair. i could go to my council and insist that i intend to have 6 children and demand a 7 bedroomed house now. isn't that stupid and selfish?

isthisunreasonable Tue 15-Jan-13 13:19:43

Creighton, they won't vetoe the move. I have already called them and their policy (varies between councils and even HA's in same area) is that you are allowed up to one spare bedroom based on their child sharing bedroom rules, which for us is a 4 bedroom. Luckily this council don't class a dining room as the 5th bedroom so they have said it will go through no problem, we just need to decide if we are going to both swap and then both do the paperwork.

Bogeyface Tue 15-Jan-13 13:19:59

DSM as I just said, whining about fairness is not helpful at all.

If you disagree with current policy then do something about it. RUn for local council, county council or local MP, actually DO something instead of moaning.

DSM Tue 15-Jan-13 13:20:48

Baresark - honestly - yes I can. I absolutely would use the opportunity of a few years in HA accommodation to save up and buy a house, or be earning enough that I could move out of the council sector and be self sufficient. Maybe I have too much pride though grin

ImKateandsoismywife Tue 15-Jan-13 13:21:13

Take the swap! Ignore the rude people and do whats best for your family smile

Many councils do give grants. My neighbour did not like her staircase, she wanted a pine one, the council built it for her. She wanted french windows in her garden, they built it for her, she wanted stripped floor boards, the council came and did it for her. You absolutely must find out if the HA could fund the renovations, after all, it is their house, and their interest to keep it nice.

Lonelybunny Tue 15-Jan-13 13:21:46

We had to spend £800 on new carpets and re paint it as it was tatty but we needed the space . I would have been happy to stay in our two bed as the bedrooms were pretty big and we would have fit them
All in. I would not expect to be housed because we had another child same as someone who is buying there home wouldn't expect the bank to lend more for a bigger house cause they had another child . But the opportunity was there and our friend was practically begging to swap as he couldn't afford the rent and was in arrears so made more sense.

isthisunreasonable Tue 15-Jan-13 13:22:29

Thanks Pure, I'll do that then. It's council not HA and perhaps given the state of the place they may offer to pay for it. Even better, free upgrades to my free house wink

Dawndonna Tue 15-Jan-13 13:22:34

*If I was a housing officer, I would move OP and her family OUT of social housing, and move the elderly couple into their two bed.
If OP told me "no dont, as we plan to have two more kids" I would possibly be gobsmacked.
I think the biggest problem in housing is that tenants are given infinite tenancies rather than assessed 5-10 years down the line.
But I guess, if this was so, nobody in social housing would ever go out and work, as they might have to start paying private rent.*
a) Good job you're not then.
b) The OP, along with many, many people in social housing are in work, but don't let your prejudices get in the way of having a dig, will you.

Bogeyface Tue 15-Jan-13 13:23:21

My neighbour did not like her staircase, she wanted a pine one, the council built it for her. She wanted french windows in her garden, they built it for her, she wanted stripped floor boards, the council came and did it for her

2 words.


That might be what she told you but no council in the country would fund french windows, stripped floors and a new stair case! When I lived in a council house I spent 18 months with a massive hole in the window frame and the frame literally hanging by a thread!

SamSmalaidh Tue 15-Jan-13 13:23:29

DSM, it's not fair that you have to pay loads of money for a shitty insecure tenancy while paying someone else's mortgage. It's really, really not fair and a horrible system and of course you are right to be angry about it. But aiming your anger at ordinary, working class families who are fortunate enough to pay fair rents for a secure home is not reasonable, it's spiteful and jealous. Campaign for more social housing, for stricter laws and limits on private landlords yes - but trying to make other people's lives worse won't make yours better.

DSM Tue 15-Jan-13 13:23:33

This is a discussion on a forum. Asking me to stop discussing my points and run for local council is absurd. We are all here to discuss. If you don't like it, don't participate.

And I am not whining, nor moaning, about fairness, I am asking the OP to explain why she genuinely believes it is fair that HA houses are given on an indefinite basis, and not reassessed every few years?

I guess one reason would be that people might continue to have children so they could stay where they are/not work etc.

creighton Tue 15-Jan-13 13:23:52

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"It would help your argument no end if you stopped making things up."

Bogeyface: You are actually accusing me of lying. hmm

You think that helps your argument, whatever that is?

Lonelybunny Tue 15-Jan-13 13:25:22

DSM I agree we need more affordable housing it's unfair . We were private renting 8 yrs ago a mouldy freezing house and all my kids clothes went mouldy and they were constantly ill took us a 5 yr wait on the list to be offered an HA home. 5 yrs we lived with mould which the landlord would do nothing about and the cost of the rent was a joke.

Bogeyface Tue 15-Jan-13 13:26:29

How is she not entitled to it Creighton?

She has followed the rules, the housing officer has ok'd it, no rules have been broken.

She is only not entitled in your head, not in reality! And if she didnt swap would the other couple give up their house? No, they would stay and the house would be housing 2 people in stead of 5.

DSM Tue 15-Jan-13 13:26:58

Ha! Whose life am I making worse? I have stated numerous times that I think the OP should take the house, and fair play to her.

However, on the bigger subject a discussion has arisen about whether or not it is fair, which I don't think it is.

I used to get tax credits. The amount I got seemed unfair, simply because I had a child, in comparison to friends earning similar amounts. I don't think that was very fair. I still took the TC though.

There is a difference between having a rational, adult conversation about something and telling others they are wrong. Some people here are having difficulty differentiating between the two.

Bogeyface Tue 15-Jan-13 13:27:16

No Pure am saying that what you said is bullshit. Whether it is your neighbour or you that is lying, I dont know, but someone is!

isthisunreasonable Tue 15-Jan-13 13:27:23

Bogey, that's awful!

Our current HA are fabulous and are so quite to fix things if I call. We had someone out to fix the back door lock and he borrowed the loo and noticed the back of the seat was cracked (one of the kids dropped it too hard the week before and I hadn't got round to replacing it) He went and got one out the van and replaced it for us! smile

Perhaps the poster who said about the lady getting the french doors and replaced staircase is misinformed? Or maybe she was disabled and these were small adaptations that would make her life easier, level access to back garden, new staircase for a stairlift etc?

DawnDonna, we do not NEED the 4 bed house because we want to have more children. We would have the children if we had a 4 bed house though.

Dawndonna Tue 15-Jan-13 13:27:43

Many councils do give grants. My neighbour did not like her staircase, she wanted a pine one, the council built it for her. She wanted french windows in her garden, they built it for her, she wanted stripped floor boards, the council came and did it for her. You absolutely must find out if the HA could fund the renovations, after all, it is their house, and their interest to keep it nice.
The give grants for specific things. They don't give grants for their own properties. This is complete and utter rubbish. Your neighbour, if she owned her own property and it was a period property, would have got a grant for insulation, damp proofing and roofing.
As an ex councillor and chair of a housing committee, she's talking shite.

Incidentally, my neighbour is now looking to downsize, as rent will go up £14 per week due to under occupancy. She has a 3 bed with a dining room, that in our area is classified as a 4 bed. It is just her and her 19 year old son, and they are looking for a 2 bed.

Wallison Tue 15-Jan-13 13:28:09

Definitely take the swap - it sounds like a wonderful opportunity for you! You are not doing anything wrong, and you don't need to feel guilty.

I know that there aren't enough council/HA houses to go around, but honestly that problem is not of your making but due to thirty years of failed housing policy, none of which you are responsible for. If I got offered a council house I would bite their fucking hand off for it; everyone, including you, should have secure shelter for themselves and their family. If you've found a way to do it, then all speed.

SamSmalaidh Tue 15-Jan-13 13:29:41

What's unfair isn't that some people have decent housing, it's that many people have rubbish housing. Kicking people out of decent housing isn't going to solve the problem of rubbish private rents.

givemeaclue Tue 15-Jan-13 13:29:56


You aren't in social housing cos you haven't ever applied! "It's not fair"...put yourself on the list, be prepared to take a place smaller than ideal or that needs work. How can it not be fair when you have never been on the housing list? Be proactive on your own behalf instead of moaning.

CecilyP Tue 15-Jan-13 13:31:07

Your neighbour must have an exceptionally generous council, PQ. I have never heard of a council who changes staircases, strips wooden floor boards and installs French windows at the whim of individual tenants. They do do blanket upgrades like installing double glazing throughout an estate. They also give redecoration grants to new tenants if the previous tenant has left a property in a terrible state (in earlier years the council would have done the redoration) but no such grants are given if the property is left in reasonable order.

isthisunreasonable Tue 15-Jan-13 13:31:19

Creighton - Er no, I am not showing off at all. Showing off about a a council house that is run down and need massive work doing to it, really?

I know the rules as I called the council right away to check before my partner and I discuss whether or not we would accept the swap and before the other couple came to view ours.

I posted her for some opinions on whether people thought if it was the right thing to do morally and perhaps hoped for some alternative suggestions from others in social housing. I wasn't posting her to ask if I could move into the house if I wanted to, if that makes sense.

Allonsy Tue 15-Jan-13 13:31:26

The HA system is fair what isnt fair is that there is not enough houses to go around. HA houses are not a stop gap they are a home for life for your average working family, sadly the vast majority are in run down areas they are certainly not something to envy, anyone can apply and wait their turn. I live in a 2 bed end terrace, good sized, large garden etc but very rural nowhere near friends and family, no shops etc. All attempts for us at a mutual exchange have failed unsupringly, our only option would be to move into a private let, pay more than double the rent we pay now for a tiny flat and live in fear of eviction every month so instead we choose security over happiness, i would love to be in a position to own our own home elsewhere but that is not going to happen.

op of course you must take this house.

ComposHat Tue 15-Jan-13 13:31:26

It is disgusting the bitterness/sniping that the op is on the receiving end of here. This is mumsnet at its absolute worst.

What kind of society do we live in where a woman is made to feel that a home with a room for each of her children is something she shouldn't or is an unimaginable luxury?

If anyone has any spare anger, please direct it at

1) the council who think it is acceptable for three children to be crammed into one bedroom for FOUR YEARS
2) The Thatcher government who introduced right to buy and forbade councils from building new housing stock. Plus governments of both stripes who've allowed this madness to continue
3) Successive governments who have failed to introduce rent caps/tenant's rights in the private sector.
4) NIMBYs who have protested against housing developments whilst getting rich off the back of their own house price going up and up.
5) Property speculators and buy to let cowboys who drove prices up in the last boom.

Some people on this thread ought to be ashamed.

DSM Tue 15-Jan-13 13:31:35

Hold on quint - your neighbour has a 19 year old and he qualifies as part of her household? Seriously?!

There is something bloody wrong there. Surely he is a grown adult who can look after himself.

creighton Tue 15-Jan-13 13:31:48

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givemeaclue Tue 15-Jan-13 13:33:01

I lived in 1 bed tower block council, was small but fine, was on 4th floor. Saved deposit bought £90k 3 bedroom house. Sold that for £250k, 15 years later. Bought £500k house.

Thank you council tower block for helping me get on the property ladder I wouldn't be in my current home without that start. Rent was £32 per week. It was 15 years ago though!

The council has done a massive amount of work on the entire estate the last 10 years. They have swapped all the doors, they have replaced all the windows (proper timber windows), provided loft insulation to all the houses, they maintain all the hedges, around here it seems to me they do pretty much everything in terms of house maintenance.

Could it be that different areas have different rules?

orangepudding Tue 15-Jan-13 13:33:18

DSM if I had the choice of a secure tenancy paying £370 pcm, privately paying £1200 pcm or paying a £250,000 mortgage on identical properties in would stay in the cheapest and most secure as would many people.

SamSmalaidh Tue 15-Jan-13 13:33:51

More than one adult can live in a household confused

Chunderella Tue 15-Jan-13 13:34:00

Well DSM whether it's fair or not depends whether the person was initially given the HA home on the basis of their low income. I can see the argument that if they were given it because of being poor and they stop being poor, that's unfair. But some of us got our HA tenancies at least partially on the basis of working- that is, being richer than people who have nothing else but benefits. Mine had nothing to do with my income, nobody even asked. Maybe this is something to do with the fact that private rentals aren't much more expensive locally and most people here get some HB anyway, I don't know. Anyway, people seem to think HA tenancies are allocated on the basis of being poor, but sometimes it's the opposite. It isn't solely about need. The rationale is that you don't want ghettoes where all the low income people are herded together, that it's better for the area to mix things up a bit.

That's not to say I think the current system makes sense, I don't. It's very arbitrary. I do wish you'd stop saying that OP's housing is subsidised, though. It sounds like she's paying her own rent. As I explained upthread, those of us who pay our own rents in HA properties and cost less than that rent are subsidising, not subsidised.

Fwiw I wouldn't be against time limits, or for those of us who earn a bit more to pay more for our HA homes (mine and DHs income has gone up a lot in the six months since we got our tenancy, as he's had a promotion and I'm about to go back to work after maternity leave). With that said, most council and HA homes are a shell when you get them and you have to spend quite a bit getting them liveable. mine took months. It isn't like a private rental. It is therefore understandable that when people have invested so much time and energy into doing somewhere up, they're reluctant to give it up. This could be got round, though.

DSM, he is still in education.

But if the rules that the op is talking about, with a spare bedroom, then I guess this will be the reason why my neighbour will move into a 2 bed with her son?

creighton Tue 15-Jan-13 13:35:51

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DSM Tue 15-Jan-13 13:35:55

givemeaclue I would need to wait years, according to the council website, as I fit absolutely none of the criteria for priority.

I hope in 'years' time, I will be buying my own house.

I am not moaning about my situation, nor am I criticising the OP for hers. I am merely raising the discussion that the system does seem grossly unfair, and I personally think it should be reassessed every so often.

I honestly think that anyone who doesn't agree with that sentiment is being defensive over something they have, and don't want to lose.

LadyBeagleEyes Tue 15-Jan-13 13:36:29

Sorry Quint, but that is the biggest load of crap I've ever heard.
Councils have a duty of care to their properties and every few years some are listed for improvements, it's their property and they have to look after it.
That would include things like central heating, insulation or double glazing, you can't just call them and give them a list of what you want.
It's a sensible investment for them.
My HA property is quite new, it didn't have a shower, I had it put in myself, as have all my neighbours.
Though I wish you were right, I would love new stripped floorboards and French windows.

purpleflower123 Tue 15-Jan-13 13:36:52

When doing a mutual exchange the council or HA don't do it up. You take it on as it is.

My new house was a state, it's up to us to fix it up. As it will be my home until we choose to leave it I will put the effort in and make it nice (it will take a long time due to money) if my tenancy was only 5 years it wouldn't be worth it for me to do.

Seabird72 Tue 15-Jan-13 13:37:05

do the swap - you need the bigger space with 3 kids and a bigger garden - you might fit at the moment but a couple of years down the line could feel differently and you are in a 2 bed house that is actually ideal for someone else who wants to swap.

DSM, buying your own house is not such a bad thing though. At least you wont have to move and downsize as your children move out, and you will have something to leave behind for them. You can build and work on a dream home that is actually your own, and know that the money you spend will benefit you and your family for years to come.

DSM Tue 15-Jan-13 13:39:46

quint Ah, I didn't think of that blush

orange I think that you have answered the bigger issue yourself there, why would anyone want to own their own home when they can do whatever modifications they like to a council home, for a fraction of the money?

chunder I see your point, I apologise for using the word subsidised. I was just referring to the fact that she said she pays £325 and it would be £500 if it weren't a HA house.

Feminine Tue 15-Jan-13 13:40:32

Still so much misunderstanding about social housing here...still the same crap is posted time and again, by posters that still don't get it!

sometimes HA/council tenants pay full rent, sometimes they don't. This is the same in private rentals.

What op is hoping to do is totally the way it works in HA/council housing. There is the option to swap with other tenants ...that would like to.

It is just a little perk. Just like house values wink a nice thing that can sometimes happen.

isthisunreasonable Tue 15-Jan-13 13:41:34

It's not all fluffy and happy living in social housing, you don't just "get" a house, despite popular belief.

I had something awful happen in my life which resulted in me and my baby being homeless. We lived in a hostel for nearly a year, it was shit, really really shit. Then we lived in a one bed flat for a year, that was pretty shit too. As it was what the council call "temporary accommodation" the rent was much higher than normal social housing and I paid nearly £700 a month (similar to private rental places). I waited a year on "the list" and eventually got offered this lovely 2 bed house, which is perfect, my rent nearly halved from the shit one bed flat to this lovely 2 bed house. (Maybe one of the council / HA employees knows hwy this is as it nearly made me homeless again, homeless from temporary accommodation lol).

purpleflower123 Tue 15-Jan-13 13:41:36

There is still the option of a 3 way swap. There are more 3 beds wanting a 4 than 3 beds wanting a 2. So you could find a 3 bed that way if you didn't want to take the 4.

DSM Tue 15-Jan-13 13:42:08

Quint - I don't know if you have misread my post, or maybe I worded it badly (probably blush) but I was referring to whomever told me to join the HA waiting list.

I would need to wait years, and in a few years I would rather be buying my own house than moving into a HA house.

I want to own my own house.

But - I can see why people in HA houses don't want to move - they have all the benefits of owning (can decorate, can do modifications etc) but don't have to pay for it.

Lady, I dont know why they have done all that for my neighbour! The council was asking ME to re-tarmac our shared pathway, as they said they would not do this as half the path were mine, but otherwise they would have done it for her. She was mighty annoyed with me for standing in the way of a nice new path. hmm The housing officer actually knocked on the door to ask me. He wanted to strike a deal, saying if I did the work on the path now, they could maintain it. (like they have failed to maintain most roads around here, I should imagine, it is pot hole mayhem)

I thought naively perhaps, that the councils were really doing all this sort of renovation work for everybody, like the staircase, stripped floors, french windows, etc?

Wallison Tue 15-Jan-13 13:43:30

Yes, DSM, it is very unfair that there aren't enough council houses to go round. It is also very unfair that private tenancy is about as regulated as fucking cockle picking and costs the country billions of ££s in housing benefit paying off bloody landlords' property empires.

However, there are solutions to those problems that don't involve taking away security from council tenants, and that are fair and just for everyone. For eg, rent capping, long-term lets with a break clause for tenants, building more council houses etc. Just because private tenants get the shitty end of the stick, doesn't mean that council tenants also should do and that makes it all 'fair' somehow.

Chunderella Tue 15-Jan-13 13:44:45

Ok DSM but I think the idea that people who are paying a fair rent rather than a grossly overinflated one are being subsidised is a big indication of the housing problem we have in Britain. What we need is an end to nimbyish planning controls, an end to right to buy (I say this as someone who has family who benefitted from it and therefore indirectly benefitted myself) betetr protection for private renters and the building of more HA homes generally. Not for the third of the population who aren't getting screwed by rents to get screwed so that the third who are feel better about it! We're going to get Option B, though. The government want HAs and councils to increase their rents towards those of the private sector. No doubt some of the private tenants on here will be happy about that. Personally I wouldn't have been, when i was renting privately.

JakeBullet Tue 15-Jan-13 13:45:14

I am in a HA home and the kitchens are done every 25 years apparently. As far as I know I cannot make any alterations to the property apart from painting, putting up shelves etc. In other words I can make it look nice as long as I don't alter the structure of it.

I have a secure tenancy but the house is not and never will be mine.

DSM Tue 15-Jan-13 13:45:51

I'm not entirely sure how private renting isn't regulated or whatever, and costing billions in housing benefit, but I would be intrigued to know more?

bellamafia Tue 15-Jan-13 13:46:47

All I'm thinking about is the tax I'm paying each month being used to pay for someone's lifestyle like this. CRINGE!!!!!!

Matildaduck Tue 15-Jan-13 13:46:55

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creighton Tue 15-Jan-13 13:47:57

social housing rents are like this.

social rents, charged by councils and housing associations. these are a fraction of 'market rents' i.e. £70-90 a week for a one bed flat.

at present councils charge v. low rents and these will be brought in line with housing assocation rents.

intermediate rents are higher than social rents, but substantially lower than market rents i.e £110 a week for a one bed flat. i believe these are offered to working people who are not yet in social housing

market rents £150-200 a week for a one bed flat open to anyone who can afford it.

JakeBullet Tue 15-Jan-13 13:48:21

And if I do any "making it look nice" I absolutely DO have to pay for it. If the HA decide to out in a new kitchen that's their decision and not mine.

Kormachameleon Tue 15-Jan-13 13:48:22

If you are eligible for it then its just perfect for you

Good luck, I hope it goes to plan and you get the extra space for your children to enjoy x

CecilyP Tue 15-Jan-13 13:49:24

New windows and loft insulation thoughout an estate is normal. Individual, fancy home improvements is not. Neither is maintaining hedges, except for elderly or disabled tenants.

DSM Tue 15-Jan-13 13:50:03

Matilda - I don't think the fact that I live where I do, and can't move to another country, as has been suggested, makes me a victim. hmm

I am very empowered to change my situation, as we are currently saving to buy a house. That is my choice.

But I'm such a victim wink

Wallison Tue 15-Jan-13 13:51:56

How on earth are you funding council tenants' 'lifestyles', bellamafia, if they work and pay their rent? Incidentally, the rent they pay is a fair rent, determined as what is appropriate for the type of property they have. If anything, you are funding private tenants' 'lifestyles', because the rent they have to pay is so over the odds that many of them, even though they are working, can't afford to pay it and so get housing benefit. Except that this housing benefit then goes into the landlord's pocket, so actually I suppose that your taxes are really funding them and their 'investment choices'.

Now, doesn't that make you feel all warm inside?

Lonelybunny Tue 15-Jan-13 13:52:12

Down here ha rents are rising closer to private rents
£850 for a 3 bed HA home which is more then we were paying for a private rent 3 years ago ?

creighton Tue 15-Jan-13 13:52:36

kormachameleon, what about the families that need the space that isthis...will be wallowing in? what about them? when do they get to enjoy a an adequate home?

WileyRoadRunner Tue 15-Jan-13 13:53:02

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creighton Tue 15-Jan-13 13:56:13

wiley i do think she is unreasonable to take more than she is entitled to. and it think the rest of you are immoral to encourage such greed when others are in trouble. i like the fact that the op returns with a sob story about how she had it hard in the past and is now happy to be a part of making things hard for others who need bigger homes. oh the irony!

WilsonFrickett Tue 15-Jan-13 13:56:17

jump thread has moved on massively but didn't want to not answer your question.

If I ruled the world:

I would rescind the right to buy immediately and return social/council housing to what it was intended to be - an asset which is lent to people for their lifetime, returning to the council or HA for the good of the next person afterward. I would then build more social housing.

I would also bring the empty houses that all councils have on their books (shamefully) paying for the work with a rent premium.

I would ensure HA rents were fair market rent and publish that formula. I would also bring in legislation to apply 'fair market rents' to housing in the private sector too. And if I couldn't do that I would remove all taxation burden from private landlords up to that agreed local market rate and then make it swingeing on any rental income above that level, because essentially the problem here is there are two market rates - HA's one and private landlord's one.

WilsonFrickett Tue 15-Jan-13 13:56:59

^^ should read 'I would also bring the empty houses back in to use' blush

McNewPants2013 Tue 15-Jan-13 13:58:18

this house is probably worth more now, because i took it from the tip is was to a nice home.

every wall has been replastered, had a BT line installed, free sat ariels fitted in every room. decorated and carpeted the garden has been converted from a jungle with 1/2 garden covered in rubbish ( we had to do 30 trips to the tip) to a flat safe and secure garden The house is well maintained.

if the HA wants me to move to a smaller house then after all the effort, time and money we have put into this house i would want a house that was similar.

ideally i want to buy this house, but i cant see that happening

Samnella Tue 15-Jan-13 13:59:08

Go for it. I hope it works out for you

DoodlesNoodles Tue 15-Jan-13 13:59:52

TAKE IT! grin grin grin

It sounds fantastic.

I hope you and your family enjoy it.

FannyFifer Tue 15-Jan-13 14:01:25

The entire town I grew up in was council housing, think there were 2 possibly 3 private estates.

We were one of the "New Towns" in Scotland.

The main prob became people buying their council house then selling it on so a lot of the stock was then lost.
The only dodgy areas are ones where private landlords ended up with a lot of property and don't maintain nor give a fuck about it.

The snobby attitude re Council housing I find most peculiar as that's pretty much all there was in my local area. Most people applied for a council house, that was the norm.

The village I live in now has loads of council houses, ex council houses housing association houses plus the original older village houses, there's no stigma at all re where you live.

expatinscotland Tue 15-Jan-13 14:01:29

'I do think its bonkers that people aren't continually assessed to see if they need council housing - get a foot in the door and you're sorted for life seems so wrong.'

What is wrong is that private rentals are short-assured. Even if you get a longer contract, find me one that doesn't have that good ol' two-months notice clause. So that tens of thousands of people over-stretched themselves and made foolish financial decisions in order to have a modicum of stability for themselves and their families.

And now, the government must keep interest rates artificially low, at the expense of the greater public, to avoid tens of thousands of people getting repossessed and made homeless (and then stuck trying to find a private landlord who'll take their kids, their bad credit, and possibly their unemployment, too).

What's wrong is that private rentals are so highly discriminatory - no kids, no HB at all, no pets. Etc. Etc.

What's wrong is that successive governments have allowed the price of housing to get so over-inflated that we, the taxpayer, have been paying for individuals to have the mortgage on a home that is not their principal domain so that thousands of hard-working people have a roof over their heads because private renting is so ridiculously expensive in this country.

Not an elderly couple swapping to downsize their property. Would you be pillorying them for staying in that four-bed house? Because guess what? They can. The government's rules about HB claimants under-occupying don't apply to pensioners.

If the OP is low-income, then even now, with the three kids she has, any housing officer is likely to re-assess and find they need the HA home. Why?

Because private renting is so over-inflated in price that if they move to it, they will need partial HB, which is paid for by the taxpayer.

ILikeBirds Tue 15-Jan-13 14:01:49

We live in an ex-council house (3 bed)

Our neighbour is a council tenant, rent is £300 per month.

We were lucky enough to be able to save a deposit and buy our house, our mortgage is £500 per month.

Two doors away is a house that is rented privately, rent is £575 per month.

When the figures work out like that it's not hard to see why the family at the mercy of a private landlord paying nearly double the rent of a council tenant are a little bit resentful of their situation.

Wallison Tue 15-Jan-13 14:02:17

Incidentally, for everyone bleating about council housing being subsidised and the like, it might be worth pointing out that provision for that housing is running at a surplus ie councils give money to the treasury because they are making more than they spend on housing.

zumbaholic Tue 15-Jan-13 14:05:36

God what a lot of bitterness on this thread. If it helps I spent 9 months, 5 floors up, in a hostel with mould and live wires hanging out the wall, before accepting the 2bed 1st floor flat i have now, i certainely wasnt just handed it on a plate!
As for social rents, they are steadily replacing social rents and replacing them with 80% market rate, which is not that much cheaper than private renting.

I could really do with a 3 bed house now but I have been on the waiting list 3 yrs now and nothing suitable has come up yet. It takes patience and managing the best you can with what you already have. stupid rules dont help either-Id happily swap to a 2 bed house (massive problems with downstairs neibor) but because of the rules id be over occupying so i have to stay in my flat until a 3 or 4 bed comes up :-/

Oh also, the rules are (maybe already have) changing so any new tenants who go into social housing will be assessed at intervals during their tenancy to see if they are still elidgable to live there- this does not apply to exsisting tenants, only new tenants- so thatll make the system alot fairer.

Mumsyblouse Tue 15-Jan-13 14:07:40

expat you are so right.

expatinscotland Tue 15-Jan-13 14:07:48

'All I'm thinking about is the tax I'm paying each month being used to pay for someone's lifestyle like this. CRINGE!!!!!! '

Yes, I look at our taxes and think of: all the second and plus homes we buy for MPs who want a 32% pay rise, too; all the taxes we pay whilst huge corporations get off without paying their fair share; all the big bonuses some get for doing shite jobs; the rising costs of heat and fuel and the taxes we pay on these so the select few can profit; how big business is allowed to pay shite wages so the select few, yep, those shareholders again, get a huge profit whilst the rest of us are stuck paying the bill via the tax credits and HB so many, increasing numbers, of full-time working people have to claim just to eat and have a roof over their heads.

CRINGE? That all makes me retch, really.

creighton Tue 15-Jan-13 14:09:50

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expatinscotland Tue 15-Jan-13 14:10:01

'When the figures work out like that it's not hard to see why the family at the mercy of a private landlord paying nearly double the rent of a council tenant are a little bit resentful of their situation.'

Then why not direct that resentment at the source: a government which allowed this to happen. And continues to.

expatinscotland Tue 15-Jan-13 14:13:59

'i am not happy with someone taking more than they need and thus depriving another family that needs the space. i am annoyed at all the greedy buggers on this thread who are happy to see families deprived of homes they need just because someone is 'entitled' through bad planning on the part of a local authority or housing association. '

How is she depriving? It's a swap! The people who have the space won't vacate it unless they have this swap. How is it bad planning on the part of the HA? She's low-income, she'd be allocated a 3-bed or possibly that 4-bed, anyway, depending on the HA. Now she's found a swap.

Or would it be better for the OP's family to go private, pay a private landlord's mortgage and any profit, then possibly be made homeless in 4 months time when that landlord decides to sell up or not renew the contract (that's assuming she finds one with the partial HB she'd have to claim in the private market, and one that'll take 3 kids)?

Kormachameleon Tue 15-Jan-13 14:17:05

"kormachameleon, what about the families that need the space that isthis...will be wallowing in? what about them? when do they get to enjoy a an adequate home?"

She has three children and a four bed home - I dint see how that is wallowing ? It's a bedroom per child , hardly excessive
I don't see your problem

As a homeowner I certainly wouldn't cram 5 people into a two bedroom house - we have 3 beds and only 3 of us
Why should people in social housing be squashed if the property Is available ?

HiggsBoson Tue 15-Jan-13 14:17:51

I don't think the shitness of the system is the OP's fault, but talk of having a 4th or even 5th child is twisting the knife a bit hmm

OwlLady Tue 15-Jan-13 14:19:18

I agree with composhat and expat too.

I think OP should take the house and feel no guilt smile

There have been some horrible sniping threads just lately on here about people who feel sorry for themselves because they have some burning resentment that someone else is getting 'their money' and what they have put in. A woman who cares for her severely disabled child yesterday was told that she wasn't saving the economy money because carers care for people who are their responsibility. Is empathy at all time low?

and I have committed a MN SIN by mentioning a deleted post on another thread I know

Feminine Tue 15-Jan-13 14:20:14

Higgs why?

BananaramaLlama Tue 15-Jan-13 14:24:07

Could you take it and then go on the list again for a 3 bedroom which you could then swap into if a bigger family wanted to swap out? Like a stepping stone, but getting the other couple what they want and you more space on the way?

creighton Tue 15-Jan-13 14:25:21

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Chunderella Tue 15-Jan-13 14:25:55

Personally, as a HA tenant who pretty much did get her home offered on a plate and who could afford a private rental, I have no problem with families who are being shafted in the private sector and who want a HA home but can't get one being resentful of me. Sure, the fucked housing system in this country isn't my fault. The shit started before I was born and I can do nothing about it. Of course I'm not to blame. But I think it's perfectly rational to be jealous and bitter about the beneficiaries- if, and only if, they have something you'd want yourself.

What I can't understand is people who are not subsidising me and who would never in a million years choose to live in my home being resentful. Because really, outside the poorest, people are not queueing up to live on council estates. Certainly not outside the south east, anyway. DH and I are rather unusual in having made the choice we have, and we wouldn't have done it if I weren't from the area. Middle class people, as I am now, simply don't want to live on deprived council estates in any great number when they have the choice.

HiggsBoson Tue 15-Jan-13 14:26:05

Because it's highly bloody unfair. If they can afford a huge family then they can afford to move on and let a genuinely hard up family take on the accommodation.

LadyBeagleEyes Tue 15-Jan-13 14:28:51

creighton what makes you any more an expert on social housing than expat?

Feminine Tue 15-Jan-13 14:29:02

but higgs it doesn't work that way.

op is allowed to have more kids.

We were a "genuinely hard up" I still think how things work in the social sector are fine. Its the private side of things that needs fixing!

Life isn't fair. I'm sure you have had good fortune in others ways haven't you?

expatinscotland Tue 15-Jan-13 14:30:51

I love it when people tell you to get a grip and reel it in just because someone doesn't agree with them grin. It gives them so much credibility.

I live in a HA home. Have lived in others, too, and a council one.

'as i said before the council should be approaching people to entice them out of bigger homes into appropriate sized homes so that the local authority can allocate the larger homes to those that need them. they then keep a control on their housing stock. they should also veto the move then approach the older couple directly to give them what they want.

the bad planning is poor rehousing/exchange policy, they should not allow people to swap and get extra bedrooms.'

Some HAs are, and some councils are. Others, depending on their resources or stock, simply tell tenants to try to find a swap. That's what ours does (no council housing anymore, only HA).

Many HAs have limited stock, too, so may not be able to offer a 3-bed to the OP, but it's better to have the couple in the two-bed (their entitlement is actually only a one-bed) and the family in the house, so they approve swaps like this, because they don't have a one-bed for the couple or a 3-bed for the family - this is what they've got.

But hey, keep it coming with the personal insults, as I said, they always lend so much credence to a person's posts.

isthisunreasonable Tue 15-Jan-13 14:31:34

Higsbosom - Do you mean us "move on"? We are currently in a small 2 bed house with 3 kids, one of whom is a teenager, we don't actually have this 4 bed house yet remember and we can't seem to find a mutual exchange with a 3 bed house either.

If we have to stay here then so be it, we certainly wouldn't have any more children. if we had a bigger house then we would love to have 1 or 2 more and we could, if we had the larger house, I'm not saying we "need" a bigger house so we can have more.

Oh and yes, if we have the larger house we can afford another child as we both work and we have very low social housing rent to pay. We are very fortunate as I have said many times and we are very lucky to have a social housing tenancy. We do see that, especially from what others have said on this thread, we are in the minority in that we work and have social housing.

creighton Tue 15-Jan-13 14:33:43

ladybeagle i have worked in social housing for almost 20 years

kormachameleon, if you pay for your house you can have 3 people in 10 bedrooms if you like. people who approach the local authority to provide them with housing need to accept that the pressure for housing is such that children need to share rooms. if your children are too good to share buy your own house. it is only recently that children developed a 'need' for their own rooms. until recently 3 or 4 children in a room was tolerable.

as i said, the local authority is supposed to work for the benefit of as many residents as possible, not to indulge a lucky few.

how hard is that to understand?

HiggsBoson Tue 15-Jan-13 14:34:35

Yikes! This isn't going to read very well to those paying private rents and mortgages with both adults working who are having to stop at ONE child for financial reasons sad

creighton Tue 15-Jan-13 14:36:52

expat, i did not insult you, i gave you an instruction. there is a difference

purpleflower123 Tue 15-Jan-13 14:41:44

You could do a 3 way exchange.

There are more people with a 3 bed looking for a 4 than there are 3 beds looking for 2.

The 4 bed couple would move to yours, you would move to a 3 bed and the 3 bed would move to the 4. You may even find you can get a 3 bed in a better condition than the the 4 as there will be more choice.

I have been watchinn the exchange websites etc for a couple of years while trying to find myself a swap.

Feminine Tue 15-Jan-13 14:43:48

I understand that higgs but that is nothing to do with op she is dealing with the cards she has.

You must have had good fortune in other areas of your life?

HiggsBoson Tue 15-Jan-13 14:49:17

Not really Feminine, but I deal with it.

Many OPs, not just this one, need to be mindful of the times we are in and exercise some flippin' tact.