To really not understand the logic behind "lifetime tenancies"

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

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

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

VenusRising Mon 02-Sep-13 17:34:54

I like your user name- was that from that thread the other day? It was hilarious.

Sorry I can t tell you anything useful about the tenancies.

Trills Mon 02-Sep-13 17:37:39

No, it doesn't make a lot of sense.

Nice idea at the time maybe?

I'm pretty sure that there should be a way to charge on a sliding means-tested scale that reflects "how much would you have to pay to get the same house if it were with a private landlord?", such that people who are privately renting and in receipt of housing benefit are no worse off than people who rent from the council (in receipt of housing benefit or not).

Wallison Mon 02-Sep-13 17:39:08

Do people reach an age where they stop needing a home? If not, then that's why there are lifetime tenancies.

Wallison Mon 02-Sep-13 17:41:03

Incidentally, in large swathes of the continent, all tenancies are effectively 'lifetime' in that tenants are entitled to stay in their homes as long as they keep on paying rent. It's only in this country that we are obsessed with tenants have no rights and being kicked out of their homes for no reason. Who has got it right?

hettienne Mon 02-Sep-13 17:41:58

Council housing was designed to provide decent, stable homes for everyone who needed it. It isn't a safety net for in desperate situations (that is what housing benefit is for after all).

What's unfair is that there isn't enough social housing for everyone who needs/wants it - much more needs to be built.

Council housing rents are below private rents because they are not designed to make profits. The rent is set to cover the maintenance of the building, staffing costs etc. Most council housing has paid for itself many times over now and councils and HAs do make a surplus from rents.

If people are kicked out of their homes if their circumstances improve, a few things will happen:
housing estates will become ghettos where no one cares about their homes or community as they know they are temporary
people won't risk getting jobs/better jobs as they risk losing stability, having to leave their jobs, take their children out of school etc.
communities will be destroyed

KissMeHardy Mon 02-Sep-13 17:46:51

My sister has been in her council house for 40 years. She treats it as 'her home'. The house and garden are immaculate. Because her circumstances have changed, why should she be kicked out to go somewhere where she doesn't know her neighbours and has no friends?

This wouldn't happen if she owned it, would it?

Trills Mon 02-Sep-13 17:48:37

I don't think anyone should be kicked out, but I do think that it's silly that two people who have the same circumstances now could be paying such a different amount of rent for two very similar houses, based on what their circumstances were like in the past.

Nancy66 Mon 02-Sep-13 17:49:44

I think it's misguided - it's why you end up with people in London earning over £100k but occupying council homes.

Circumstances change and tenants would be re-assessed.

ImagineJL Mon 02-Sep-13 17:49:48

A friend if my Mum's lives in a council house. A few years ago she inherited 250k. Whilst I can see the arguments for not uprooting people and forcing them to move, it just feels wrong that someone can have a hugely affluent lifestyle whilst living in a council property, when there are people in dire need of housing. She's also a single woman in a family home, but that's a whole other debate!

Tortington Mon 02-Sep-13 17:50:37

no life time tenancies anymore
forced to declare income to pay fairer share of rent rather than lower rents

no sure why the argument is envy over lower tenancies and not anger at high LL rents

no anger at the rape of the benefits system

no anger at the dismantling of secure homes for vulnerable people

no anger that the government for what effectively amounts to funding cuts to build homes the treasury slashed grants to social housing by 60%

you know why you can't get a council house at lower than market rent?

becuase successive governments have been total fuckers

DrinkFromMyFountain Mon 02-Sep-13 17:53:03

Fair enough wallison I don't dispute that you ever stop needing a home. I do however think that you won't always need the same home. I find it very odd that a single woman earning £40k whose children have all left home would still technically be entitled to live in her council house.

Wallison Mon 02-Sep-13 17:53:18

<<I don't think anyone should be kicked out,>>

So you agree with lifetime tenancies then? Excellent.

Trills Mon 02-Sep-13 17:54:23

I agree with sticking to your commitments. I don't necessarily agree that those commitments were the best idea in the first place, but once you've promised something you should do as you promised.

expatinscotland Mon 02-Sep-13 17:56:22


DrinkFromMyFountain Mon 02-Sep-13 17:56:55

kissme because I am assuming based on your posts that she doesn't need the house? Therefore why should she get to stay in it over someone who does actually need it when she can afford to rent somewhere else confused.

Of course it would be different if she owned it! Not sure what you're getting at?

Wallison Mon 02-Sep-13 17:57:57

Well said, Tortington. There is a massive crisis with housing in this country where landlords are about as unregulated as fucking cocklepicking gang-masters, with private tenants paying out extortionate sums of money to live in often sub-standard homes and only ever two months away from eviction and incidentally costing the taxpayer £billions every year which goes straight into the coffers of people building up their own private property empires, and yet the problem is that council tenants aren't being made homeless? Ffs.

Trills Mon 02-Sep-13 17:58:07

No need for housing benefit for people in council houses (you are just giving the money and then taking it straight back again) - just charge them between £0 and "market rent" depending on their income and needs.

Use the extra money that is made to give more/better housing benefit to people who are in private rentals.

People who are in council housing and on low income or with higher needs do just as well as before.

People in private rentals and on low income or with higher needs do better than before.

People in private rentals and not on low income have nothing change.

People in council housing and not on low income have to pay a bit more - but why shouldn't they?

Wallison Mon 02-Sep-13 17:59:11

<<kissme because I am assuming based on your posts that she doesn't need the house? >>

Of course she doesn't. She could go and live on the streets. Tenants don't actually need somewhere to live, so why the frig do they have houses at all?

Trills Mon 02-Sep-13 17:59:23

Better regulation of private landlords is a related but separate issue (and a complicated one, due to house price bubbles, over-lending, negative equity, etc).

KissMeHardy Mon 02-Sep-13 18:00:24

Drink - yes, she does need a council house, she is retired on basic state pension. She can't afford to rent somewhere else.

What I was getting at is that people want to stay in THEIR HOME. If you start kicking people out as soon as their circumstances change they are not going to respect the council house they are in, will treat it like a temporary place, and the Councils will lose out big time.

WafflyVersatile Mon 02-Sep-13 18:01:25

Why is your complaint not that 'more council houses should be built so they are available to all that want them instead of having to be rationed out'? Why is your complaint that people shouldn't be allowed to stay in their home if their circumstances change?

fancyabakeoff Mon 02-Sep-13 18:01:28

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

DrinkFromMyFountain Mon 02-Sep-13 18:01:43

YY trills.

To clarify - I wasn't saying the private rental market isn't a mess (I am well aware that it is), I'm all for more regulation in the private sector. This doesn't change how I feel about social housing.

KissMeHardy Mon 02-Sep-13 18:03:16

Well said fancyabakeoff. And don't even get me started on Right to Buy which was the single factor that depleted the stock of council housing down to it's dire level now.

usualsuspect Mon 02-Sep-13 18:04:48

Council house envy again?

DrinkFromMyFountain Mon 02-Sep-13 18:04:56

fancy you are completely missing the point. I have never and will never look down on someone who lives in a council house.

I strongly believe that everyone who needs a council house should get one. That includes building more social housing.

expatinscotland Mon 02-Sep-13 18:05:20

'To clarify - I wasn't saying the private rental market isn't a mess (I am well aware that it is), I'm all for more regulation in the private sector.'

So you started a thread about council/social housing. I see. hmm

tabulahrasa Mon 02-Sep-13 18:06:10

"This strikes me as very unfair because obviously people's circumstances can change, and one could say, get a substantial pay rise or get married to a higher earning partner who then moves into the council house."

But they could be in that financial position when they get the tenancy, council housing isn't means tested.

OliviaMMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 02-Sep-13 18:08:41

Quick beginning of term link to our guidelines

usualsuspect Mon 02-Sep-13 18:09:55

Just ignore them, fancy.

Like they would want to live on a council estate anyway.

They like to talk about CH tenants like they are another species.

usualsuspect Mon 02-Sep-13 18:10:36

Goady goady goady.

Tortington Mon 02-Sep-13 18:11:27

if more social housing was built thee wouldn't be a problem

therein lies the problem.

gosh DMF, you are so lucky, i have now simply solved your problem.

in short

there isn't enough social housing because the govt are fuckers


BrokenSunglasses Mon 02-Sep-13 18:11:32

Social housing was supposed to be available for everyone, not only people who couldn't afford a home any other way.

Of course now there is a shortage, councils have had to devise ways of making sure those most in need get first dibs.

I agree that tenancies should be reviewed more frequently, but I don't think homes should be taken away from people who have managed to improve their situation. If you know that you are going to be turfed out of your home for earning more, then you have no incentive to provide for yourself.

Trills Mon 02-Sep-13 18:11:40

<waves to Olivia>

Lampshadeofdoom Mon 02-Sep-13 18:13:59

so Jane doe is on jsa. Gets a council house, she has two kids , gets a job earning 30k.

She then has to move? Uproot the kids from school, from her support network of neighbours and friends?
Find 1k plus deposit and bond etc?

Why? Council house application in most areas isn't income dependent. You would just keep people down as they wouldn't want to earn more and lose their homes.

MrsDeVere Mon 02-Sep-13 18:15:13

The point in the OP is moot surely?

There are no lifetime tenancies.

You don't get 'given a free house' as it is so often put on threads on MN and NM.

You are allowed to rent a property subject to certain terms and conditions.

Frankly I would rather have a nightmare family in social housing live next to me than a nightmare family in their own house. At least I would have a chance of getting the social housing family kicked out.

specialsubject Mon 02-Sep-13 18:17:30

ah, Wallison the landlord-hater again. Might be worth reading a little bit on the law about tenancies and tenant rights in the UK.

tenants CANNOT be kicked out for no reason. Even if they don't pay the rent and destroy the place, it takes months to evict them legally.

doesn't mean it doesn't happen. Many things that are illegal happen.

sorry to spoil a good story with facts.

HeySoulSister Mon 02-Sep-13 18:20:18

circs can change so marriage,jobs, you'd be forever moving in and fact,no,you wouldn't. you wouldn't get a tenancy again with waiting lists being what they is it cost effective to be chopping and changing so often?

social housing aims to provide STABLILITY

fancyabakeoff Mon 02-Sep-13 18:29:08

kissmeHardy and usualsuspect. Thankyou.

I apologise for the language but my point still stands.

I read mumsnet every day but don't feel the need to post as what I want to say is usually said by someone else already therefore my voice is not needed. That voice, by the way, is usually usualsuspect. She is by far the fairest poster I have ever come across in any forum across the internet (20 years worth of observation). Keep up the good work usual! flowers I'm outta here.

Wallison Mon 02-Sep-13 18:37:31

Trills, why on earth would you want to give more money to people in private rentals - you do realise that that money just goes to private landlords.

We've tried letting the private market take care of housing and it hasn't worked. All that has happened is that it has cost us billions a year in housing subsidies, put millions on council house waiting list and left thousands of families living in B&Bs which also cost an arm and a leg. Time to turn back to public housing provision.

Wallison Mon 02-Sep-13 18:40:08

specialsubject, you say yourself that it takes 'months' to make a tenant homeless, but then in the same breath that they cannot be kicked out. So which is it?

jellybeans Mon 02-Sep-13 18:42:35

Thing is if you say if your circumstances improve you lose your home then you take away the incentive to better yourself. For example, that means that someone who can't be bothered to work would keep their tenancy yet someone who worked hard and got a better paid job would lose theirs.

Wallison Mon 02-Sep-13 18:44:31

And I am aware that tenants do have some nugatory 'rights' on paper but those are overridden by the fact that landlords can give two months' notice for no reason. So all the repairing obligations in the world won't matter a damn if the landlord can just evict them anyway.

LST Mon 02-Sep-13 18:54:01

I have a life time tenancy. My circumstances have also changed. Not by a great deal but a bit more than when I first became a tenant. I have one dc and another on the way. I have never claimed hb and don't qualify for tax credits anymore. But I don't think it's fair of anyone to say I should leave my home that I have put a hell of a lot of money into just because sad

You really think that is fair op?

Lweji Mon 02-Sep-13 18:59:40

I do think circumstances and salaries should be taken into account.

But, at the same time, it's a bit heartless to make someone move from a home they have been in for most of their lives, particularly elderly people.

Larger homes often allow family to visit, rather then being cramped in a one bed flat, for example.

However, larger salaries should attract market rates if the house is maintained to proper standards by the council. Are they, though, or the tenant has to invest a lot in it?

SoonToBeSix Mon 02-Sep-13 19:02:55

Op you are believing the tabloid/ current government myth. Council/ Ha properties were never intended for low income families they were designed as affordable homes for anyone to live in.

SoonToBeSix Mon 02-Sep-13 19:06:09

There are lots of lifetime tenancies , there is a very small number of local authorities that no longer offer them.

SoonToBeSix Mon 02-Sep-13 19:08:11

Kiss me right to buy was a good thing , what caused the problem was the fact that they "pocketed the money"instead of using it to build new homes.

Lampshadeofdoom Mon 02-Sep-13 19:08:25

Can I add as someone who has been in private rent six years, we have been made homeless as landlord remortgaged and ran with money, had two houses sold and one where landlord went bust and lost all houses. My dc have been in SEVEN schools, I wouldn't wish that on anyone.

JakeBullet Mon 02-Sep-13 19:25:46

I am very much in favour of social housing, we need far more of it, everyone needs somewhere to live.

I have a lifetime tenancy with a HA, this house cannot be bought either so will always provide an affordable home for someone. At the moment this is me and it might need to be an affordable home for DS in the future (autistic).

I do think that reassessment of need is sensible, but even more sensible would be more building of affordable housing.

JakeBullet Mon 02-Sep-13 19:26:12

Lampshade, that is awful sad

gamerchick Mon 02-Sep-13 19:46:51

I also have a lifetime tenancy but we aren't on benefits. Since this is a big house, I would like to put it back into the housing stock for a family eventually when my younglings have sorted themselves out. I have no desire to hang on to a 4 bed house forever.

The second, the mere second I get a whiff of that stability being taken away from me and being shoved into the private sector is the time I use the right to buy and take it out of social housing completely.

I really don't want to do that because these houses are thin on the ground and highly sought after around here.

I don't know why people think it's cheap (or free).. always puzzles me that.

Solopower1 Mon 02-Sep-13 20:00:00

Lampshade, how horrible for you. People who have never rented privately really don't know what it is like to be only two months away from eviction, as someone else said.

And even if it does take the land lord ages to get you out, the whole thing is so scary and stressful, most of us would move as soon as we possibly could, once given notice to leave.

My last but one land lord chose to give me notice three weeks before Christmas. By Christmas Eve I had moved.

RattersReward Mon 02-Sep-13 20:31:32

As there is a finite number of council homes I do not think that tenants should have the right to a family size home for life. Once a tenant's family has grown up and moved on that tenant should move to a smaller home so another family can live in the family home.

I don't think it is appropriate for elderly couples or single people to be living in three or four bedroomed social housing when families are on the waiting list to be homed. The length of time a person has lived in a particular house is not a good enough reason for them to keep it. If you rent a home you know it's not yours.

Lifetime tenancy should mean a right to a home for life but not necessarily the same one throughout.

I don't think keeping spare rooms for visiting relatives is a good enough argument for a tenant to keep a larger house. I live hundreds of miles away from my family, I don't have the space to put them up so if they visit they have to stay in a hotel. They don't visit very often.

Keeping a larger home because you like your neighbours is not on. I know there have been exceptional instances of councils moving some tenants out of the local authority area but it's not terrible to be asked to move from one side of, for example, Portsmouth, to the other.

I do appreciate that more social housing is required.

Wallison Mon 02-Sep-13 20:36:42

Lampshade, so sorry to hear that. It all must be immensely stressful for you.

pointythings Mon 02-Sep-13 20:36:55

I think that until the mess of the private rental sector is sorted out thoroughly, any complaining about lifetime tenancies in council housing is just about envy. It boggles my mind how people can more or less wish housing insecurity on other people, it really does.

Wallison Mon 02-Sep-13 20:39:32

<If you rent a home you know it's not yours.>

Well, you certainly do know that in this country. In others, not so much. And yet they seem to manage fine without spunking billions paying off landlords' portfolios and keeping owners of crappy B&Bs in clover.

RattersReward Mon 02-Sep-13 20:43:32

I was talking about social housing.

I thought the op was too.

WafflyVersatile Mon 02-Sep-13 20:51:29

Same here, pointy

In my borough most right to buy properties have now passed into the hands of a handful of private landlords. Great.

I don't think councils were allowed to use the money to build new housing, or at least it was discouraged.

WafflyVersatile Mon 02-Sep-13 20:53:39

But ratty why should council tenants be the ones to pay for the lack of council housing? You appreciate the need for more council housing so why is making people move home your solution?

Solopower1 Mon 02-Sep-13 20:57:19

Ratters you need to read some of the posts up thread, if you haven't already.

If you move someone out of their home when they are earning more or their children grow up and leave, there is less incentive to look after it. Moving, unstable populations can quickly make areas very deprived and undesirable to live in, and can cause social problems.

The problem really isn't lifetime tenancies. It's that there's not enough social housing. If there was enough for everyone, you would be content, wouldn't you?

Wallison Mon 02-Sep-13 20:59:20

Yup, we need more social housing. The solution to that problem is to build more social housing, not to tinker at the edges with schemes to take homes away from existing tenants/make homes less affordable for existing tenants.

expatinscotland Mon 02-Sep-13 21:00:01

V. true, Wallinson.

Feminine Mon 02-Sep-13 21:00:29

We have a lifetime tenancy. I am very grateful. I don't think I could cope with another move. My children have been through enough. I look after this place like my own, it makes sense for housing associations to keep giving l. Tenancies... It's a wonderful incentive.

flaggybannel Mon 02-Sep-13 21:01:15

my first home with DS was a private rent , good landlord who was happy to let me decorate however I wanted , kept promising me a special sort of tenancy agreement after ten years , something about that if they ever sold up , I would still be allowed to rent the house . stupidly I believed the landlord . spent thousands and hours and hours turning the garden into somewhere lovely to spend time instead of a swamp , changed kitchen fittings , knocked out an ugly brick fireplace , you get the picture .
landlord decided to sell , give me one months notice as is his right I suppose but then had the cheek to tell the buyers they could have my curtains and carpets included. I was so angry when the buyers came round after several visits to measure up when I was frantically trying to find another place to live , I will admit I even took the conifers and rose bushes I had planted with me grin and left the place in the same condition I had found it ie a shell.

I Am lucky enough to be in HA now and I take great pleasure and pride in planting up the garden and spending money on improvements as I know for sure as long as I continue to be a good tenant I will be here for as long as I want .

lifetime tenancy is needed or at least secure long term lease in decent affordable housing otherwise people will not care for council property's as they will just been seen as a stop gap for a few years.
I know I wouldn't bother painting the front door or keeping the fences in repair or all the other little things that give the place a bit of character if I knew I would be out when time was up .

just my two cents

RattersReward Mon 02-Sep-13 21:02:03

Perhaps I'm speaking on a theoretical level because we're all agreed that there is not enough social housing.

Even in an ideal world, where there is a good supply of social housing, no one could realistically expect that every tenant be supplied with a, for example, four bedroomed house. A sensible arrangement would surely be homes of a range of sizes. A young couple could initially have a one/two bedroom home, move on to a four bedroom home when they have a family, then move back to a smaller home once their family have grown up and moved on.

WafflyVersatile Mon 02-Sep-13 21:06:36

But why if they choose not to? Lots of people choose to move to a smaller home once retired but many don't.

I can just about see your point if they are having their rent paid by benefits but plenty of council tenants pay their rent from their own income.

RattersReward Mon 02-Sep-13 21:06:40

I don't think that it would reflect well on an individual if they were not willing to mow their lawn or paint their windows now because they anticipated moving house once their two year old moved out aged nineteen.

When council housing was first developed on a grand scale there were very stringent rules regarding the upkeep and maintenance of homes by tenants.

RattersReward Mon 02-Sep-13 21:10:12

Because social housing is a resource for the wider community.

I'm clearly not advocating short term renting.

midlandslurker Mon 02-Sep-13 21:12:02

The idea of making someone move out if their circumstances change eg a pay rise is total madness and completely illogical.

What about the shift worker who relies on relatives for out of hours childcare,the nurse that needs her mum to have the DC overnight and can only do the job because they live locally ?

What about the couple who only have a reasonable joint income because mum (or dad) can leave home,drop the kids at school and still make it to work for 9am and only manage to juggle kids & work commitments because of location ?

What about the employee who doesn't drive and has to rely on public transport and who applied for a position knowing that they could get to work on time -personally if I moved as little as 2 miles up the road they'd be no way I'd be able to get to work on time (given that i already drop DS at the CM at 7.20am)

What about those that rely on childcare - good suitable childcare doesn't grow on trees...........

What about the parent who supplements the family income by working evenings locally and only just manages to get to work on time because their DP is home by a certain time and their place of work is only 20 minutes away ?

People Build their lives,work commitments and that of their families around where their homes are and to suggest that people should up and move like nomads would be completely detrimental and consequently have an adverse effect on the community as people would have to think twice about trying to improve themselves and their homes.

Solopower1 Mon 02-Sep-13 21:15:21

Ratters I agree that we need all sorts of social provision.

Great post Midland.

Life just isn't about people going through phases 1 - 3. Lots of young people don't move out in one fell swoop. They need a family home to come back to when things get hard or they are unemployed for a while. Also a lot of grandparents look after their grandchildren.

It's not just the houses that are better cared for when the community is stable and well-established. It's the whole of the local economy, the schools, there's less crime etc etc.

RattersReward Mon 02-Sep-13 21:31:28

I missed the bit about forcing people on middle incomes out of social housing.

My husband and I are both shift workers and our nearest family member is at least three hours away. We have had to find ways to manage child care on our own. We spend up to ninety minutes commuting to work but will have to move further away from it in order to buy a house big enough to accommodate visitors. I'm not won over by your point there, Midland.

Solo, in my 'ideal world' there will be social housing available to young adults so they won't have to move back in with their parents. The young adults will have a relatively small home, as will their empty nest parents. A family will be living in the larger home.

MistressDeeCee Mon 02-Sep-13 21:46:16

Oh for God's sake. What's happening in this country? Working class people craning their necks sticking their noses into & brgrudging what other working class people have.

There really are many who have bought wholly into the model of chaos Cameron cleverly created. Its brought out all the little Hitlers who don't want others to have anything. A friend told me she can't wait for next election, Cameron will be gone. I'm not so sure. His army of envious curtain twitchers will carry him right back into Parliament and probably call for workhouse units to be introduced lest these working classes get a bit above themselves, & actually want to live and work to a good standard.

LessMissAbs Mon 02-Sep-13 21:59:46

Wallison Incidentally, in large swathes of the continent, all tenancies are effectively 'lifetime' in that tenants are entitled to stay in their homes as long as they keep on paying rent. It's only in this country that we are obsessed with tenants have no rights and being kicked out of their homes for no reason. Who has got it right

In parts of The Netherlands, the local authorities require tenants to move on after a certain period of time if they have too big a flat for their needs, so that others can get a chance to use it. Its a progressive policy.

In Germany, tenants are expected to do far more themselves than tenants in this country do in terms of looking after their rental property and taking responsibility for it.

The UK, and particularly Scotland, with its interpretation of the HMO Regulations, have one of the most regulated rental sectors in the world. Possibly the most regulated. My friends in other European countries can hardly believe some of the things I tell them about renting property here. Such as emergency lighting, mains operated smoke alarms and sprinkler systems, self closing doors, compulsory carpets, compulsory leases from the local authority, etc..

IneedAsockamnesty Mon 02-Sep-13 22:00:06

A poster upthread asked about council maintenance for LA houses.

In all 4 counties that I regularly work in not one LA provides any maintenance over and above the absolute minimum required for health and safety or bathroom and kitchen good home minimum standards.

Everything else is done by the tenant

LessMissAbs Mon 02-Sep-13 22:03:45

I should point out that the HMO Regulations don't apply to properties let to families. So no requirement for the high standards set by them.

Littleen Mon 02-Sep-13 22:09:34

Don't mind the lifetime tenancies, however I believe the amount paid in rent should be means tested for social tenants, and when/if they earn more etc. they would pay some more in rent, although not so much that they are not better off in other terms too, as otherwise it would take away incentive to improve their life and jobs. The additional rent charged would then go on to help create more and better social housing, which is obviously desperately needed.

personally, i think UK wages need to be hugely increased, so people can afford to live without benefits and social housing. It shouldn't be necessary for people who work full time to resort to this!

IneedAsockamnesty Mon 02-Sep-13 22:18:22

Don't mind the lifetime tenancies, however I believe the amount paid in rent should be means tested for social tenants, and when/if they earn more

They already are same as with any renters those below certain incomes get either full HB that decreases as income increases inline with circumstances those about the very low HB income cut off receive none and pay full rent.

midlandslurker Mon 02-Sep-13 22:21:43

My husband and I are both shift workers and our nearest family member is at least three hours away. We have had to find ways to manage child care on our own. We spend up to ninety minutes commuting to work but will have to move further away from it in order to buy a house big enough to accommodate visitors. I'm not won over by your point there, Midland

Your individual circumstance obviously make it possible,but you obviously wouldn't be contemplating such a move if you had to be at work for 8am and the only childcare available didn't open till 7-30 am (or even at a push 7am)

I agree"managing childcare" is all part of being a working parent,but as any working parent knows there are many,many things that need to be balanced and considered when one applies for a job - the most important one being "can I actually get there on bloody time after I've dropped the kids off "

usualsuspect Mon 02-Sep-13 22:23:44

No one cared about SH until shiney Dave and his cronies started his smear campaign in the media.

In fact people used to pity SH tenants,now they envy then.

Funny how times and opinions change with a bit of spin.

Wallison Mon 02-Sep-13 22:24:52

Sure, HMOs are regulated. Other private lets, not so much.

How many HMOs are there in the UK compared to, say, Germany anyway?

usualsuspect Mon 02-Sep-13 22:27:49

Few well placed stories about free houses and 12 bedroomed mansions and suddenly everyone wants a council house.

Well actually, they don't want a council house they just don't want anyone else to have one.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 02-Sep-13 22:32:29

The whole idea of council houses was to give those unable to afford a mortgage the chance to have a home.
You had to be respectable citizens with references and I'm sure you needed to be a working household in order to pay the rent because the benefit system wasn't good. Pretty similar to how this gov are making the system.
It is still the same today and many council houses are occupied with employed people, we all need homes of some description.

RattersReward Mon 02-Sep-13 22:32:38

Midland, we sometimes have to be at work by 4am, 8am is considered a lie in. We don't use child care, we do it ourselves.

Wallison Mon 02-Sep-13 22:35:26

Good for you. Do you suppose that, for example, a working single parent doing those shifts would also be able to looking after children with a partner without having to rely on family?


Wallison Mon 02-Sep-13 22:36:24

Anyway, Ratters, the crux of your argument seems to be 'I have it tough so I want to make it tough for other people too'. Not really winning me over, I have to say.

lougle Mon 02-Sep-13 22:37:11

We were allocated a Council House. We have a lifetime tenancy. I am so grateful. DD1 has SN, this house is safe for her, close to our parents (a major supportive influence) and has a garden she can play in safely.

We're lucky in the LA also (Hampshire). They give Discretionary Housing Scheme points once every 5 years - 8 points you can spend on a designated list of improvements. ie. 8 points for a new front door, 3 points for a double socket, 6 points for a back gate, 8 points to have one room decorated by their contractors or 1 point for £50 B&Q/Homebase vouchers. We chose the vouchers, so have £400 to decorate our home, subject to conditions (a specific list of acceptable purchases, the council have the right to inspect to see that work has been done, etc.).

Bogeyface Mon 02-Sep-13 22:41:47

The issue isnt lifetime tenancies in council housing, but the lack of stability for private tenants. I agree with comments made above about the fact that in Europe your home is your home whether you rent or buy and as long as you pay your rent, you are able to stay there and that we need to remodel housing laws in this country along the same lines.

It would cut 2 things at a stroke
1) Buy to letters snapping all affordable housing and driving prices up for buyers, who then have to rent and fall victim to.......
2) the same BtL's pushing up the cost of private rents because they have to service a mortgage and the tax on the rents they receive.

Only in the UK is property seen as an investment rather than a home, no matter who lives in it.

needaholidaynow Mon 02-Sep-13 22:41:51

Nobody can predict the future.

I'm guessing if someone got a huge pay rise or met a rich partner, then they might actually want to move somewhere else.

I'm in a council house at the moment, and I now that if I had more money I'd move. But yes, basically, this house is pretty much mine until I die if I really wanted to stay here, no matter how much money I have.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 02-Sep-13 22:46:53

I don't understand the recent envy of people who have far less than the people being envy iyswim.
People who needed benefit or lived in SH were pitied and shown empathy, I can remember being at school and there being a general consensus of it might be tough but its not as bad for us as it is for them attitude.
Perhaps it is greed, people bothered about what their neighbours have, material and technological gadgets.
Did the 1950's housewives bother about what washing machine their neighbour had? I know you were dead swanky if you had a tv in time for the coronation. (A love of social history, not memory btw).
Perhaps we didn't expect too much when I was growing up. The rats, rubbish, dark, cold, surplus of dead bodies, strikes and 3 day week saw to that.

WillIEverBeFree Mon 02-Sep-13 22:49:20

Typed major logical reply. Reasoned, intelligent and relevant.

Actually can't be arsed.

Will doff cap to OP and hope I am still so grateful in 10 years when I may have pulled myself out of the black hole of low income/high bills/prejudice/council house envy SHEER LIVING HELL.

WillIEverBeFree Mon 02-Sep-13 22:50:11

And then move. Yep, makes sense.

Wallison Mon 02-Sep-13 22:52:17

I don't think it's greed, morethan. I think it's an orchestrated attempt by Cameron and co., in cahoots with certain sections of the media, to demonise the poor by pointing out how good they've got it. So that when they take away what little the poor have, the rest of the country will let them because after all they had it so easy until the rug was pulled up from under them.

And the reason that they want to take away what little the poor have is because they are ideologically opposed to the welfare state and therefore want to shrink it. Because then private provision is the only way that anything will get done, and they can give their mates back-handers by awarding them contracts and de-regulating everything in sight to ensure that they get even more money without having to answer to anyone. It is truly fucking depressing.

Bogeyface Mon 02-Sep-13 22:59:55

I remember some years back that a couple won the lottery. They were in late middle age in a council house and worked low paid jobs.

They were keeping their jobs and staying in their house and werent going to buy it.

I was really conflicted about that. On the one hand I was happy that the house would remain council stock, but felt they were selfish as it was a 3 bed and they only used one and had the resources to move, but it was their home so why should they leave, but they were in a better position than most to do that......but but but

I never worked that one out but I did get pissed off that they didnt leave their jobs and do voluntary work. The both said that they loved working and would never stop, which is fine, but why not help the woefully understaffed voluntary sector and give a paying job to someone who need it more? Sorry, derail there, but that story popped into my head after reading this thread.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 02-Sep-13 23:03:30


I understand and agree with the point about propaganda and what the gov are doing. But is it not an attitude of greed which is enabling some people to agree with gov and fall for the spin.
I really don't care what others have or have not got and believe this is probably because I'm not materialistic.

Sorry, I really like your posts but must admit to soon becoming a ll myself.
I do intend to be fair though and as not reliant on mortgage payments will be really reasonably priced. Also considering the YMCA scheme, which pays half as much as you could get, but will probably make me feel better. grin

Bogeyface Mon 02-Sep-13 23:03:56

The Victorians blamed the poor for being poor and convinced society that the best way to deal with it was to punish them for their laziness and lack of a work ethic.

Look how well that turned out.

My Grandad once said to me, about WWII, "the day we forget is the day it happens again"

Seems to me that we have forgotten what happens when the poor are demonised.

williaminajetfighter Mon 02-Sep-13 23:17:05

While I appreciate this issue is more in the media than ever I don't think it's all Cameron's spin but a growing frustration at the issues of supply and demand and lack of council housing that has spurred the debate or envy. People desperate for housing see others living in lifetime tenancies having pretty good lifestyles while living in non-market rate housing.

Council housing will never be for anyone who just needs affordable housing.

I think the great British public just get a bit tired of the us and them divide: some being given opportunity to have stability, cheap rent, looked after, needs taken into account etc and frankly an attitude of Mollycoddling. (They need a spare room in case a relative visits! my needs my needs my needs) while the rest of the great British public have to fend for themselves in the cruel market economy with a govt that shows no interest, doesnt care about their housing concerns and provides little in the way of services for them, seeing them only as tax payers and an income source.

Wonderstuff Mon 02-Sep-13 23:21:28

I private rent, renting wouldn't bother me if I had security. But I don't, because I know I could be given 60 days notice at any time I don't feel this is a home, I don't feel I can invest in doing the garden as I'd like, I don't buy art for the walls, I'd dearly like to change my bed, I'd like a king, but I don't know if I may have to move, and if I do what size my bedroom will be.. It's horrid not being able to make your house a home. I'm hoping to buy eventually, not because I'm mad for owning property, but because I'd love to decorate a room.

Wallison Mon 02-Sep-13 23:34:38

<<Council housing will never be for anyone who just needs affordable housing. >>

Apart from at the time when it was built and thereafter for decades until the 80s, you mean? I see.

williaminajetfighter Mon 02-Sep-13 23:51:45

Isn't the main issue though that housing stock is so limited that council housing is no longer just for anybody that needs secure housing but for those with the greatest needs and therefore its a different playing field now? on that basis i think one would have to reevaluate tenants and their needs.

The key thing to also remember visavis 'envy' is that people in council housing will be getting a deal (read: subsidy) if they are not paying market rates for accommodation.

Wonderstuff Tue 03-Sep-13 00:00:39

The housing stock is limited because councils have been prevented from building more houses and seen their stock dwindle through right to buy.

There are still lots of people who can't afford a mortgage deposit who would like secure tenancy. It's just madness that in the UK we are so unable to meet that need.

morethanpotatoprints Tue 03-Sep-13 00:05:35


Some people are bothered about people in council houses receiving subsidy, others aren't though.
that was my point about greed. I don't think people used to bother so much, it wasn't a competition who had what. Then society became greedy and out for what they wanted. The culture became I'm entitled to this because x. Our wants got confused with needs imo.

Wallison Tue 03-Sep-13 00:14:45

How are council tenants being subsidised if the rent revenues that they generate are sufficient to cover the running costs of the provider? If anything, private sector tenants are being subsidised or rather their landlords are because millions of them cannot afford to pay the rent at so-called 'market rate' and therefore claim billions in housing benefit each year.

And yes, public housing stock is limited. So we need to build more. It's an investment that pays for itself over and over, so it's hardly throwing money away.

WafflyVersatile Tue 03-Sep-13 00:15:42

The key thing to remember is it is not the fault of council tenants that private renting is shit.

Also council housing is not subsidised. The govt does not allow that and hasn't since Thatcher's time. Rental costs must cover the cost of the housing.

HairyGrotter Tue 03-Sep-13 01:07:45

This is close to home for me, I was moved into a council flat when DD was 9 months, have lived here as a lone parent since then, DD is now 5. I've since met my DP who earns well above average wage.

Yes, I have the right to buy as I was housed at a time that this was part of the tenancy agreement, however, the moral issue is haunting.

williaminajetfighter Tue 03-Sep-13 07:04:48

Apologies if I used the term 'subsidized' up thread but what I was trying to relay is that those in Council and HA tenancies may be covering the costs for the HA but are avoiding paying market rates --- and the difference between HA and private housing can be dramatic. (And sometimes it can't). This is why I used the term 'subsidised' because HA/Council tenants are protected from market rates essentially, which is one major reason people now want to be in council properties. People who have lived a life in council housing have, frankly, been protected.

morethan sorry I disagree with you that people didn't previously compare what they had with others. I don't think there were halcyon days where everyone was equally poor and didn't compare what they had. What the public realize is that a lifetime tenancy in a non-market rate property can be a major windfall, one of the reasons why this debate rages.

When it is clear that Council Housing has shifted from 'housing for anyone/everyone' to 'housing for people with the greatest need' how can lifetime tenancies possibly be provided? Agree there is a lack of housing etc and because of that essentially Council Housing is almost shifting to 'short term' emergency housing. Frankly I'd rather use the properties to house people in desperate need than those who have experienced the benefits of being protected by the Council/HA and now have the income and wherewithal to move. I appreciate my views aren't popular and I will be barked at by those on the thread.

Wonderstuff Tue 03-Sep-13 07:23:04

The problem is if we use council housing as emergency housing for those in the greatest need then we are in the situation where everyone renting lacks secure housing. I also think the cost of this to councils/HA will be high, when you have a permanent home you maintain it, look after it, when you have somewhere to stay for a bit you don't invest in it.

Solopower1 Tue 03-Sep-13 07:24:15

There's a lack of social housing at the same time as developers buy up huge plots of land and sit on them until the price is right for them to build. And then it's mostly luxury housing that goes up.

If the govt wanted to solve this problem and provide more social housing, they could. At the same time they would be creating thousands of jobs in the construction industry.

However, it goes against absolutely everything they believe in to give a helping hand to people who are having a hard time. They want people to be independent and do not want the state to have to spend taxpayers' money on helping people. They think that if you remove the help, people will magically not need it any more. Can anyone spot the logic in that? So they are never going to build enough social housing. It's a policy decision, based on their political ideology.

williaminajetfighter Tue 03-Sep-13 07:44:47

Solo I actually don't think the govt has the money to lead a huge program of building works. Have you seen their current spend and balance? I'm surprised Britain won't be bankrupt in a few years. Anyway much-needed schools aren't being built plus we're still paying off all the stupid PPI builds thanks to Labour.

It does mean people lack secure housing but one could say that people lack security in all aspects of their life and.... that is one of the big challenges of adult life! At what point is a very broke govt meant to intervene to fix it -- for some but not for all? Maybe we just need to reduce our expectations re: how much the govt can intervene and help and maybe we're going to have to because the level of intervention and support we may want or be used to is not sustainable.

williaminajetfighter Tue 03-Sep-13 07:55:44

Check out these details on govt spending. Expenditure is up across the board and debt is bonkers. It's no wonder the govt is trying to claw back and not invest in massive programs of building work at a time when they're thinking - we've got to find a way to reduce not increase our provision to the public.

This one is probably from some Tory think tank but still a good summary:

Increasingly I feel that the govt is going to go back to basics for services and I think there will be a massive reduction in the assistance the govt can provide in people's lives. Think local authorities focusing on rubbish removal and planning, not social services and certainly not housing. We can bark about how we think the govt needs to provide better housing but then... there's a lot of things the govt should provide... and I want a pony!!

Spermysextowel Tue 03-Sep-13 08:09:03

Talk about a thorny issue! In my job we're grappling with the under-occupancy deduction. E.g a pensioner on her own in a 4-bed house suddenly has special needs that mean her 2 daughters have to stay with her on alternate nights but for their own reasons one can't use the room that their sister slept in the night before. When it's explained that at best the mother's entitlement to benefit would be for a 2 bed flat the usual response is 'but I grew up here'. That's fine; her mother won't be moved so long as the difference between the rent & the housing benefit is paid & usually the 25% is met somehow. You can almost always guarantee that it will be because when said pensioner dies someone (usually a grandchild) will come crawling out of the woodwork claiming to have lived there for the last 10 years so that they can claim succession rights to the tenancy although their grandmother had declared that she'd lived alone for all that time....

usualsuspect Tue 03-Sep-13 08:14:10

Pensioners are exempt from the bedroom tax, do get your facts right before you spout off.

caramelwaffle Tue 03-Sep-13 08:14:22

Perhaps twenty year tenancies and no right to succession (except in the case of disabled or SN adult children)...?

Solopower1 Tue 03-Sep-13 08:20:29

Sorry Williamina - the govt can afford to do what it wants to do (eg Olympics, tax breaks for global companies, etc.) It doesn't choose to spend the money on social housing. As you say yourself, it has other priorities.

Massive programmes of building create jobs too, and people in work pay tax - so they would actually help to reduce the debt and lift people out of poverty.

The govt's priorities are based on its beliefs that people should stand on their own two feet and shouldn't rely on the State.

As far as building schools is concerned, they are happy to give the money to anyone who wants to set up a free school. Less happy to address the 20% shortage in primary school places that is going to hit us in two or three years' time.

Spermysextowel Tue 03-Sep-13 09:12:57

Sorry Usual I should've made it clear that pensioner was used in the loosest terms, i.e. generally by the person contacting us. I accept that mostly they're only a couple of years older than I am.

IneedAsockamnesty Tue 03-Sep-13 17:22:27


If that is the case then I'm sure you would be telling them that they would have to evidence both the care needs and a carer actually being present.

theodorakisses Tue 03-Sep-13 17:34:12

What about sitting tenants? My parents have a house in Knightsbridge which is valued at about 3k a month but they did a good deal with a Kuwaiti in 1964 who wanted the cruddy basement they owned up the road. They pay 220 a month for life nd rarely visit

williaminajetfighter Tue 03-Sep-13 18:24:09

Solo maybe the govt is trying to create a shift in ideology and to encourage people not to rely on the state. Possibly because it's not tenable. Spending on benefits and pensions are twice that of NHS spending and almost 3x that of education. And they keep going up. And Local govt budgets keep going up despite decline in services.

People brought up in the UK will be familiar with council house provision and clearly mourning its demise/decline. Creating another generation who believe the council/state has a pivotal role in providing public housing is probably not desirable for a country that can't afford it. Don't get me wrong, it would be a lovely thing. I think there are lots of people on MN with strong beliefs and very left yet unwilling to accept the fact that Britain is almost bankrupt and instead coming up with some bizarre Keynesian and socialist solution of an economy completely driven by state spending.

gamerchick Tue 03-Sep-13 19:45:26

Why for fuck sake do people keep lumping social housing in with welfare? It's beyond irritating.

Wallison Tue 03-Sep-13 20:08:36

Spending on out of work benefits is fuck all. The main chunk of spending is on pensions. There's also a sizeable chunk that goes on in-work benefits because employers won't pay their employees a decent fucking wage.

As for not being able to afford council housing, as has been pointed out many times on this thread it pays for itself several times over. It is an investment. It is much more of an investment than paying out billions to private landlords so that they can have property empires at tax-payers' expense.

Solopower1 Tue 03-Sep-13 21:17:18

What Wallison said.

Yes, Williamina, the govt is trying to do just that. But it can't just wriggle out of its responsibilities towards people at the bottom end of the social scale. Some people need help, through no fault of their own. They don't choose to rely on the state - whatever the govt try to make us believe.

And it's not council house tenants who bankrupted the country.

JakeBullet Tue 03-Sep-13 21:51:08

I don't know how the Govt get round the housing crisis though. All I do know is that in Europe the norm is to rent privately but people don't need top ups to actually afford the rent....they can afford it out of wages.

Perhaps we need to be paying higher wages here or establishing some form of rent control. I m not experienced or knowledgeable enough to know which is the biggest issue.

Housing should be a basic human right...everyone needs a roof over their head. How we achieve that is another matter.

Blondeshavemorefun Tue 03-Sep-13 22:10:39

i had this conversation with oh last night almost ended in blows lol

we have diff social back grounds, as in my parents/myself have a mortgage, where as his parents and then his self had a council house

his parents were the first ones to move into their street 60ish years ago, parents raised 5 boys in a 3 bed house, both parents worked, and all moved out as met partners, parents died 10years ago and house went to oh's brother

i said he should move and exchange house, oh said no, it was his family home and why should his brother move and have to leave somewhere thats hes lived in for 50ish years

then got onto topic of a girl he knows, was a single mum and yes she works, got a council place - i have no problem with this

2 years later, she met someone who earns a lot (more then me) and he moved in

my argument is that bf can afford to rent privately and friend should give back her council house for someone who is in the same situation that she was 2 years ago

oh disagrees and says they pay their rent/both work so should stay in their home

Wonderstuff Tue 03-Sep-13 22:20:15

Spending as a proportion of GDP fell during the last Labour government. The current deficit is a direct result of reduced tax revenues following the financial crisis. The biggest drain on local government coffers are pensions. Government pensions have been renegotiated and savings are starting to be made and these will increase over time.

Housing is an asset, an investment. My local council had £15million invested in fucking Iceland, yet it had thousands on its housing list. If you had the choice between investing in off shore investment funds or bricks and mortar what would you do?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

^ Exactly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Should not expect- I meant

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Different definitions of the word "subsidised" clearly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We don't do that here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So the demand for social housing has increased.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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