to think people are being deliberately perverse about Council/HA..

(486 Posts)
fideline Tue 11-Mar-14 21:22:23


1) Social (council or HA) rents are not subsidized.

2)Social (council or HA) tenancies are not a form of welfare benefit.

It's not that hard to grasp is it?

Nottalotta Tue 11-Mar-14 21:24:38

No. Its not.

It is however often misunderstood.

TruJay Tue 11-Mar-14 21:26:13

Its not hard to grasp at all but people seem to associate council housing with benefit claimants and everything (stereotypical) that goes with it!
I grew up on a council estate and by hell do you get judged for it! Definitely all tarred with the same brush

shakinstevenslovechild Tue 11-Mar-14 21:27:11

I often hear about people, including me, being 'handed a free house' and having to explain that it isn't free, I pay rent just like everyone else <sigh>

BetterTogether75 Tue 11-Mar-14 21:27:35

YANBU. These are people's homes, not a handout. I grew up in a council house and it was very much the norm where I grew up, not just for the poorest. If I had found a secure LA tenancy in a house and area I liked I would stay there and pay my rent and sod what anyone thought. However that is not how my life has panned out, and instead I have six figures of mortgage debt, how aspirational of me hmm

30SecondsToVenus Tue 11-Mar-14 21:30:00


Occasionally, people really are thick enough to think that council houses are free. I am genuinely puzzled when people can't understand that anyone can apply for a council house, not just benefit claimants. I would take an educated guess that the majority of people in social housing are workers.

gamerchick Tue 11-Mar-14 21:30:33

I think people like to think that.. makes them feel superior or something.

fideline Tue 11-Mar-14 21:31:04

There have been several threads on here recently where posters have just refused to accept that there is no subsidizing of rents, despite being given detailed explanations.

Some people just do not want to accept it.

Now the issue has reared its head on Bob Crow's RIP thread of all places. Infuriating.

As to the stigma Tru can you imagine how much worse things will get if means-tested five year tenancies become widespread? Ghetto- creating madness.

MsVestibule Tue 11-Mar-14 21:31:20

No, I don't think people are being deliberately perverse. A little ignorant, perhaps; with private rents being so high, it can seem as though council tenants are receiving a subsidy, when they're only paying half the rent that a private tenant pays.

But you've not really made your case in your OP, have you? It's better to tell people why you think they're wrong, not just that they are wrong.

CuttedUpPear Tue 11-Mar-14 21:34:10

I agree with you OP.
In fact I once had a boyfriend who expressed his surprise when I told him that I paid rent on my HA house.
He was forrin though.

fideline Tue 11-Mar-14 21:35:23

Shakin has hit on another one; the 'council house are free' myth.

MsV There isn't really a case to make. My OP presents two FACTS. They shouldn't need a case made for them precisely because they are facts.

fideline Tue 11-Mar-14 21:37:01

And my case re. people being perverse is as follows; It is unreasonable to refuse to believe facts just because you don't like them or they don't suit your argument.

CrohnicallyChanging Tue 11-Mar-14 21:41:25

Not deliberately perverse, but ignorant maybe?

For example, the idea that council houses are open to all. That may be, but councils prioritise houses according to need, and if you are working and on a reasonable wage, with no mitigating circumstances such as DV, you are unlikely to get one.

And while council houses/HA houses may not technically be subsidised, the council could charge market rates but don't, which has the same overall effect, surely?

TruJay Tue 11-Mar-14 21:44:48

Gosh hadn't actually heard about the means testing so i googled it!

The best comment I ever got was from my very posh friend's mum when i was invited round for tea. "i must say TruJay, had Natalie told me where u lived before u were invited u most certainly wouldn't have been coming into my house! But u actually are a lovely girl"

NurseyWursey Tue 11-Mar-14 21:48:31

And while council houses/HA houses may not technically be subsidised, the council could charge market rates but don't, which has the same overall effect, surely


fideline Tue 11-Mar-14 21:48:37

I think people should be complaining about the exploitative levels of so called market rents, Crohnically, rather than about the fact that social rents have been kept at reasonable levels.

There is currently a shortage of reception-year school places in many areas. If we allow it to continue for three decades we will have an education situation that mirrors our current housing situation. A majority will be forced to pay through the nose and the lucky minority will be sneered at. Of course, it won't be allowed to happen.

NurseyWursey Tue 11-Mar-14 21:51:36

I think people should be complaining about the exploitative levels of so called market rents, Crohnically, rather than about the fact that social rents have been kept at reasonable levels

But that mostly stems from mortgage values though, so surely we'd have to blame the banks then?

CrohnicallyChanging Tue 11-Mar-14 21:52:11

I'm sure they should, and do, complain. But in the meantime, if they're not eligible for social housing, or are so far down the waiting list that they could be waiting for donkeys years, what are they to do?

Besides, that wasn't your original point. Your point was that social housing is not subsidised. I was pointing out why it is reasonable for somebody to think that it is.

fideline Tue 11-Mar-14 21:52:39

shock @ Tru. What a delightful woman hmm

But Nursey and Crohn why would they? Profit is not the purpose of social housing.

Do you both believe social housing should be abolished?

gamerchick Tue 11-Mar-14 21:53:15

I always find it strangely odd that people would rather drag social housing into the wrongness that is private rents.

The council don't need to charge silly prices for council housing.. CH is nothing to do with the private market.

It's weird.

CrohnicallyChanging Tue 11-Mar-14 21:56:01

You've lost me, why would who do what?
And how did you get 'social housing should be abolished' from what I wrote?

fideline Tue 11-Mar-14 21:56:08

Nursey it is partly the mortgage rates, but rents only began to spiral upwards after tenants' rights were drastically reduced in the 80s, making BTL an attractive amateur investment. Once BTL mortgages boomed, rents started climbing.

So private tenants lost out twice; first they lost security of tenure, then they got clobbered for rent.

poorbuthappy Tue 11-Mar-14 21:57:00

Does that mean there was a time when council housing (and I'll use that term because i think it may be before HAs) rents weren't a lot different to private rents?

fideline Tue 11-Mar-14 21:57:27

"Besides, that wasn't your original point. Your point was that social housing is not subsidised. I was pointing out why it is reasonable for somebody to think that it is."

Fair enough. I suppose the perversity I am thinking of is when people are told the facts and still persist in believing otherwise.

fideline Tue 11-Mar-14 21:57:58

Yes poor.

poorbuthappy Tue 11-Mar-14 21:59:05

cross post there fideline.
So tenants right reduction = higher rents because landlords were allowed to run amok?

SaucyJack Tue 11-Mar-14 21:59:35

Obviously the council could charge higher rents. They could charge five magic beans and a kidney if they wanted to.

But the whole point of council rents is that they are fair/ not-for-profit, so they've got no reason to.

And no, doing it purely to make council tenants as poor and miserable as private tenants is not a valid reason............

ISeeYouShiverWithAntici Tue 11-Mar-14 21:59:42

I actually contacted Shelter to ask, because I was so fed up of people saying it. This is their reply.

Thank you for contacting Shelter,

I have spoken to our policy department who have responded with the below email;

In terms of whether this is true, social housing developers (usually housing associations) are often given a capital subsidy, in the form central or local government grants to assist with the building of new social homes. These grants are recouped through the rents and when the grant is paid back, it’s recycled into further social housing developments.

But the rents aren’t directly subsidised and, in fact, social housing tenants (via the rent they continue to pay after the cost of building the homes has been paid off) subsidise the building of new homes. Until the recent reform of the Housing Revenue Account, council housing rents generated a great deal of money for the Treasury, as highlighted by the Local Government Association report: My Rent went to Whitehall (2008).

I sincerely hope this is of assistance

With regards,

fideline Tue 11-Mar-14 21:59:56

Exactly poor

JupiterGentlefly Tue 11-Mar-14 22:00:15

I love social housing. . There should be more of it. .However it is 'subsidised' a social house/council house in my area costs 200 pcm less than my private rental. The social/ council rents are used as a bar for 'fair rent'. So anything above 'fair rent' in the private sector is disregarded. Therefore I am approx 200 pcm 'worse off' than someone who works the same hours and receives the same benefits as me. Oh well such is life...

CrohnicallyChanging Tue 11-Mar-14 22:01:45

You mean why would councils want to charge market rates? Because they could put the 'profit' to good use. I say 'profit' but it wouldn't end up in some private individual's pockets, it would go into the council's money pot. Buy in more housing stock so that there is enough to go round everyone that wants it (by the way, that would mean private landlords would have to reduce rent in order to attract tenants). Improve the existing housing by making it more energy efficient. Improve the local area.

fideline Tue 11-Mar-14 22:02:43


I was taking the following;

"And while council houses/HA houses may not technically be subsidised, the council could charge market rates but don't"

which was then quoted by someone else. I think I took you both to have the same meaning. To wit, that councils should charge market rate.

Sorry blush

fideline Tue 11-Mar-14 22:04:26

X post Crohn

So you DO think they should.

Then everyone would be paying extortionate housing costs, with the exception of people who bought pre-2000.

SaucyJack Tue 11-Mar-14 22:05:10


Paying less than somebody else for something different doesn't at all mean that you are being subsidized.

If I buy Tesco Finest sausages for £4 and you buy Tesco Value ones for 50p does it mean that yours are subsidized? No. It just means your product was cheaper to produce.

fideline Tue 11-Mar-14 22:07:59

Iseeyoushiver I like your style. Do you carry a copy of the email around in your wallet? I would

CrohnicallyChanging Tue 11-Mar-14 22:09:35

I'm not saying they should or shouldn't. I was answering your question as to why councils might want to charge market rent- and therefore the fact that they don't is effectively a subsidy.

As subsidy is effectively taking money out of the council's budget and putting it towards housing, yes? Well in the case of council houses, it means the council isn't putting money into its budget, which has the same effect.

I actually think there should be more social housing, if supply caught up with demand it would take the wind out of the buy-to-let-for-profit landlords' sails. The occasional landlord (people like my next door neighbour who needed to move but couldn't sell so had to rent out, or people who have bought a house to provide in retirement) wouldn't be too badly affected by a drop in rents, as they aren't looking for a monthly income from rent.

pancakesfortea Tue 11-Mar-14 22:11:52

I think there's a genuinely interesting debate here - it's not clear cut.

Let's say my Mum has a second home. She doesn't need it for herself and has paid off the mortgage. She let's me live in it for a rent which is much lower than the market rent but covers the costs of maintenance? Is she subsiding me? At one level, no, because her costs are being met. But she is foregoing the rent she could be getting, so there's an opportunity cost, which some would think of as a subsidy.

Let's say I have a brother, who also needs somewhere to live. Mum only has one spare house. My brother gets no help because I got the house. Is she subsidising me at my brother's expense?

hoppingmad Tue 11-Mar-14 22:13:10

We live in a council house and pay our own rent. We live in an area where private rental is scarce & very expensive.
If we rented privately we would be eligible for some housing benefit due to the cost so would be costing the government money

pancakesfortea Tue 11-Mar-14 22:14:25

Sorry for the rogue apostrophes and question marks there.

JupiterGentlefly Tue 11-Mar-14 22:15:02

Ahh but saucy.. I could choose to buy more expensive sausages. I don't have the choice about social housing. I can't just say well to be honest I would rather have a council house than a private rental so I can have more cash in my pocket. There is no social housing!! As I said such is life. .

fideline Tue 11-Mar-14 22:16:34

" councils might want to charge market rent- and therefore the fact that they don't is effectively a subsidy. "

Not sure I agree that. An actual subsidy would have to come from somewhere.

When people insist rents are subsidize they frequently go on to say that they, as a taxpayer, are doing the subsidizing. They aren't. There is no subsidy, just a self-funding housing loop.

"I actually think there should be more social housing, if supply caught up with demand it would take the wind out of the buy-to-let-for-profit landlords' sails"

Completely agree with this^ though.

CrohnicallyChanging Tue 11-Mar-14 22:17:09

Exactly pancakes. Whether or not it is subsidised depends on what angle you look at it from. If your mum rented the house out privately, she could split the profit between you and your brother- it might even be enough to pay rent for both of you in social housing! So she would effectively be subsidising you at your brother's cost.

fideline Tue 11-Mar-14 22:19:10

"Opportunity cost" is the term I have just been groping for! Thanks pancake

I just don't agree that there is an opportunity cost when the landlord's purpose is not the profit motive.

CrohnicallyChanging Tue 11-Mar-14 22:19:59

The 'subsidy' does come from somewhere- albeit the lack of money to make improvement, mend roads, collect bins weekly. All the things that they could potentially do with 'profit' from housing. Councils are making huge cutbacks, at least my council is. Charging market rates could prevent the need for that, and even maybe prevent the need for council tax to have risen this year.

pancakesfortea Tue 11-Mar-14 22:20:19

Also, on the question of subsidy...

Many council and housing association properties are old and the bill for building them is long gone. But for more modern properties the funding comes from three things:

Surpluses (money in the bank)
Borrowing against the future rent (just like a buy to let mortgage) and
Government grant.

The grant is needed because the sub market rent that the HA will charge isn't enough to get a big enough loan to build the property. So government fills the gap. Put another way, if rents were more like market rents they wouldn't need grant funding. I think it's hard to argue that the rent for those properties isn't subsidised .

In the last few years those government grants have gone up and rents on some new HA tenancies are now much closer to market rent.

SaucyJack Tue 11-Mar-14 22:21:52

Your point being what Jupiter smile

The fact you personally don't have the option to choose a council property still doesn't make council tenants subsidized. That's what I was replying to.

pancakesfortea Tue 11-Mar-14 22:23:31

fideline - the difficult thing for councils is that they have lots of purposes. I think that's a benefit of housing associations. They are focused on housing.

fideline Tue 11-Mar-14 22:23:35

Well if Social Landlords did increase rents, the first thing they would have to do is bring their housing stock up to a better maintenance standard.

If people pay private-level rents they will want private-rental standards.

I'm not sure there'd be much left over to subsidize owner occupiers' council tax bills.

fideline Tue 11-Mar-14 22:25:25

For example Crohn you wouldn't expect to pay market rental and pay for carpets, decor, plumbers etc on top, would you?

CrohnicallyChanging Tue 11-Mar-14 22:26:56

Private-rental standards? So, leaking windows where the wooden frame is rotting (and finding slugs on the windowsill inside your house), damp and mould, kitchen cupboards falling apart, plaster peeling off the walls, and a boiler that doesn't work properly so you never quite know if you're going to have enough hot water for your shower or not, as in my SIL's previous private rental property?

pancakesfortea Tue 11-Mar-14 22:27:23

Housing associations are private landlords by law, just ones who operate on a not for profit basis. They are bound by exactly the same housing health and safety law as all other private landlords. Local councils can (and occasionally do) take enforcement action against them.

BillyBanter Tue 11-Mar-14 22:28:08

^We live in a council house and pay our own rent. We live in an area where private rental is scarce & very expensive.
If we rented privately we would be eligible for some housing benefit due to the cost so would be costing the government money^

And that government money would be subsidizing private landlords. The housing benefit that some people would begrudge you for even though the only person benefiting would be the private landlord.

CrohnicallyChanging Tue 11-Mar-14 22:29:22

Carpets and decor, yes. As mentioned, my SIL rents (privately). Unfurnished properties. Carpets and decor have been provided by her.

fideline Tue 11-Mar-14 22:30:18

Yes it is difficult to discuss both as a homogenous unit, Pancakes.

Other differences being that the legal structure of many HAs would make it extremely difficukt for them to charge market rents and also (connected to my last point) that generally their stock is better maintained and their repairs service is better.

However, I think making council housing depts profit-driven would throw up some problems. Profit is very much not the institutional ethos of council housing.

Rommell Tue 11-Mar-14 22:30:39

I think it's a little bit of a leap of logic to say that something which generates revenue far over and above what it cost to build and continues to cost to repair is being 'subsidised'. Council houses pay for themselves plenty of times over - it's a guaranteed income stream. Which is why we need to build more of them - they are a national asset and it is a fucking scandal that they have been allowed to be sold off at all. I agree that there is a discrepancy between what council tenants pay and what private sector tenants pay, but the problem is with the amount of rent that private sector tenants pay, due to 30 years of failed housing policy which has put the UK into a housing crisis.

fideline Tue 11-Mar-14 22:31:04

They aren't provided for council tenants Crohn

MrsWobble Tue 11-Mar-14 22:31:38

What I always find difficult to understand is why council properties are significantly cheaper than housing association ones, for what are very similar homes and are allocated through the same points/bidding system.

It's easy to draw the conclusion from this that the council houses are subsidised in some way, without even considering private rents or some other idea of market.

Is there something I'm missing?

pancakesfortea Tue 11-Mar-14 22:32:16

And, unlike a private sector tenant, a housing association tenant who complains about repairs normally can't get evicted for being a nuisance.

On the other hand, the tenant is in a weaker position when complaining because a private tenant could take their rent elsewhere. A housing association tenant can't get the same property on the open market so can't leave without giving up the sub-market rent. That lack of market power for tenants is why social landlords are regulated, to compensate for that lack of market forces. (If you want to read more, it's set in the Cave Review of Social Housing Regulation in 2007. Anyone still awake here?)

Rommell Tue 11-Mar-14 22:34:10

Agree about private sector rentals being below acceptable standards in a lot of cases. Yet another reason why leaving things for the market to sort out is a bad idea.

fideline Tue 11-Mar-14 22:34:18

"So, leaking windows where the wooden frame is rotting (and finding slugs on the windowsill inside your house), damp and mould, kitchen cupboards falling apart, plaster peeling off the walls, and a boiler that doesn't work properly so you never quite know if you're going to have enough hot water for your shower or not, as in my SIL's previous private rental property?"

Gosh. Presumably she was paying a below-average rent for that??

But I'm talking about average. I have worked in both social housing and at the CAB, briefly. Average standards in social housing are way below average standards of private lets. (I'm talking about London)

CrohnicallyChanging Tue 11-Mar-14 22:34:31

fideline you said 'you wouldn't expect to pay market rental and pay for carpets, decor, plumbing etc on top, would you?' I was just pointing out that I would expect to pay for carpets and decor on top of market rent as that has been my SIL's experience.

BumpyGrindy Tue 11-Mar-14 22:35:58

Jees. I am perhaps going to live in a Housing Association house soon and I'm definitely not tellling people after reading this!

CrohnicallyChanging Tue 11-Mar-14 22:36:25

I would say average rent in a below-average area if that makes sense? The problem was, the people the landlord sent to inspect were clearly instructed by the landlord. The windows and cupboards and plaster were 'cosmetic', the damp and mould was my SIL's fault for showering every day, they couldn't find a fault on the boiler...

JakeBullet Tue 11-Mar-14 22:37:24

I have privately rented and am now in a HA property. Neither came furnished, however private rentals CAN be hideous as crohn knows.

My last private rent was awful, dreadful damp in the kitchen, rotting windowframes, slug trails everywhere and mice!

A lot of the issues were down to poor maintainance by the LL. There are good LL and bad ones.

At least in HA properties you can generally get repairs done.

Never more grateful than when I got this place.

BumpyGrindy Tue 11-Mar-14 22:38:01

The housing association that I've applied to stipulate that you need to be in full time work to qualify. To be honest, that attracted me. I know my neighbours will be in work...therefore there will be less social problems. The housing association also offers right to buy so some will be privately owned.

fideline Tue 11-Mar-14 22:38:03

^"What I always find difficult to understand is why council properties are significantly cheaper than housing association ones, for what are very similar homes and are allocated through the same points/bidding system.

It's easy to draw the conclusion from this that the council houses are subsidised in some way, without even considering private rents or some other idea of market."^

Mrs Wobble It is because HAs are still often paying off the capital loans (mortgages) that they used to build the properties with. Rents have to cover repayment of these.

Council housing is generally older, with initial costs long since recouped.

The trade off for the tenant, as I touched on upthread is HA tenants generally get newer, better maintained homes.

pancakesfortea Tue 11-Mar-14 22:39:30

Even within Housing Associations there are differences in their freedom of movement fideline. Some are charitable, and have to have charitable objectives. They couldn't meet those objectives if they were just providing homes at a market rent. That's why they have trading subsidiaries for market rent properties or low cost home ownership. Others are just not for profit, so don't have that limitation although many probably do still have an organisational culture which would not sit comfortably with high rents.

On top of all of that there's regulation, which limits rents. That's the pay back for grant (I'm not calling it subsidy, don't want to start a row!) in years gone by.

BumpyGrindy Tue 11-Mar-14 22:39:37

MrsWobble here the Housing Association houses are not cheaper or more expensive than the council ones...there's no difference....the only difference is the HA seems to focus on tenants who work while the council does not.

fideline Tue 11-Mar-14 22:40:06

"fideline you said 'you wouldn't expect to pay market rental and pay for carpets, decor, plumbing etc on top, would you?' I was just pointing out that I would expect to pay for carpets and decor on top of market rent as that has been my SIL's experience."

Crikey Crohn I would most definitely not expect to carpet a private rental myself no. Feel sorry for your SIL

pancakesfortea Tue 11-Mar-14 22:41:53

fideline Housing associations have plenty of old stock too - some of it older than most council housing. There's lots of Victorian HA stock round here (your original Peabody, Guiness etc) which all pre dates the council housing boom.

pancakesfortea Tue 11-Mar-14 22:44:01

bumpygrindy - HA rents used to be higher than council rents, then there was a policy to bring them gradually into line, which took about ten years.

fideline Tue 11-Mar-14 22:45:15

Yes I know what you're saying pancakes re diff RSL organisational structures.And about the sold off 'ALMO' type ex-council stock. Gets complicated.

NurseyWursey Tue 11-Mar-14 22:45:25

I would bloody love a council house. Security, things fixed for you, low rent...

I do think they should be reserved for those who need them ie can't afford the high rents of private or those in a crisis situation. But that isn't always the case.

pancakesfortea Tue 11-Mar-14 22:45:38

I'm even starting to bore myself now with all this exciting late night talk of social housing regulation. I might go to bed now and spare you any more.

BumpyGrindy Tue 11-Mar-14 22:46:24

Pancakes Oh right! Well that's good...but to be honest to have security is all I care about. I would pay more for a long term secure tenancy where nobody can sell the house with 2 months notice.

It's so stressful! Living in someone else's house..that's what renting privately is. I've done it since I was 23 and I'm 41 now. I've had enough.

fideline Tue 11-Mar-14 22:46:56

I'm really surprised at the 'full-time' stipulation BumpyGrindy. There are a lot of hardworking people out there who want FT hours but can't get them in this economy.

BlueSkySunnyDay Tue 11-Mar-14 22:47:04

I live in a road of 1950s HA homes - they have all just been re roofed (sp?) A private landlord would have to pay for this via his rent - it will be many, many, many years (if ever) before the H.A. recoup this expense.

We own our house, we have the joy of the 1950s roof still.

pancakesfortea Tue 11-Mar-14 22:48:12

You can't call them RSLs any more fideline

That had to go in 2008 when the English and Welsh legislation parted company. The English law changed, wales kept the old law and kept the term RSL in the devolution divorce.

I really have to stop now.

fideline Tue 11-Mar-14 22:48:28

What area/region are you in Bumpy <nosey> ? Quite understand if you'd rather not say, of course.

JupiterGentlefly Tue 11-Mar-14 22:49:33

Ok saucy jackass..
Tenant a receives 100 pw made up of hb ctc wtc and cb and wages
tenant b receives the same. Through the same channels
tenants a & b live next door to each other. Tenant a pays 50 per week to mr j landlord
tenant b pays 25 per week to council
Tenant a does not get any rent top up as council have deemed fair rent to be 25 per week. Yet 'market rent' is 50 per week. .
Someone is getting a 'subsidy' somewhere. Feel free to split hairs. Come and live the dream I will show you what its like.

fideline Tue 11-Mar-14 22:49:51

Pancakes really? No more RSLs? Such a handy acronym.

pancakesfortea Tue 11-Mar-14 22:51:22

bumpygrindy you and about a million other people. Some housing associations are now building more properties for market rent, because what a lot of people really want is the long term security. Obviously they wouldn't say no to a sub market rent but they don't need it, iyswim.

fideline Tue 11-Mar-14 22:51:42

Bluesky I think you have the better deal even with a decrepit roof smile

Not a comfortable time to be a public sector tenant, i'm sure.

SaucyJack Tue 11-Mar-14 22:53:03

It isn't my fault if you don't understand what a subsidy is Jupiter. No need to call me names.

pancakesfortea Tue 11-Mar-14 22:53:08

fideline still going strong in wales I believe. In England it's RP, for Registered Provider of Social Housing.

Custardo Tue 11-Mar-14 22:54:12

below market rents are not essentially a subsidy,

they are just lower than market rents.

NurseyWursey Tue 11-Mar-14 22:54:28

It is a subsidy though. They aren't following current market trends which is what prices of things go off, thus being subsidised.

BumpyGrindy Tue 11-Mar-14 22:54:34

I'd rather not say the area I'm in but the guidelines for bidding are that preference will be given to those with connections to the area and those in full time employment.

pancakesfortea Tue 11-Mar-14 22:54:51

fideline I think it's a perfectly ok time to be an existing public sector tenant. (There have been better but still not bad). Not a good time at all to be a prospective one.

BumpyGrindy Tue 11-Mar-14 22:55:58

If I ever become terribly rich, I will start a housing trust. I will...I'll never forget what the insecurity is like. I'll build great houses for those on low incomes.

fideline Tue 11-Mar-14 22:56:40

Jupiter in many areas they will not get the same. the private tenant will get more (higher cost to taxpayer) but still not enough to cover their rent. Social tenant receives lower HB (better for tax payer) and has no extra to pay (better for the tenant)

There are huge numbers of working people who get Housing Benefit who wouldn't need any if they were 'only' charged a fair rent.

gamerchick Tue 11-Mar-14 22:58:15

So we've gone from in months.. social housing is free.. to social housing is subsidised by the taxpayer to 'well its subsidised.. not quite sure where but it definitely is'... progress grin

When really it's a case of looking in the neighbours bowl to see if he's got more than you.

fideline Tue 11-Mar-14 22:58:38

Sorry pancakes, that wasn't clear. I meant in terms of feeling stigmatized by the 'scrounger' rhetoric being frequently extended to them and then tenancies and anxiety about changes to public housing.

When people complain of council homes being subsidised they usually mean that taxpayers money is spent paying the rent. So while the council could charge more that is a different thing entirely.

Housing associations make enough money on rents to maintain current properties and buy new ones. So they are not running at a loss.

And as others have said if there were more social housing it would force down prices for everyone.

fideline Tue 11-Mar-14 23:02:42

Bumpy It does seem a bit harsh that PT employment or study or FT caring for disabled person etc isn't also included.

SaucyJack Tue 11-Mar-14 23:03:06

They aren't following current market trends which is what prices of things go off, thus being subsidised.

No sweetie no- this isn't the definition of a subsidy either. They aren't following market trends because they are owned outright by the local council who do not increase prices in line with private rentals because they are not there to make a profit.

They would only be subsidized if they cost the council more to own and maintain than they receive back in rent. And this is not the case.

gamerchick Tue 11-Mar-14 23:03:33

That's what is so weird.

People whinge about paying HB out of their taxes but in the next breath they want people who pay rent.. shoved out into private rents (because they can afford it and why should they get free rents) then they want the houses filled with the poor and the needy so they can pay for more HB.

Makes perfect sense.

gamerchick Tue 11-Mar-14 23:03:58

*cheap rents rather

BumpyGrindy Tue 11-Mar-14 23:04:06

I've just checked and full time in education can also apply. I see what you mean though about people in part time employ being excluded. It's not fair...a single parent for instance would possibly lose out there.

fideline Tue 11-Mar-14 23:05:16

Saucy & Jupiter's conversation illustrates my point perfectly.

fideline Tue 11-Mar-14 23:07:23

Ah well. Very glad you've got your home bumpy. Hope you are soon settling in.

fideline Tue 11-Mar-14 23:09:25

"That's what is so weird."

"People whinge about paying HB out of their taxes but in the next breath they want people who pay rent.. shoved out into private rents (because they can afford it and why should they get free rents) then they want the houses filled with the poor and the needy so they can pay for more HB."

This^ This this this. It's so obvious isn't it gamer?

NurseyWursey Tue 11-Mar-14 23:11:42

Please don't call me sweetie smile

It's obviously an issue of semantics and personal opinion.

hoppingmad Tue 11-Mar-14 23:14:49

Everyone seems to agree that council houses are low rent whilst private aren't. Seems accurate.
So - the majority of working council house tenants will likely be covering the whole rent (even low income households) whilst private tenants on low incomes will be receiving housing benefit top ups as their rent will be significantly higher.
So who is being subsidised?

fideline Tue 11-Mar-14 23:15:54

The BTL Landlords hopping

hoppingmad Tue 11-Mar-14 23:16:25


fideline Tue 11-Mar-14 23:16:31

Nursey it is not semantics.

AgaPanthers Tue 11-Mar-14 23:17:34

OP, YABVU, per the government's own figures

"Figures suggest that on average across England the economic subsidy provided by sub-market rents on social housing is worth an estimated £3,600 per annum. These subsidies are significant and the Government is concerned that they are unfair when provided to those on high incomes, both to taxpayers and to those in housing need on waiting lists. Social housing should go to those who genuinely need and deserve it the most. "

NurseyWursey Tue 11-Mar-14 23:17:37

whilst private tenants on low incomes will be receiving housing benefit top ups as their rent will be significantly higher

Considering the majority of the private land lords round here won't accept HB....

fideline Tue 11-Mar-14 23:19:25

Aga that document is politicised nonsense.

AgaPanthers Tue 11-Mar-14 23:20:14

Why, because you don't agree with it?

Rommell Tue 11-Mar-14 23:22:42

How can a matter which hinges on the definition of the word 'subsidy' be said to be a question of 'personal opinion'? Something is either subsidised or it is not. And council tenancies are not subsidised.

fideline Tue 11-Mar-14 23:23:05

Which is an even bigger problem Nursey. Where are people supposed to live?

Care assistants, cleaners, retail staff are all in essential jobs. Many will need HB to rent privately. If you can't rent privately, can't buy, and can't get a social tenancy, where do you live?

If HA/council housing isn't subsidised , how come those with no recourse to public funds aren't eligible for tenancies?
You can bang on about it as much as you like, HA and Council property rents are considered to be subsidised.

Pipbin Tue 11-Mar-14 23:25:10

This is why I started a thread asking questions. I had no understanding go HA as, although some found it hard to understand, I have got to the age of 38 without any knowledge of social housing.
I wanted to get the facts so I could correct people who say that council houses are free.

NurseyWursey Tue 11-Mar-14 23:25:13

Of course it's a bigger problem. Which will only get worse because of universal credit - tenants being responsible for paying their own rent instead of the HB going straight to the landlord. Landlords don't trust it, so boom goes the HB applicants.

It's a fine mess we're landing ourselves in. If I weren't with my partner I'd be in the same sorry boat.

Saying that I'm technically still classed as 'homeless' on the HB register thingy and still haven't been offered anywhere.. 5 years later.

Rommell Tue 11-Mar-14 23:25:19

^Considering the majority of the private land lords round here won't accept HB....^

What does that have to do with anything? Private landlords raked in £9 billion (yes, BILLION) in public money through LHA in 2012 alone. I do not have the figures for 2013 but they are likely to be higher due to rising rents and downward pressure on wages.

NurseyWursey Tue 11-Mar-14 23:26:14

Rommell I think you'll find it was relevant to the post I quoted.

Rommell Tue 11-Mar-14 23:26:41

Now that (£9 billion a year and rising) is what you call a subsidy.

fideline Tue 11-Mar-14 23:27:18

No Aga not because I don't agree with it. Because it was written by the housing committee (made up of politicians) of a Conservative/ Lib Dem controlled Local Authority and it is using the word 'subsidy' in a way not compatible with the dictionary definition.

Rommell Tue 11-Mar-14 23:28:16

Your perception of 'what happens round your way' is irrelevant when private landlords are indeed being subsidised through the public purse. .

Misspixietrix Tue 11-Mar-14 23:28:58

YNBU. Not long read on my Twitter TL about Crow having lived 'off taxpayers' because he lived in a Council! I can count on both hands the amount of friends who both work and pay their rent so don't exactly get their 'house for free'.

fideline Tue 11-Mar-14 23:30:07

"considered to be subsidized" Calculators?

As distinct from being 'actually' subsidized then?

I could decide to 'consider' you an idiot'. It wou;dn't necessarily make you one.

fideline Tue 11-Mar-14 23:34:15

The fact that people are raising this re Bob Crow today would be unspeakably tacky even if they were right Missp But, as you say, they are wrong.

Considered by the Housing Associations and Councils who actually do the letting of their properties to indeed be subsidised housing, yes.
You are clearly just here spoiling for a fight. look at me, I'm right, couldn't possibly be wrong, oh no

fideline Tue 11-Mar-14 23:38:03

Calculators the word subsidy has an actual meaning. "Considered subsidized" is woolier. You still haven't substantiated your point.

Who (specifically) considers the rents subsidized?

AgaPanthers Tue 11-Mar-14 23:39:07

There are other factors also.

A privately owned house with a sitting (regulated - cannot be evicted tenant) tenant, may typically worth just a third of a property of what a house with a modern assured shorthold tenancy would be worth.

This reflects the value of security of tenure. A council tenant acquires security of tenure. He has the right to leave at any time, but unlike a private tenant he cannot be evicted at the whim of a landlord.

Further, if you have a council tenancy then in the event of the council wishing to redevelop its land, you will be rehoused on a similarly secure basis. In the private sector if the landlord decides to knock your house down, then you may have just a month's notice, and it's tough shit.

The fact is that it is not reasonable to compare a council rent with the rent for the same house on the private rental market (and in many cases due to right to buy, you can get houses on the same estate on the private market), because in reality the fair market value of council rental is HIGHER than the equivalent, assured shorthold tenancy, turf-you-out-on-a-whim private tenancy. Secure tenancy is a massive deal.

The right to buy is another factor. This is a discount of up to 70% on the market value of your house. This is another subsidy accruing to council housing, and worth up to £100,000. As an example, if you stayed in a council flat for 5 years, you might pay £400 per month in rent, times 60 = £24,000. If you then exercised your right to buy, you would receive a £100,000 discount from the council, based on a council flat in London worth £200,000.

If the market rent for the same property is £600 per month, then a private rental sector tenant pays in the same time £36,000, as against negative £76,000 for the council tenant.

The difference between the two hypothetical tenants, one private and one public sector, is £112,000. One tenant is £36,000 worse off than when he started, the other £76,000 better off. For HA the discount, under Right to Acquire is 'only' up to £16,000.

Clearly it is utterly ridiculous to suggest that there is no subsidy to council/HA properties.

Misspixietrix Tue 11-Mar-14 23:41:40

I'm assuming you know what the term no recourse to public funds applies to Calculators?...

NurseyWursey Tue 11-Mar-14 23:41:48

rommell In reply to you and both the post I was originally replying to, still a moot point when 61% of HB (£14.7 billion) goes to social housing tenants, but 39% (£9.3 billion) goes to private landlords.

Phatseau Tue 11-Mar-14 23:42:42

Some really interesting discussion on this thread.

fideline, I think it is reasonable to argue that an opportunity cost could be construed as a form of subsidy. Subsudies take various forms and I'm not sure it's fair to say it's unreasonable to characterise an opportunity cost as one of these forms.

For an example from the energy sector, see this quotation from the International Energy Agency website:

"The subsidy, in this case, is the opportunity cost of pricing domestic energy below international market levels, i.e. the rent that could be recovered if consumers paid world prices, adjusting for differences in variables such as transportation costs."

hoppingmad Tue 11-Mar-14 23:44:56

Nursey - it's hardly a moot point if hb paid to social housing tenants goes back to the social housing provider but hb paid to private rental tenants lines the pockets of the landlord

fideline Tue 11-Mar-14 23:48:56

Yes Aga secure tenure is an advantage/attraction of council housing. Nobody said it wasn't. That is very different from a rent subsidy however.

RTB discounts again are doubtless appreciated by those who qualify and are able to get a mortgage, but are not a rent subsidy.

The rents are not subsidized.

NurseyWursey Tue 11-Mar-14 23:50:13

It is though because we aren't arguing about where the money goes, we're debating about subsidy, and who is being subsidised. In relation to what we were actually initially discussing the point is moot.

You stated the majority of working council house tenants will likely be covering the whole rent (even low income households) whilst private tenants on low incomes will be receiving housing benefit top ups as their rent will be significantly higher. So who is subsidised?

The stats say the majority of HB is going to social housing. So in your question to who is being subsidised.. well on the whole it's the council house tenants.

fideline Tue 11-Mar-14 23:53:08

Nursey whether council rents charged are low/fair/reasonable because they are subsidized is a diff question from HB

NurseyWursey Tue 11-Mar-14 23:55:37

Again I was replying to the post at 23:14:49.

hoppingmad Tue 11-Mar-14 23:56:19

Actually I stated working council house tenants specifically

fideline Tue 11-Mar-14 23:56:48

Phatseu it is current 'market' rents are distorted, not social rents. It is more accurate theefore to think in terms of private tenants paying a premium due to a distortion of the market that has its root in the 1980s.

fideline Tue 11-Mar-14 23:58:50

OK, If i re-posit it as Council rents are 'normal' and private tenants are paying a premium, is that less controversial?

hoppingmad Wed 12-Mar-14 00:01:30

I agree with that fideline - if I was to buy the house I'm in my mortgage payments would be similar to my current rent. If I was to rent privately my rent would be approx double what I currently pay as that is what the Lha is and that's what landlords here use to set their rent

NurseyWursey Wed 12-Mar-14 00:06:36

I wonder how much profit the average landlord is actually making.

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 00:08:30

Depends when they bought Nursey

Phatseau Wed 12-Mar-14 00:11:35

fideline, I think you could reasonably argue that, yes.

However, I don't think you could argue that it's categorically the only "correct" interpretation, based on evidence. I also think you could argue that an opportunity cost is a form if subsidy, with the same caveats.

I don't think it's black and white at all, and therefore after consideration of these points, if someone falls into the "considering social rents a form of subsidy" camp as opposed to "considering market rents unreasonably inflated" camp, it's not "perverse" - I can completely understand how someone could reasonably arrive at that view.

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 00:17:03

I suppose when I wrote the OP, I was thinking of some unpleasant indivs insisting that their taxes were subsidising other people homes.

That particular perversity (I am paying for you to have a cheap house) is just factually wrong.

(And an opportunity cost is different from a subsidy anyway)

AgaPanthers Wed 12-Mar-14 00:27:12

No, the council rents are not 'normal', because they aren't consistent even for the same type of house between one HA or council and another.

It's very easy to find out what the rent for a 2-bedroom purpose-built flat in say Balham is, and indeed the government records this information for setting LHA rates. These private rates are far from arbitrary, reflecting the demand for housing, wages, prices in neighbouring areas, and, to an extent, interest rates and capital values

Council rents are subsidised, and this is well-established. Here is a discussion of this from Professor Hills, in 2001:

If the government wants to know what, say, the mobile spectrum is worth, it puts it up for auction, and the price is discovered. If it wants to know what its social housing is worth, it can check the open market.

Clearly the rents which can require 10 year waits, or desperate circumstances, are not the normal rates, because they are not generally available.

If you get 25% off TVs if you work for Currys, then you might pay £600 for a TV sold on Amazon for £800. The normal price for that TV is £800. It is not £600. That price is not widely available, it is not the normal price, it is only available to a special group (in this case Currys enmployees).

Private rents are normal because they reflect actual demand. If there is no demand for a particular property, then the rental rates may be very low. For example, the normal rent for this £1.7 million manor house in Leicestershire is under £3,000 a month:, because there is no demand to rent that kind of home in Leicestershire, and that might struggle even at that low price (low relative to the cost), as it looks like they are advertising it months in advance to try and find a tenant.

Whereas in many parts of London, a modest house at £3,000 per month would go to let agreed in under a week.

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 00:37:29

Aga for these super-inflated market rents to occur, the market had to be extensively tampered with.

Besides, private rents are not 'market rents' as they are being subsidized by HB to the tune of billions a year. So the market is being propped up artificially.

AgaPanthers Wed 12-Mar-14 01:02:28

fideline, there's no evidence for that.

Rents have risen in line with incomes (capital values are much more tampered with). That's what you would expect in a normal market.

Rental increases between January 2005 (start of the government's rental inflation figures) and May 2013 (latest data) in rental rates was only 8.6%, in total. The wider retail price inflation was 32%, so rental rates are actually cheaper in real terms now than 8 years ago.

Rental rates for places I personally rented 10 years ago are cheaper today.

There are increasing amounts of HB going to buy-to-let landlords, but my opinion is that they are overleveraged amateurs on the whole, and their presence amounts to a subsidy to rental rates, because they are willing to accept rents that do not cover their costs, on the speculative promise of capital price appreciation (which is another matter entirely, and certainly influences the demand for housing benefit, if people cannot afford to BUY homes, they will rent them).

We have negative real interest rates and excessive capital valuations on homes, as well as an oversized buy-to-let sector. Private rents are the most untampered with of these things.

absoluteidiot Wed 12-Mar-14 01:11:34

I live in a council house. It is my home, not like some snobs think, a squat I should be evicted from when I get on the housing ladder. Not that I can now, too old to get a mortgage anyway.

I have brought up my kids well. Two have gone to uni and a third is going. My two younger kids are happy and well adjusted.

My husband works but on minimum wage. I would be homeless without this home as I couldn't afford a private rent. We struggle to pay this rent, as it is.

I've been on a thread on another site today where this issue came up and there really are people who think the bedroom tax is a good idea and making an more even playing field between private renters and those in HAs or council houses.

And saying all that I'll informed shit about it not being a home for life any more, yet they'd shit themselves if I turfed them out of their mortgaged ( I won't say owned as most home "owners" forget they own feck all til the day the last payment is paid) "homes".

My neighbour lost her much lived home of twenty years when bedroom tax came in. She couldn't keep up with the rent having been self employed for years and a single mum, but her son grew up and her work dried up. She lived that house.

PatrickStarisabadbellend Wed 12-Mar-14 01:18:09

My HA has nothing to do with the council. Neither does most of the social housing around here. Charities own them.

Custardo Wed 12-Mar-14 01:21:29

but council and RPs are not for profit private rent is for profit

so there is no subsidy.

there is huge demand for council RP homes - just not enough supply

Misspixietrix Wed 12-Mar-14 06:50:03

Social Housing Rents are lower because LHAs are subject to certain rent controls which Private aren't. Not because they are 'considered to be subsidised'. The No recourse to public funds thing mentioned upfront is to do with non-eu migrants coming to live / stay here. It applies to many things not just HB unless you call things like Working Tax Credits subsidised too?

JakeBullet Wed 12-Mar-14 07:00:10

Too many people forget how they or their parents profited from RTB.

Now there IS a subsidy.

My parents bought their 4 bed council house at a massive discount because they had been council tenants for many years. When they sold it they made a pure profit based upon a subsidised sale originally.

We can talk around subsidies all day but fact is that many people are profiting from the lack of social housing.

If there was more social housing then the rents in the private sector would fall

Oh and anyone thinking that the so called bedroom tax is a great idea has obviously never had to struggle.

fairylightsintheloft Wed 12-Mar-14 07:04:55

someone just asked what profit LL make. For personal reasons that have nothing to do with running a business or wanting to be LL, DH and I rented out his flat for a couple of years and may soon be renting out our current house when we rent elsewhere. We charge the rent that covers the mortgage because we can't afford to do it otherwise and in both cases that rent is slap bang in the middle of the typical rent range for that type of property. We make zero profit and actually lost out over the years we rented the flat due to maintainance and agency costs. Obviously its different if you are a professional landlord but then they are running a business and therefore need to make a profit just like any other business owner.

SapphireMoon Wed 12-Mar-14 07:10:16

Not read whole thread as got to get on...
However, having paid ludicrous rent for crappy, poorly maintained houses in the private sector it is hard not to feel jealous of those who have the well maintained HA houses in our area who pay far less rent for a much better deal.
Human nature...

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 07:18:32

fair enough Sapphire I might feel the same in your shoes, but the (working full rent paying) HA tenants are 'lucky' rather than subsidized.

BumpyGrindy Wed 12-Mar-14 07:21:00

fairy your profit is having the mortgage paid by someone else.....the property and ownership of it is profit.

gamerchick Wed 12-Mar-14 07:21:27

Ah so we've moved on... feeling around for any evidence of a subsidy. grin

So we agree that the rents aren't subsidised then.


fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 07:21:38

So the one thing everyone (?) agrees on is that drastically more social housing would be a good thing?

gamerchick Wed 12-Mar-14 07:23:27

In fact.. don't or didn't the government take a large slice of the surplus rent from council tenants themselves?

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 07:23:59

Gamer I'm still reeling from the ahem 'argument' that social rents may not be subsidized, but they are 'considered subsidized'.

Riiiight. Game over then confused

gamerchick Wed 12-Mar-14 07:24:44

Yep I totally agree with that OP. Although there isn't really a shortage where I'm from.. It seems to be condensed the most down south.

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 07:25:05

They certainly did until recently. Not sure I've fully understood what the change was.

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 07:26:08

Everything is condensed down here! Good and bad.

gamerchick Wed 12-Mar-14 07:26:09

Yep it is a head meet desk moment.. at least you tried grin

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 07:29:23

Fairy You are benefiting from the capital appreciation. I accept you're not making profit. A lot of BTL landlords, who bought slightly earlier are making bucket loads of both, however. Often subsidized by HB.

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 07:31:08

I think half the problem is that people have been thoroughly brainwashed into believing the 'market' is wise/correct/infallible etc

Misspixietrix Wed 12-Mar-14 07:43:03

fideline apparently they are ten a penny around our way. Which is strange because there is a mahoosive office building round the former from us. Empty 3 yrs and yet to be turned into any form of housing. Private or Social.

gamerchick Wed 12-Mar-14 07:43:27

But even if BTL landlords don't make a profit on the way.. what's the property when the mortgage is paid off?
Thing is.. doesn't the mortgage set the cost of private rents? Don't you need a certain type of mortgage if you're doing buy to let? If that's true.. wouldn't that mean the rent issues come from a lot higher up?

(Not entirely sure how btl works fully)

In any which way.. many things in life seem to be the rich and powerful making their way in the world riding backs and those backs are squabbling over the scraps.

Quite sad really.

Misspixietrix Wed 12-Mar-14 07:43:43

Corner. Not former.

whineaholic Wed 12-Mar-14 07:44:12

Council housing stock should never ever have been sold off. Good social housing should be a right, IMO.

I can't believe where we now are - house prices unaffordable for anyone but a few , private rents sky high and unsecure and council housing a precious commodity and often in run down estates because the best stuff has been sold.

How did we ever get here?

SleepSleepSleepSleep Wed 12-Mar-14 07:45:34

I agree OP. People do sometimes tar all council/HA tenants with same brush.

I grew up in a HA flat (where my parents still live). It a nice estate in a leafy suburb of London. However I remember a couple of self styled 'posh' girls at school were convinced I lived in a drug den of crime and violence grin

DH and I own an ex council flat and live in a block where most people rent from the council. I must say the neighbours are friendlier here than in the other places we have lived where all the flats have been privately owned/rented. There is more of a community feel and I love it.

People judge council estates by those few notorious sink high rise estates which are not representative of the majority.

I did teach in a school where a couple of girls would come to me after the lesson and show me pictures on their phones of the regular fights and police raids on their estate. I wouldn't have liked to live there. But that doesn not mean all council places are like that!!

BumpyGrindy Wed 12-Mar-14 07:52:32

sleep what are your memories of growing up there? I may get offered a HA flat and am unsure about it due to always having had a garden

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 07:57:08

MissP It is very odd. I read an article a while back about a northern (yorkshire?) HA redesignating a lot of their 3 bed stock as 2 bed, because if the bedroom tax bit, the properties would have been left empty.

Gamer I think you understand it better than you think you do grin

All feels a bit dystopian doesn't it whine?

Sleep that's another reason why more social housing would be good- increased supply = increased uptake = decreased unfounded stigma

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 07:58:55

Oh Bumpy you haven't had an allocation yet? I misunderstood. Sorry for congratulating you upthread. I am crossing several fingers and groping my wooden table to put irt right blush

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 08:11:52

Re flat. I think the amount of access you have to other green space makes a difference...

BumpyGrindy Wed 12-Mar-14 08:29:27

fideline its ok grin I am confident its ours....we were number 1 when bids closed last night.....the flat has garden all round it and is in a rural area....tonnes of green...woods and everything.

whineaholic Wed 12-Mar-14 08:33:04

It does fideline and it makes me uneasy. Society is not menat to work that way.

Council housing was homes for for heroes after the war. My parents grew up in big, beautifully designed council homes with gardens big enough to grow veg and out houses. They were warm, secure and afforadble homes for life for the working ( hard) classes.
Now, they are few and far between and often not a reward for hardwork but quite the opposite.
I cannot belive they are still being sold off. If Labour shoudl have done anything in their 13 years of power to support the working people, it was to put an end to the selling off of housing stock.

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 08:35:08

Oh good. Fingers crossed.

When I lived in a gardenless flat I had a little red riding hood style basket by the front door permanently stocked with paperback, sunglasses, sun block etc. So when i fancied an hour in the garden I could just chuck a bottle of water in and go. Made nipping to the garden feel much less of a faff, but I might just be v disorganised smile.

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 08:39:55

Whine The triple whammy of low wages, high housing costs and increasing population scares the hell out of me. It is astounding to me that there isn't mass panic/ marches on parliament/ urgent debates in the media.

Depressing myself again now sad

whineaholic Wed 12-Mar-14 08:45:15

I worry for my children and what sort of homes they may end up in which means I worry we may never be rid of them!! shock

TruffleOil Wed 12-Mar-14 08:55:49

There's two views on the HA properties:

1. They pay for themselves, so they are not a subsidized
2. The market could bear higher rents, so they are subsidized.

Neither is more "right" than the other; rather, it's more what kind of role you think government should have in the housing market.

Mintyy Wed 12-Mar-14 09:07:43

I'd love it if council and HA tenants could sometimes acknowledge their good fortune wrt rent and security. The situation for private renters in this country is absurd. And the fact that the rent is often paying off mortgages for multiple buy to letters is wrong on so many levels. Especially as the rent is often so high that people on average incomes need a Housing Benefit top-up.

SaucyJack Wed 12-Mar-14 09:10:49

There's two views on the HA properties:

1. They pay for themselves, so they are not a subsidized
2. The market could bear higher rents, so they are subsidized.

Neither is more "right" than the other; rather, it's more what kind of role you think government should have in the housing market.


With all due respect, this is complete nonsense. The word "subsidy" has a specific meaning- just like an other single word in the English language. And the only point on your list that meets the actual definition of the word subsidy is point 1.

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 09:11:15

You see Truffle I can accept a description such as 'the rental potential of social housing is under-realised' or some such business guff. I just can't concede that such a situation can reasonably be described as subsidization.

I remember enough Economics to know that it is not an uncontested truth that demand should determine prices. Not all economies are pure market economies. The UK housing market certainly isn't. Ergo 'the price the market could bear' is not the 'norm' and a cost-based pricing structure is not a deviation that needs explaining away as a 'subsidy'.

Can we all just agree that there are lots of words that would better describe the situation than the wholly inaccurate 'subsidy'?

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 09:13:05

What Saucy said, too.

Why do people think they can bend the meanings of words to suit themselves?

TruffleOil Wed 12-Mar-14 09:13:40

The opportunity cost is a subsidy. I don't understand how this could be a matter of dispute.

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 09:16:11

Minty I think social tenants do appreciate their luck.

I am shared-ownership leaseholder. I appreciate that opportunity, although it has drawbacks.

Many O/occupiers of a certain vintage doubtless appreciate their luck in making large equity gains.

Why do you think social tenants in particular should express gratitude? Where? How?

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 09:17:09

'Opportunity cost' and 'subsidy' are not synonyms. They just aren't.

Mintyy Wed 12-Mar-14 09:17:17

Well ... on Mumsnet threads maybe?

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 09:19:01

On the other hand Minty you are quite right that private tenants are being royally shafted by their artificially inflated rents. That is the scandal, the anomaly, the problem.

SaucyJack Wed 12-Mar-14 09:20:42

Sigh. Because making less profit on something than you potentially could does not meet the definition of the word subsidy. Google it. It just means it's not for profit.

Something is only subsidized if it's costing the owner/supplier more to produce/maintain than they receive back in renumeration.

LadyBeagleEyes Wed 12-Mar-14 09:21:03

I think many people who would have been on the housing ladder by now, as their parents were, and what was so normal just a few years ago and now have to pay extortinate rents in the private sector suddenly want a council house because of the cheaper rent and security.
It wasn't that long ago when people who lived in social housing were looked down on by the very people that want them now, because of the economic climate.
It's down to jealousy in some cases, and I really don't get why people think, just because they're paying high rents everybody else should.

Mintyy Wed 12-Mar-14 09:22:00

Yes, except of course that house prices mainly dictate the level of rent in the private sector - so I agree, blame the bankers and all the foreign investment in housing which is allowed to go unchecked as someone said earlier on the thread.

But a private landlord just has to ride it out for 25 years and then gets an enormous asset paid for by someone else. Nice work if you can get it hmm.

TruffleOil Wed 12-Mar-14 09:22:18

'Opportunity cost' and 'subsidy' are not synonyms. They just aren't.

I agree. The opportunity cost equals the subsidy in this case.

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 09:23:15

I've heard(read) social tenants on MN absolutely eulogize their good fortune at having reasonably priced security of tenure.

A good friend also cried at my kitchen table this week because she felt that the anti-scrounger rhetoric is now turning towards council tenants and she is worried her DS will be stigmatized in some way. She feels a failure for getting divorced but MORE of a failure for accepting a social tenancy.

Terrible state of affairs (I did suggest she stop reading DM comments though)

TruffleOil Wed 12-Mar-14 09:25:10

Sigh. Because making less profit on something than you potentially could does not meet the definition of the word subsidy. Google it. It just means it's not for profit.

I don't need to google it. It's common sense. If you give me something for less than market value, you are subsidizing my purchase with your forgone profit.

Something is only subsidized if it's costing the owner/supplier more to produce/maintain than they receive back in renumeration.

Where did you get this definition of "subsidy"?

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 09:27:22

". Because making less profit on something than you potentially could does not meet the definition of the word subsidy. Google it. It just means it's not for profit."


TruffleOil Wed 12-Mar-14 09:27:23

I'm somehow inadvertently casting myself as an opponent of HA rental, which I am not. I merely cannot agree that there is not an element of subsidy here.

SaucyJack Wed 12-Mar-14 09:28:41

The dictionary.

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 09:29:17

I think you've hit on something there LadyB I'm sure a lot of the people who purport to envy social rents would baulk if offered the keys to an average council flat.

tiggytape Wed 12-Mar-14 09:29:23

The rent on a council property is significantly cheaper than the rent of a comparable privately rented property especially in and around London. Having one is therefore beneficial for that family even if it isn't classed as a benefit. They aren't now available for people who are in identical circumstances to those who got allocated them a few years ago so are seen as even more desirable. It isn't just the money although it is true that councils keep rents much lower than many others have to pay. It is the security of having a fixed home and the fact they are genuine homes so can be decorated and lived in properly whereas so many in privately rented houses cannot even put up a mirror.
The council are providing a much better deal than people who have to privately rent can get so it may not be correct to call it subsidised or a benefit but for practical purposes that's how it feels.

TruffleOil Wed 12-Mar-14 09:29:28

I googled it. Wikipedia.

A subsidy is a form of financial or in kind support extended to an economic sector (or institution, business, or individual) generally with the aim of promoting economic and social policy.

Note the "in kind", which means payment other than money.

NurseyWursey Wed 12-Mar-14 09:30:29

Beat me to it Truffle.

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 09:30:40

Truffle please just look up subsidy in a dictionary.

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 09:31:22

It's not payment 'in kind'.

NurseyWursey Wed 12-Mar-14 09:31:25

Also notice this 'As a form of economic intervention, subsidies are inherently contrary to the market's demands. Thus, they are commonly used by governments to promote general welfare (eg. housing, tuition, sustenance)'

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 09:32:00

It is just the absence of an unjustified price increase.

NurseyWursey Wed 12-Mar-14 09:33:33


(Economics) a financial aid supplied by a government, as to industry, for reasons of public welfare, the balance of payments, etc

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 09:34:06

Not in UK council housing

UK social medicine yes
UK state education yes
UK welfare payments, many of them yes, often subsidising NMW employers

NOT UK Social housing. It is largely self financing

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 09:35:22

NO financial aid is supplied by gov't to supress council rents Nursey (see shelter email upthread) Why can you not accept it?

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 09:36:43

HOUSING BENEFIT is the subsidy that the UK govt provides to promote welfare re housing.

TruffleOil Wed 12-Mar-14 09:37:30

fideline, I don't disagree that the UK housing market is distorted. What I think is an act of willful ignorance, however, is for people to not accept that a below-market rate is a subsidy.

In a perfect market, do you think that below-market rates are a subsidy?

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 09:41:37

I have a bit of a problem with the term 'perfect market' TBH

I don't believe the ability to house oneself and one's children should ever be at the mercy of a free market. Housing should be available at cost wherever possible.

As should a good basic education to at least 18 and high quality healthcare. We do better than 'cost' with health and schools.

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 09:44:22

Realistically speaking; I believe govt should attempt to stop all housing costs spiralling out of general reach.

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 10:00:06

Just been looking for a graphic I saw a while back about what would happen if social housing was abolished. Can't find the darn thing.

Rommell Wed 12-Mar-14 10:04:09

Housing is anything but a 'free market', anyway. The roots of the current housing crisis (and it is a crisis) go back to the introduction of ASTs by the dying Thatcher govt. This was purposely done in order to 'encourage investment' in the housing market ie to encourage speculative buying and selling with the object of making house prices increase. It was only partially successful at the time, but the fact that ASTs continued after the house price slump did indeed encourage the kind of speculation that was originally intended, and that has continued to this day. House prices have continued to be kept artificially high by the record low interest rate set by the Bank of England throughout these recent recession years, and are now being shored up further by the Help to Buy scheme. If you want a free and unfettered housing market, then you're in the wrong country.

TruffleOil Wed 12-Mar-14 10:04:33

That's very revealing. It sounds like you'd like to socialize housing across the board.

HOUSING BENEFIT is the subsidy that the UK govt provides to promote welfare re housing.

I'm not sure what you mean here. Are you arguing that the government subsidizes private LL's through housing benefit? If so, you may have actually used the word "subsidy" correctly here. If in fact it is true that a certain subset of private LL rents would fall in the absence of housing benefit, that would constitute a taxpayer subsidy of LL's.

If you accept this proposition, however, you'd have to also accept that HA properties are subsidized. See the corollary:

If HA rents would rise in the absence of government-set rates, this would constitute a taxpayer subsidy of HA tenants.

floppyfanjo Wed 12-Mar-14 10:07:00

I Own a property that I rent out and I charge slightly less rent than identical properties on the same street - does that therefore mean my tenants are being subsidized ?

Of course it bloody doesn't ..................................

TruffleOil Wed 12-Mar-14 10:14:24

Of course it's a subsidy. Are you actually renting your house out at below market value?

Can argue what subsidy should mean all day, but what matters is what it does mean in everyday usage.

When someone posts on some benefit thread "They are subsidised" they mean "if the council houses all burned down I'd have to pay less tax. Every week I have to pay to subsidise them".

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 10:16:09

Truffle It probably sounds more Socialist and radical than it is.

As Rommel says;

" The roots of the current housing crisis (and it is a crisis) go back to the introduction of ASTs by the dying Thatcher govt"

Until that point all tenants (barring obscure exceptions) had good security of tenure. It was the norm. There was a broad consensus that housing security was necessary, that you could not expect people to live at the whim of the landlord. As a result, LLing was not an attractive short-term or amateur investment. Rents and house prices remained within the realms of sanity. This was less than 30 years ago.

It was the changes Rommell mentions that took the natural brakes off the housing economy, by deliberately arranging it as a more attractive LL investment, for the benefit of investors not for the benefit of people needing homes.

absoluteidiot Wed 12-Mar-14 10:16:31

Talking subsidies....

My (council) house was built in the 1940s, and probably paid for within a few years. Maintenance costs the council next to nothing as they don't do any. When our kitchens and heating was done up a few years back, it was European money paid for it. So far as I can see, the rent I pay is almost 100% profit for my council - so the council tenants here who pay their rent and don't get HB or much HB are actually subsidising the home owners, as I presume that pure profit the council make from me every week goes for your facilities, paid for by your council, using money from renting out houses that cost then £300 to build in 1947.

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 10:18:43

Re. HB, I meant that the financial subsidy govt provides in UK to prevent housing hardship is HB (which benefits all stripes of tenant and LLs) They 'intervene' vis HB not through any mechanism involving social rents.

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 10:20:51

"if the council houses all burned down I'd have to pay less tax"

But that is the thing that isn't true Back. If anything, they would pay more tax

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 10:23:25

Perfect example Absolute

Rommell Wed 12-Mar-14 10:25:31

I find it utterly depressing that someone who thinks that the basic necessity of shelter not be a vehicle for economically speculative behaviour, with such behaviour explicitly made possible by govt policy, can be considered dangerously socialist.

absoluteidiot Wed 12-Mar-14 10:28:44

I don't believe the council is using the almost 100% profit they make each week from me, to build more council houses. And the vast majority of people round here are "homeowners" (well, more likely people with mortgages so their banks own their homes). So from this I infer that I am hugely subsidising "homeowners" round here. Presumably, if say a magical steamroller flattened all the privately "owned" houses round here, leaving only the council and HA housing, then I'd have less of you to subsidise.


fideline yes that's what I mean. The tax payers are not really subsidising council houses at all - they just think they are.

TruffleOil Wed 12-Mar-14 10:32:51

I find it utterly depressing that someone who thinks that the basic necessity of shelter not be a vehicle for economically speculative behaviour, with such behaviour explicitly made possible by govt policy, can be considered dangerously socialist.

What I actually said was
* It sounds like you'd like to socialize housing across the board. *

Rommell Wed 12-Mar-14 10:33:34

Makes sense to me, absolute. You, unlike the BTLers with their £9 billion of public money handed to them a year for doing precisely fuck all, are a net contributor.

absoluteidiot Wed 12-Mar-14 10:39:04

I actually think it should be illegal to profit from other people's potential homelessness. That we all have a right to a roof over our heads and why should anyone make money from that? It does seem sick when you see tory MPs with portfolios as rackrenting landlords, and they moan about housing benefit yet they make a fortune from it. I don't get why people don't find this obscene.

floppyfanjo Wed 12-Mar-14 10:45:02

Ok Lets just say for arguments sake that because Social Housing are lower than market rates this means they are indeed "subsidized".

Who exactly is doing this subsidizing ? it certainly isn't me and you (ie the tax payer)

Most Social housing is now provided by private (not for profit) organizations so any "lost" revenue is not being subsidized by joe public.

Its like saying tesco's are subsidizing shoppers because they sell Heinz beans cheaper than the corner shop !

Vickiyumyum Wed 12-Mar-14 10:55:12

I live in the south east and a council house rent for same size (usually bigger rooms and square footage than my equivalent house) is approx half the rent I pay. My relatives pay £480 a month for a three bed non estate semi from the council. A friend from the school lives in a lovely 4 bed housing association house and pays £575 a month. I pay £1050 a month to a private landlord. A good landlord admittedly but I can't help feeling a little bit peeved that I pay so much more for less security.

'Socialize' sounds like a dirty word doesn't it. When their kids are grown up most people have to charge them something each week. Usually the idea is to cover their own costs, not to charge the most their can. This is not considered immoral in itself or communism.

Capitalism does seem to work better with human societies than pure communism, but there's nothing holy about it. It's just a method we came up with that mostly works.

It can be counter productive. On the face of it if you give me a national railway network I will ensure it works well to maximise my profits - that's the beauty of capitalism.

So far so good, but I quickly see that abandoning all the rural areas and concentrating resources elsewhere will make me even more profit. In fact if I don't replace old equipment, but just charge more for a smaller service my profits will be even higher.

So you have to step in because in the case of a service needed by everyone, maximising profits can not be the only factor considered.

Since everyone needs somewhere to live it is to the advantage of society as a whole that it works right. So I'd have a lot of council housing priced so they made a small to medium profit. I wouldn't ban private landlords, but if a large percentage of homes were council owned it would add stability.

TruffleOil Wed 12-Mar-14 11:03:26

floppyfanjo in the case of a private trust there's no ongoing taxpayer subsidy, apart from charitable status. There would be one-offs in the form of the tax break (lost tax revenue) that would have been awarded the donator in the event they should they have given it at less than market value, or the market value of the housing stock if taxpayer if was donated from the government.

I don't follow your tesco/corner shop analogy. Corner shops are more convenient & attach a premium to their baked beans accordingly.

I share the disdain of the housing benefit to private LL's, incidentally.

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 11:03:40

Sorry back I misread.

^"What I actually said was
* It sounds like you'd like to socialize housing across the board. *"^

Truffle In what way did I sound as though I wanted to do that? It's hardly as though nationalisation is the only known method for steering the housing market.

Don't blame you Vicki

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 11:06:51

Truffle In the case of council housing there is no on-going taxpayer subsidy either!!

gamerchick Wed 12-Mar-14 11:18:44

It's scary to see people so brain washed they can't wrap their heads round the fact that 'they' the mighty taxpayer don't contribute to council housing where no benefits are used to pay for it.

TruffleOil Wed 12-Mar-14 11:24:13

I gather I am the "brainwashed" one?

gamerchick Wed 12-Mar-14 11:27:42

Well that depends on whether you firmly believe that some of your hard earned money is earmarked for council housing with full paying tenants? Which by the way is a hell of a lot.

TruffleOil Wed 12-Mar-14 11:36:31

Well that depends on whether you firmly believe that some of your hard earned money is earmarked for council housing with full paying tenants? Which by the way is a hell of a lot.

I do not believe this.

LydiaLunches Wed 12-Mar-14 11:37:13

Someone usually brings it up but where I live, council (or more accurately the ha to which the council stock was transferred ) and (less often) historically ha rents are higher than comparable private rents due to 'affordable rent' being set at 80% of average market rent for eg. a 3bed house in the area. If the area is too wide and includes more desirable properties than the estate council housing stock the council house ends up with an artificially high rent. I have a hunch that this deters applications from anyone who doesn't have a reasonable expectation of remaining on full HB long term.

JakeBullet Wed 12-Mar-14 11:38:23

In most parts of Europe there are rent controls which is why many Europeans rent...and can do so on normal salaries. Unlike here....

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 11:39:23

Ok another angle;

I have ILs in their early 50s who have lived in their private rental for 25/30 years, since before the housing 'reform' laws, since before their fashionable SE city was fashionable.

Because they have been in the same (lovely) flat since before Thatcher's changes, they still have a secure tenancy with their private landlord and their rent is subject to adjudication by the fair rent officer. As a result they pay a far lower rent than current 'market rents'.

They are in a tiny minority of course.

Who is allegedly subsidizing who in that scenario?

TruffleOil Wed 12-Mar-14 11:44:58

I gather the landlord is subsidizing their rent, almost certainly by some government inducement that equals or exceeds the subsidy.

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 11:57:05

No. The LL has no choice. He is obliged by law to honour the terms of their (pre 1988) tenancy agreement, which as was usual then, guaranteed them security of tenure and a 'fair' rent.

No inducements, no subsidy, just a small time warp of more civilized housing law.

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 12:00:15

This article discusses the approx 100,000 tenants in same position as my (v lucky) in-laws

TruffleOil Wed 12-Mar-14 12:02:13

Then there's no subsidy. They all entered into an agreement to fix the price; when rents increase the landlord loses. Equally if the prices fell your IL's would lose. Unless it's an asymmetrical agreement, in which case the LL would have to be induced in order to reasonably enter into such an agreement.

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 12:07:28

No agreement to fix the price. Just legal protection from run-away rent increases.

Neither LL nor ILs knew when tenancy was signed that Thatcher would 'reform' tenancies and fair rent laws in 1988. All rents the (early/mid 80s) had to be fair rents and were subject to adjudication (1977 Rent Act)

Most people lost that protection by moving on. ILs stayed put so retained their 80s era tenancy rights. It is UK law not private agreement.

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 12:15:03

This Is the official info on such tenancies

TruffleOil Wed 12-Mar-14 12:15:09

It's "fixing" the price to inflation.

I suppose I don't understand how you are trying to relate this to the point at hand - is it that you can have low rents without a subsidy? This is not a subsidy because the LLs were protecting their own interests when they decided to enter into such an agreement, and they lost. No one could have predicted how the housing market would behave. Had the market tanked & inflation skyrocketed, you'd have the opposite effect.

Misspixietrix Wed 12-Mar-14 12:18:34

<le sigh> why is it so hard to grasp? LHAs HAVE to rent At lower rates because of rules they have to adhere to that private LLs do not. It really isn't that hard to grasp is it?

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 12:20:44

Truffle THE LANDLORDS DID NOT CHOOSE such tenancies - they were the standard tenancies up until 1988. That was the law.

TruffleOil Wed 12-Mar-14 12:27:06


fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 12:27:19

My point is was Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs), introduced in 1988 that were the divergence from the previous norm.

Now most tenants have ASTs. Consequently they have no security and no rent control.

Tenants who by whatever quirk of fortune have Secure, Assured or Regulated tenancies continue to enjoy conditions closer to those that all tenants had pre-1989. Nothing more.

AST tenants, by contrast, have been sold up the river.

However, our societal memory is so short that many people now consider ASTs to be 'normal' renting. They are not, they are a recent aberration and they are shit.

So why are people not shrieking for the abolition of ASTs instead of bitching about Council tenants?

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 12:30:15

Well of course they chose to rent properties out - they were professional landlords. As such, I'm sure they have taken consequent developments on the chin.

The point is, such tenancy rights, inc fair rents, were compulsory until fairly recently.

Such tenancy rights are still normal across Europe.

ASTs are the aberration.

Dinosaursareextinct Wed 12-Mar-14 12:31:04

The rent is much much lower for council houses though. I was amazed when someone told me how little she is paying. So in that sense it is subsidised. If the council rented on the open market they'd make a packet.

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 12:33:30

Head. Desk.

In what 'sense' exactly Dino?

Just because they are lower, it doesn't follow that there must be a subsidy hiding somewhere.

TruffleOil Wed 12-Mar-14 12:35:58

The point is, such tenancy rights, inc fair rents, were compulsory until fairly recently.

If that was your point, then why didn't you say so? You've rather sent me on a wild goose chase with your "spot the subsidy" post upstream a bit. I don't really have a problem with controlled rents, they would simply depress housing prices which I suppose could be viewed as a good thing.

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 12:36:24

They don't exist to make a packet, Dino, they exist to cover costs.

Someone made an excellent point upthread that in all probability council rent payers are probably subsidizing services to o/occupiers. Well worth a read smile Whole thread is, actually.

Dinosaursareextinct Wed 12-Mar-14 12:37:38

The council owns houses. They could in theory (no doubt legislation would need to be changed) rent those houses out to people on the basis of getting as much rent as they could - on the open market. Instead they rent them out on very low rents. In that sense, their rents are subsidised.

Rommell Wed 12-Mar-14 12:38:12

Also, like I said, ASTs were introduced with the express intention of encouraging more amateur and short-term landlording which the govt did because they wanted house prices to rise. It was deliberate ie house price rises are not the consequence of a free market but of adjusting that market through legislation that took away tenants' rights. And now, having shafted one particular group of people (private sector tenants), current political rhetoric is such that instead of there being an outcry about it, there are calls for the remaining tenants in public sector housing to also be shafted. Because apparently the problem with the unfairness isn't that private sector renting is fucking awful but that public sector renting is too cushty. And people are falling for it. It's fucking depressing.

Dinosaursareextinct Wed 12-Mar-14 12:39:00

NB some people in council houses are well off. They could afford to pay market rate rent. Their rents are subsidised (by the taxpayer).

TruffleOil Wed 12-Mar-14 12:39:47

fideline. This is really my last post, because I've got to get to work. You've been arguing that this is not a subsidy and urging me to consult the dictionary & so on. I posted for you upstream the wikipedia definition of subsidy:
A subsidy is a form of financial or in kind support extended to an economic sector (or institution, business, or individual) generally with the aim of promoting economic and social policy.[

I urge you to consider the possibility that a below-market rent is "in kind support"

gamerchick Wed 12-Mar-14 12:40:13

its getting to the nitty gritty.. wooo grin

People have become so accustomed to being ripped off in the private market.. there HAS to be a subsidy in there somewhere for council rents.. just has to be.... how else are rents 'so low'?

Maybe people are so used to being ripped off in this country.. something that is actually fair and proper does not compute.

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 12:40:23

Truf (can i call you truf?)

Sorry. The spot the subsidy thing was a semi-rhetorical point about how low rents can exist w/o subsidy.

Most council houses, in common with all regulated-tenant-occupied-rentals, were built/bought pre 1988. They weren't bought at inflated prices so, despite fair rents, they don't need subsidising (the other part of my point)

TruffleOil Wed 12-Mar-14 12:40:32

Someone made an excellent point upthread that in all probability council rent payers are probably subsidizing services to o/occupiers. Well worth a read smile Whole thread is, actually.

What a tortured definition of subsidy.

TruffleOil Wed 12-Mar-14 12:40:56

Truf (can i call you truf?)

of course fid :-)

Rommell Wed 12-Mar-14 12:42:20

Why is the private sector rent the correct figure to use as a benchmark, Dinosaursareextinct? Especially given that as I have said the private rental sector is a distorted market, not a free one? Council rents are not subsidised - they are one of the income generating arms of the council ie they turn over a profit, not a loss. They don't cost the tax-payer anything.

TruffleOil Wed 12-Mar-14 12:43:03

Most council houses, in common with all regulated-tenant-occupied-rentals, were built/bought pre 1988. They weren't bought at inflated prices so, despite fair rents, they don't need subsidising (the other part of my point)

Fair enough, but if you bought a house pre-1988, you'd be fairly silly to rent it out on a cost-covering basis. In fact I wager you wouldn't.

OK gotta run. Bye fideline.

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 12:43:20

gamer do you have pom-poms or just a glo stick?

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 12:43:49

Happy working Truf

gamerchick Wed 12-Mar-14 12:45:34

feel like getting a bat out atm fideline.

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 12:46:52

Thank god you turned up Rommell I am quite faint from frustration smile

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 12:48:10

I don't think we'll crack it in a mere 1000 posts gamer

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 12:51:05

Blimey, did Dino give up?

gamerchick Wed 12-Mar-14 12:58:20

I know.. it's a scary topic for me. Makes me twitchy knowing there are people out there who would have my house off me and shoved into private rents because they have to.. just because I pay full rent and so can 'afford it'.. Especially when they're under this weird illusion that my house is free or they subsidise it.

weird shit right there.

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 13:11:31

I bet it is

MrsDL Wed 12-Mar-14 13:19:26

I do see the as a kind of welfare benefit though…. because of this:
That may be, but councils prioritise houses according to need, and if you are working and on a reasonable wage, with no mitigating circumstances such as DV, you are unlikely to get one.
HA/council housing is only available to the least well off in society, because there isn't sufficient supply for everybody to have a council house. I'm not trying to antagonise, but I think that is why people see it as a form of benefit (even though, I appreciate that legally it is not). I'm not being perverse, just saying the nature of HA accommodation and the way it is allocated makes it very similar to a welfare benefit.

MrsDL Wed 12-Mar-14 13:23:16

oh I'm actually really dim because I missed 11 pages of chat before posting. suspect everything I've said has been said already and better…,. sorry!

gamerchick Wed 12-Mar-14 13:28:26

but that's not the case everywhere in the country. Down south sounds like hell on earth with regards to CH.

Here you can be overcrowded in a private flat.. be working and still get a 3 bed CH because you need a bigger place.

Dinosaursareextinct Wed 12-Mar-14 13:29:07

To get a council house in the first place you probably need to be badly off. But you can then get a better job, earn lots of money, your children leave home, etc etc, and yet you still keep the large and very cheap council house. I do think that higher rents should be charged to those whose income levels go up while they are council house occupiers.
If I rent my house out to you at £50 a week, while similar houses in my area are being rented out at £200 a week, you have a fantastic deal. Why not accept that you have a fantastic deal from the council? If you are poor, and if you didn't have a council house you would qualify for higher housing benefit, then fair enough. If you are not poor and would therefore not qualify for housing benefit, the council should not be subsidising you (by which I simply mean charging you far less than you would be charged on the open market). That is not what the council house scheme was designed to do.
There's no point pretending that it is the private housing market that is the anomaly. That market charges people what they can afford, as with most consumer goods and services.

gamerchick Wed 12-Mar-14 13:31:25

and round and round we go grin

NurseyWursey Wed 12-Mar-14 13:33:21


fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 13:36:19

Don't look at me. I have repetitive strain injury.

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 13:39:09

"council should not be subsidising you (by which I simply mean charging you far less than you would be charged on the open market)"

That is really not what subsidy means dino. Honest grin

gamerchick Wed 12-Mar-14 13:40:28


Ever feel like you're nutting a wall?!

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 13:40:29

MrsDL No problem at all, but it is fair to say you missed a bit grin

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 13:44:32

This thread certainly proves a lot of people hold the same view!

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 13:46:30

" There's no point pretending that it is the private housing market that is the anomaly."

I think it is the anomaly. I believe history proves it.

Dinosaursareextinct Wed 12-Mar-14 13:48:05

An example from Wikipedia:
"A consumption subsidy is one that subsidises the behaviour of consumers. These type of subsidies are most common in developing countries where Governments subsidise such things as food, water, electricity and education on the basis that no matter how impoverished, all should be allowed those most basic requirements.[1] For example, some Governments offer ‘lifetime’ rates for electricity, that is, the first increment of electricity each month is subsidised.[1]"

That sounds pretty much what council house occupiers get - a lower rent than available on the open market, because otherwise they wouldn't be able to afford anywhere to live.

That's fine, until their income increases. God knows councils need the money from those who can afford it - they are cutting vital services like old people's homes all over the place now.

Dinosaursareextinct Wed 12-Mar-14 13:49:18

Fideline - why is the private housing market the anomaly? How long have council houses been around for, then, and what percentage of the population do they cover?

Dinosaursareextinct Wed 12-Mar-14 13:54:01

NB I once bought a former council house from a couple who were both decent earners (household income in the region of £50K, one teenager at home). They'd had years on very low rent as their income increased, then bought the council house for peanuts and sold it off at 6 times what they paid for it.
I don't think it's fair (if that matters to anyone) for public assets to be used like that. And I feel similarly about well off people paying peanuts to a council which is having to cut vital public services.

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 13:55:19

If you read the conversation from 9.30 to about 12.40 today Dino you can see what lots of us said about that. I have to dash to GP appt or i'd repeat some of it to you.

Would really be interested in whether any of it sways you. smile

Have a brew, get comfy and have a look.

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 13:56:31

what we said about private being the anomaly or not, that is

gamerchick Wed 12-Mar-14 13:57:09

out of interest dino.. how much do you think council rent actually is on average?

PatrickStarisabadbellend Wed 12-Mar-14 13:59:47

Shouldn't people be annoyed by the very high private rents?

I pay full rent for my HA home in the village i grew up. Locals are being out priced by holiday homes and BTL. So HA is our only chance to have a home in our own village.

It's not right at all.

Chunderella Wed 12-Mar-14 14:05:29

That may be, but councils prioritise houses according to need, and if you are working and on a reasonable wage, with no mitigating circumstances such as DV, you are unlikely to get one.

HA/council housing is only available to the least well off in society, because there isn't sufficient supply for everybody to have a council house.

This is incorrect, though unfortunately always gets trotted out on these threads. Demand for council/HA housing varies colossally by area. Certainly, if you're in central London you're getting nothing unless you're pretty disadvantaged indeed. But that is not the case everywhere. There are some areas, like where I live, where it isn't particularly difficult to get and where you don't have to have any mitigating circumstances at all. DH and I don't. People with more money tend not to live in them, but that's by choice. The claims that social housing isn't available to anyone who isn't disadvantaged are very south east centric: the picture across the country is not uniform.

IncognitoErgoSum Wed 12-Mar-14 14:05:32

I agree with fideline (and others).

I grew up in a 3-bedroom council house on a northern 1970s-built estate that my parents have occupied since new. However, they exercised RTB (quite late on, for legal reasons to do with the type of tenancy) and that property is no longer part of social housing. You now have two elderly people in an unsuitable (IMO) family house and when they no longer want to use it, it will be sold on the open market.

I, on the other hand, didn't even think to try for a CH tenancy in the late 80s when I moved to outer London - I'd have been laughed out of the office. So I got on the mortgage spiral asap. After 13 years, I sold my flat for more than double and traded up to a family house 100 miles away - although the flat had doubled, I made nothing (in effect) because I still needed somewhere to live. The same flat sold 7-8 years later for double again (and the then owner moved to a large house almost 200 miles away).

Another 15 years later, I have sold the house (for roughly half as much again, taking into account additional building works I paid for) and am moving into an existing household, so do not need to buy another house. What am I going to do with my "windfall"? I'm going to become a (spawn-of-the-devil) BTL LL. I intend to move to giving people security of tenure asap and I will deliberately price below the "market" (but enough to pay mortgage and maintenance) in order to ensure I get good tenants who pay on time. Why will I do that? Because I expect to work until ~68yo, my "good" pension pot will yield an annuity of about £4K per year and I'm not convinced state pension will exist by then. The rent will provide me with income. If I put a family houseful of money into any other type of saving, I'd expect it to erode badly.

Who is subsidising whom in that lot? The only people I really see making money are the baby-boomers (like my parents) who were handed a wad by Maggie and the mortgage companies.

AgaPanthers Wed 12-Mar-14 14:09:36

The average Market Rent for a 3-bed property is £311.25/wk. £437.50/wk in London. The average social rent is £84.56/wk and £110/wk respectively.

Social rents are subject to economic subsidy.

The net outcome is identical if someone rents a £311.25/wk private sector house and then claims £230 in housing benefit (a cash subsidy), as if they simply rented a £84.56/wk social house (an economic subsidy).

Since the government has control over the supply of land (we have no land shortage, only an artificial constraint through building permit rationing (aka planning)), a mass building programme, where large numbers of social houses are built each year (perhaps 200,000 or more, which is more than the current TOTAL build programme) makes good economic sense, since the government can build much cheaper than private developers, and this will work out cheaper than continuing to pay cash subsidies to the shitty assured-shorthold-tenancy/buy-to-let sector.

The current government is unlikely to repeal the assured shorthold tenancy shit, which paved the way for the festering boil that is buy-to-let to fuck up the housing sector under Blair (albeit it was brought in at the end of the Major government), which would be more of a nuclear option to repairing some of the damage, since it would fuck with millions of buy-to-let investors and their mortgages/the banks.

NeedsAsockamnesty Wed 12-Mar-14 14:11:30

Actually council housing was designed expressly to provide homes for everybody who wanted one, the idea behind it was on the same street you could have a doctor a baker a police officer and a street cleaner.

That's exactly what it was for

IncognitoErgoSum Wed 12-Mar-14 14:12:35

Dinosaursareextinct wrote:
I don't think it's fair (if that matters to anyone) for public assets to be used like that.

I completely agree. But part of the problem is that councils were specifically prevented from using RTB receipts to build more houses (so the stock declined dramatically). And now, they cannot use the rents to subsidise other services - even if SH tenants were to pay "full market rents" that would not release more money for elderly care.

A PP said that the market had been distorted - it has, over 25 years and that is the real scandal that we should all be protesting about.

TruffleOil Wed 12-Mar-14 14:15:21

OK. I don't think you'd find an economist who would view below-market rates as anything as a subsidy. And that is the very last thing I will say about that.

Shouldn't people be annoyed by the very high private rents?

I'm worried by very high rents. I think it's inherently worrying that young people can't aspire to a decent place to live.

Viviennemary Wed 12-Mar-14 14:16:42

I think all social housing should be used as a temporary measure for those most in need. I do not agree with this council house for life policy.

NeedsAsockamnesty Wed 12-Mar-14 14:18:41

They always have been homes for life that's the point

PatrickStarisabadbellend Wed 12-Mar-14 14:23:58

Truffle where i live it's awful. The locals children have no chance of buying around here.
At the time i applied for my HA home only locals could apply, i was the only one on the list for my area so i got it straight away.

No way could i afford £700-1200 rent per month for a house around here. It's an absolute disgrace and it's about time something was done about it.

A home is to nest, not to invest.

HobbetInTheHeadlights Wed 12-Mar-14 14:24:12

AST - no idea they only came in in 1988 - DH and I only rented for 10 years after 1995. We know nothing but these rental contracts high rents, low security.

We felt we had to buy a house - which was massive struggle and still is- to provide stability for our DC. We both have GP who had decent incomes and spent entire lives in council houses - now only most venerable stand a chance at HA or council housing.

I think we must be people they are selling idea to that HA and council housing should only be for set terms when people are vulnerable rather than dealing with the current private rental markets and high house markets we are trapped in- see everyone under 40 and in normal wealth range is screwed.

JakeBullet Wed 12-Mar-14 14:31:05

No you wouldn't agree vivienne as evidently you have NEVER been in need of one.

I am bloody grateful to have a "home for life". DO is disabled and this is his home for as long as he needs it.

I am a single parent, I don't earn enough for a mortgage or to privately rent.

I could privately rent but I would cost the tax payer far more if I did.

AgaPanthers Wed 12-Mar-14 14:39:05

Hobbet, ASTs came in 1988, but they were made the default in February 1997. That was what really opened the floodgates for the BTL locusts.

Feminine Wed 12-Mar-14 14:46:51


That is so not what socialized housing is about. Your post at 14:16.

They are supposed to be for life!

Just because they now don't build enough, or private rents are too high -is just beside the point.

Councils and HA homes shouldn't change just because the housing situation in this country is so diabolical.

Dinosaursareextinct Wed 12-Mar-14 14:54:56

Does it matter whether you call it a subsidy or not? Those properties are state owned and should be used in a fair way (ie the rental should reflect what people can afford to pay). Why should a minority of people who happened to be in the right place in the right circumstances at the right time pay far less for rental than everyone else for their whole lives regardless of how high their earnings are? The state has very limited resources, and these should not be used to increase the personal wealth of the well off.

TillyTellTale Wed 12-Mar-14 14:59:58

You bunch of Ragged Trousered Philanthropists!

In the book of the same name, some poor, exploited workmen, who have no days off, greatly resent the workmen employed by the council. Why? The council workmen were slightly better paid, and had more days off. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists thought council workers' wages and days off should be reduced. The idea that they should all enjoy the same or better conditions was a pipedream.

gamerchick Wed 12-Mar-14 15:01:05

They are used in a fair way... what you're suggesting makes no sense and would cost a bomb to implement.

Yet another one who peers into his neighbours bowl to check he doesn't have more than he does.

Feminine Wed 12-Mar-14 15:01:50

That makes no sense Dino

That is not what it is all defeats the entire ethics of socialised housing.

Dinosaursareextinct Wed 12-Mar-14 15:05:14

The fact is that councils don't have enough money. Therefore some of us think that cheap rents for well off people should go, in favour of such things as providing essential care for old people who can't look after themselves, for the disabled, etc etc. By all means campaign for better rights for private tenants, but that doesn't mean that councils should be using their scarce resources on the rich. It is especially frustrating when there are not enough council houses for the poor in a locality, while (currently) rich people occupy them for life.

Dinosaursareextinct Wed 12-Mar-14 15:09:15

I don't peer into my neighbour's bowl, and I agree that the private rental market (which I am in) is horrendously expensive and insecure. But council housing shouldn't be like winning the lottery - it should be based on need. Our local council has just announced that it is shutting down most of its old people's homes, FGS. Many people are in very serious trouble.

Feminine Wed 12-Mar-14 15:09:25

Where should the 'rich' people go?

What constitutes rich anyway?

Dinosaursareextinct Wed 12-Mar-14 15:13:20

You don't have to throw people out of their houses, but I do think that people should pay rent based on what they can afford, the upper limit being average market rents for that size of property. I don't get why it's so right that a couple with one child on a household income of £50K should be paying something like £50 a week rent, whereas others in the same circumstances are paying £200.

Viviennemary Wed 12-Mar-14 15:14:45

But the point is they are state owned and there are not enough to go round. So they shouldn't be for life only as long as a person is in absolute need and cannot buy or rent privately. And if that is all their life then fine.

absoluteidiot Wed 12-Mar-14 15:19:55

My husband is on minimum wage and I have a low and sporadic income as I had to give up my career years ago to be a carer for a disabled child.

Why do people fantasise they are subsidising us for living in a council house? We are entitled to NO housing benefit and that last week of the month when I pay the rent I can't buy food for 7-10 days. (We live from stuff accumulated in the tin cupboard and freezer at the front end of the month). It is now getting to the point I am not sure I will be able to pay the rent at all by the end of the month.

How is anyone subsidising me?

My new neighbours on the other hand, are dole-ites and just got a council house they are already underoccupying as they have wangled a 3 bed house with 2 kids under 3 so are paying (and can afford to pay) bedroom tax. You're subsidising them. They should find low paid work or have a limit on how long they can claim Housing Benefit. So that house can go to someone productive to society on minimum wage, or a low wage.

But you know who else you're subsidising? People like my ex partner who bought a London flat in 1989, gave up work a month after getting his mortgage, and has never worked since. As tax payers we have paid his mortgage since 1989. He probably 'owns' that flat now. Now I think we should say people should be forced to sell up and move out if they buy a house and claim housing ben for say more than 6 months. Or we will pay your mortgage but the house (or the % the public paid for) goes into public ownership unless you pay it back.

The people we are subsidising are not council tenants like myself - but people who have had mortgage payments paid month in, month out by Housing Benefit.

Dinosaursareextinct Wed 12-Mar-14 15:36:20

You are being subsidised, but no-one is complaining about that. A civilised country should ensure that all its inhabitants have somewhere decent to live. As you say, the issue is with subsidising people who don't need the subsidy.

Viviennemary Wed 12-Mar-14 15:38:08

That was my point Dinosaurs. Though you put it much better.

LadyBeagleEyes Wed 12-Mar-14 15:40:36

So just because people who haven't got social housing have to pay high rents, it means council houses should charge the same?
And that will make you all feel better?
I'm in HA housing, they were built in this tiny Highland village because of need. There are no private year round rentals, they're all second homes and holiday homes.
Without social housing here local people would have had to move, even those that have work here. All my neighbours work apart from one pensioner and me as I'm on long term ESA.

gamerchick Wed 12-Mar-14 15:43:47

50 quid a week? Where the hell do you live hmm

Council housing is not subsidised and money is not all in one pot to be directed here and there neither.

You personally do not pay anything towards people paying full rent on their homes. What you are suggesting makes no sense and would cost a lot of money to do.

Yanno money that could go to help old people n that wink

That is a fact Dino and if you struggle to grasp that then you don't have a decent argument.

absoluteidiot Wed 12-Mar-14 15:45:00

The better solution would be to totally burst the bubble of house prices. Let the houses values drop through the floor. So private rents would drop. And as I say, those houses that housing ben has paid the mortgage for sustained periods of time to be taken into public ownership - then rented for fair rents. Maybe what is also needed is legislation to compel private landlords to charge rents at 'social housing' prices. But of course, the people who make the law have a vested interest in keeping house prices high.

Is a house that cost a few hundred to build years ago in materials and labour really worth hundreds of thousands of pounds? No. It's worth the cost of the bricks and the labour today.

Viviennemary Wed 12-Mar-14 16:18:36

I agree with allowing the house price bubble to burst. But they won't. Keeping interest rates low, helping people with deposits and housing benefit not capped. But it is being capped now thank goodness.

Ledare Wed 12-Mar-14 17:20:42

absoluteidiot, I'm confused about your ex. I thought mortgage interest was only paid for a set amount of time? I had to sell my house when DD developed health problems and I had to stop work.

Ledare Wed 12-Mar-14 17:22:54

I couldn't get housing benefit for the property I lived in. Even if I had kept it on as a BTL, I would have lost that income in HB while I rented elsewhere.

Did he move in with someone else?

Rommell Wed 12-Mar-14 18:37:35

The HB cap is not a solution - in the year after it was introduced, rents went up by 4% nationally and 7% in London. All that has happened as a result of the HB cap is more people not being able to afford their rent, leading to eviction and therefore more pressure on services dealing with homelessness. It has cost more money - homelessness costs money; temporary accommodation costs money; social services intervention in homeless families costs money etc. A rent cap would do the job - if you people to pay less money in rent, cap rents. But of course none of the politicians would do that, because they are all landlords and all of them - Labour, Tory, and the Lib Dems, are in the pocket of these moguls with their private property empires that we, as tax-payers, are funding to the tune of £9 billion a year.

They won't allow house prices to fall either - there seems to be this doublethink going on that house prices = wealth. Indeed, during the Blair govt days, local financial planning saw house price rises as a good thing, rather than a sign of householders being in ever higher hock to the banks. I do agree that house prices should be allowed to fall though, and people who are in negative equity as a result could be bailed out using the money that is currently used to pay HB, to pay for extortionate temporary accommodation for homeless families etc. Couple that with a proper programme of housebuilding, covering affordable homes in the private sector and a real push to build more social homes for rent (which pay for themselves many times over so are an investment), and we'd be sorted. Or at least a lot more sorted than we are. But nobody - not Labour, not the Condems, not anyone - will do this. And so we are fucked.

But hey, carry on sniping about people in council properties as though they are the source of all the problems. After all, that's what Clegg, Cameron and Miliband want you to do.

whineaholic Wed 12-Mar-14 18:39:25

Spot on Rommell, spot on.

AgaPanthers Wed 12-Mar-14 18:42:48

UKIP too, Rommell. Don't be fooled that there is a choice.

(Though I'm not sure about your numbers, rents are not rising, in real terms to the best of my knowledge.)

Rommell Wed 12-Mar-14 18:43:40

Thank you, whineaholic. If only we were in charge, eh? grin I could do such things ...

And of course that sentence should read 'If you want people to pay less money in rent' - missed a word out.

Rommell Wed 12-Mar-14 18:51:53

Aga, I view UKIP as the BNP with a lobotomy. I don't think there is a choice at all. There are anti-austerity agitators trying to get their voice heard though, and there is still of course the old-guard Labour left. Unforch that doesn't translate into a choice at the ballot box.

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 19:43:40

Vivienne It is not just a case of it doesn't work like that (evicting council tenants whose circs improve) It just COULDN'T work like that. The churn would be immense. And expensive.

Under your proposal, within less than a generation only the wealthy minority would have 'homes' and security. Everyone else will have to pack up and play depressive musical houses every 2-5 years. Imagine all the community instability, psychological stress and sheer cost that would bring.

Council estates would become huge homeless hostels, utterly ghettoized. People would become detached from their communities.


lainiekazan Wed 12-Mar-14 19:54:53

I agree. Council estates should not become ghettoes.

I heard (a recording of) Bob Crow on the radio yesterday. He was defending his occupation of a council flat on £145K salary. He said he was the only person paying full rent in his street - everyone else was on benefits.

Now, the first thing I thought was that this street is in east London. Why the hell are people unemployed there? There is no excuse not to find a job in London unless you have a very good reason (disability). You can't pass a single shop without a hiring notice in the window.

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 20:05:18

Yes Iain I have Bob's "I'm the only one on my street paying full rent. So who's the mug?" earworming round my brain. Trenchant but interrupting himself to be beautifully courteous to the waiting staff throughout that interview. RIP Bob.

I love the argument further back that private LLs treat you like shit so therefore council properties are worth more and should have higher rents.

What can I say? Go tell your LL that.

CrohnicallyChanging Wed 12-Mar-14 20:52:19

A few points: HB is not available to anyone who owns or pays a mortgage on their home. It is for renters only. There is a limited amount of help paying solely the interest on your mortgage, for a limited amount of time (6 months?) and that is all that is available to help homeowners with housing costs. So it would appear that absoluteidiot is living up to their name.

Social housing is not just in demand in the south. I don't want to say where I live, but it's not in the south, and waiting lists here are huge. One of my friends was living in one room of her parents' house with her boyfriend and son, they were on the waiting list for a council house (and had been since she got pregnant, it wasn't planned but she was on medication that they didn't tell her would interfere with her contraceptive pill, not that the reasons behind it should make a difference). Anyway, her son was 4 years old and still in that single bedroom with his parents, and they were still on the waiting list, as they weren't actually homeless they weren't a priority. And her parents refused to make them homeless to speed up their application.

I understand that council housing was designed to be housing for life. However, I do want to stamp my foot and say it's unfair, because if you're not in social housing and your circumstances change, you change your housing to accommodate that.

I do agree with whoever made the point about, councils could charge market rates and then provide HB to make up the difference, everyone would agree it was a subsidy then, but as they have missed out the middleman and just reduced rents, apparently it's not.

AgaPanthers Wed 12-Mar-14 20:59:31

No, chrohnically. The point was that HB is paid for people to rent a house from a BTLer for potentially DECADES, hence nationalise these houses rather than continue to pay HB forever.

Misspixietrix Wed 12-Mar-14 21:00:04

Got it in one Rommell!!

expatinscotland Wed 12-Mar-14 21:06:08

Another thread about housing with a few posters insisting on a race to the bottom. What's new?

CrohnicallyChanging Wed 12-Mar-14 21:07:37

Oh, sorry, absoluteidiot said that her ex claimed housing benefit, which implies he is the claimant. But I guess they could have meant he is a landlord receiving HB money via their tenants. Looks like ledare was equally confused.

CrohnicallyChanging Wed 12-Mar-14 21:12:13

Even if that is the case, I don't think it would be quite fair to say 'claim for 6 months them we're having your house'.

Say I was unable to sell my house and so rented it out while renting a place of my own. My tenants' circumstances change and they become eligible to receive HB (which I don't know about as they opt to receive it directly and don't inform me of the changes). After 6 months, my house is taken, and I drop off the property ladder. How is that fair?

Any changes need to hit the 'professional' landlord who is in it for the profit more than the 'accidental' one. A rent cap would do so- as in the previous example the rent I receive doesn't need to cover mortgage costs as I could afford that originally, it only needs to cover my rental costs. With a rent cap, my income would drop but so would by outgoings, leaving me in the same position financially.

CrohnicallyChanging Wed 12-Mar-14 21:35:24
TruffleOil Wed 12-Mar-14 21:55:40

Interesting, Chronically.

The rules will end what ministers say is an unfair system that sees taxpayers subsidising the rent of tenants who could afford to pay full market prices.

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 22:03:13

I suppose some of you believe that 'Spare room subsidy' is a reasonable name for the bedroom tax, too?

As opposed to a politically-motivated misnomer. Which it is.

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 22:04:21

I would love someone to explain how a cut can be called a (spare room) subsidy, actually.

Rommell Wed 12-Mar-14 22:13:48

Ministers say it is a subsidy because they don't want to take responsibility for completely fucking up the state of housing in this country, and they want you to be angry with council tenants and think they are getting something over on you through the mere fact of them being council tenants. And you are falling for it. Well done you.

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 22:17:01

Me?! Rommell??

JakeBullet Wed 12-Mar-14 22:18:48

I love how people get all uptight about it being called "bedroom tax" and insist on it being called "a cut in housing benefit" instead.

What that tells me is that they are not affected by it because anyone who was would not care about the terminology.

It's a loss of money that some of our poorest members of society can ill afford. And it isn't all "feckless single mothers" either (though how someone who has risen to the challenge of raising a child while the bloke buggers off is beyond me).
Those with disabilities who need the extra room for medical equipment are also being penalised.

So bedroom tax/cut in housing benefit/whatever. Yet again it is the poorest facing extra hardship.

Rommell Wed 12-Mar-14 22:20:04

No, not you, fideline! You are one of the sane voices of reason on this sorry thread!

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 22:24:06

Rommell if that was directed at me then you have seriously misunderstood my point

Just highlighting the way the tories are making a habit of misusing words.

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 22:25:51

Oh Ok. Thought you suspected me of sudden switch grin

Viviennemary Wed 12-Mar-14 22:51:55

The unfairness comes because certain people have entitlement to council houses for life . Imagine if there was a supermarket owned by the state but only certain people could shop there because there wouldn't be enough supplies to go round. This council house for life business must end IMHO.

williaminajetfighter Wed 12-Mar-14 22:56:11

Sorry I've not read the whole thread but in addition to HA/council housing tenants being essentially protected from market rates and forces I think one of the bugbears people have is that tenants don't have to adhere to the same 'pressures of payment' as per private accommodation -- I read somewhere that in one London borough almost 50% of tenants were in arrears with their rent!! Those in private accommodation or with mortgages just don't have that kind of bonkers flexibility or luxury. That combined with the lower rate of rent - although I know comparative rent varies - makes those in private feel that those in Council/HA housing are being mollycoddled and infantalized a bit...

In principle I just dislike the notion that someone in local govt has a list that defines/prioritizes who deserves 'support' via social housing and who doesn't... and just the idea that someone in govt defines degrees of 'deserving' is depressing (although appreciate it's necessary. Think I just fundamentally think most local govt is shit and run by buffoons).

AgaPanthers Wed 12-Mar-14 22:56:14

Vivienne, you are right that it is unfair. And that council houses are subsidised.

BUT, as I think as already been observed, rather than say 'it's not fair that she pays a fair price for housing when I have to pay through the nose, she should pay more', why don't you say 'she pays a fair price for housing, what can we do to cut the cost for everyone?'

Housing doesn't need to be as expensive as it is. The solution is not to bring everyone down. It really isn't.

Dinosaursareextinct Wed 12-Mar-14 23:28:51

Unfortunately, councils do not have enough money to cover the important basic needs of their communities - such as running old people's homes, children's centres, youth clubs, centres for the disabled, libraries, mend pot-holes, and so on and so on.
In that context, why do those of you in social housing think it right and proper that you should pay far less in rental than 1) you can personally afford, and 2) others in your communities are paying? Pie in the sky talk about everyone should pay less in rent and social housing is the starting point is rubbish - councils can't afford to rent at low rates to those who can afford to pay market or near market rates. I'm not saying that the number of council houses should be reduced, but they should be used for the poor, and the poor who become better off while living in them should pay more, because they no longer need that subsidy (which does ultimately come from local tax payers). Alternatively, you can move out and cope with the private rental market like the rest of us, where you will have far less security of tenure and tolerance of bad behaviour, as well as paying market rates.
I suppose you miss the days when you would have been allowed to pass on your council houses to your wealthy children?

FraidyCat Wed 12-Mar-14 23:31:01

If I have a house to rent out, and rent it to someone I like at £200 below market rent, I'm told by many in this thread that is not a subsidy. But if I charge him the full market rent, and also set up a standing order for £200, the standing order is a subsidy.

The two scenarios are identical in economic terms for both parties, but we're only allowed to use the word economic term "subsidy" for one of them?

I, and anyone else with a basic grasp of logic, will continue to use the word subsidy for both.

NeedsAsockamnesty Wed 12-Mar-14 23:31:47


Can I ask (given that you refer to it up thread) when approximately is it that you think the housing benefit cap came into force?


How many people with mortgages or private renting tenants do you know whose payments are due weekly?

Lots of social housing tenants show up as in arrears yet when you look at the accounts that run week by week it could be a matter of days or with a tenant who pays monthly just a few weeks. It messes with the figures quite a bit

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 23:35:54

Dino you are just telling lies. Making things up, being dishonest.

Not to mention refusing to listen to people who are better informed than you.

"that subsidy (which does ultimately come from local tax payers)"

This ^^ for example is untrue/ fabricated/ not remotely the case.

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 23:37:40

Fraidy the analogy you are using is not a good one.

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 23:40:52

The people who have differing understandings of 'subsidy' are one thing.

The posters who just persist in contributing fiction and won't engage in discussion are just ignoramuses (ignoramii?)

Dinosaursareextinct Wed 12-Mar-14 23:41:56

Bottom line, fideline, is councils do not have enough money to pay for the vital things they are responsible for. They could get more money towards these vital things if well off council tenants paid market or near market rates for their housing. Personally, I would rather help from the council went to elderly people unable to look after themselves due to dementia, to the disabled and housebound, etc, than to people who used to be poor and so qualified for a council house, but are now well off. If legislation / mechanisms need to be changed to charge these people more money and use that money on those who need help, that can no doubt be done.

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 23:46:55

Dino a PP poster has already told you- money collected from council rents cannot be spent on those other services- it has to stay within the housing dept BY LAW.

No amount of rent hiking will fill a single pothole or provide even one hour of social care. Cannot be done. Not possible. Against the law.


fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 23:49:33

On the off chance that you are just not getting it rather than plain goady;

Council housing finance is like a sealed central heating system- a closed loop. No subsidy enters the loop. No rents collected can leave the loop.

Council housing finances itself. It is not subsidised by cash from elsewhere, it cannot subsidise other services.

Dinosaursareextinct Wed 12-Mar-14 23:51:11

Getting a bit fed up with what let's face it are people who can afford to pay real life rent scrounging off the council (and therefore local tax payers) and being all self righteous about it. Not exactly admirable, so if you're going to do it, maybe you should at least keep it quiet?

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 23:54:16

Justify the assertion that being a council tenant is a form of scrounging.

fideline Wed 12-Mar-14 23:59:05

Why have you gone all frothy-mouthed-beetroot-face about the council tenants Dino? Why does that make more sense to you than being chiefly angered by extortionate private rents?

Dinosaursareextinct Thu 13-Mar-14 00:00:44

"British English: scrounge If you say that someone scrounges something such as food or money, you disapprove of them because they get it by asking for it, rather than by buying it or earning it."

You can pay real rent out of your increased earnings, but continue asking for cheap rent that you don't need. And yes, I disapprove of that, particularly if you live in an area where people in genuine need are on the waiting list for council housing.

fideline Thu 13-Mar-14 00:01:36

I'm not a council tenant Dino

fideline Thu 13-Mar-14 00:02:57

How does that definition of scrounge fit the facts then?

I would think that definition proves my point, not yours.