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How would you redesign social housing allocation and tenancy?

(34 Posts)
Kendodd Thu 18-Apr-13 13:13:20

Thread about a number of threads I'm afraid.

Well, how would you manage them?

I think some radical thinking is needed, everything from just giving tenants their houses in very run down, low demand, areas, to treating LA property the same as private rentals, nobody get preference, high rent, no pets, children or DSS.

The obvious solution to me would be to just build more houses although in the SE I don't know where the land would come from.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 18-Apr-13 14:50:55

It's only part of the solution, I accept, but I think there needs to be a long-term rethink about regenerating parts of the country other than the South East. When there are comments about overcrowding, sky-high rents, benefit caps and so on it's invariably referring to London (or the Home Counties at a pinch) and I'm sure people in Newcastle or Norwich can't identify with it at all. Not to say there aren't housing problems elsewhere, of course, but if the jobs and resources were more evenly distributed to places where there is more scope for development and the costs of living are lower, perhaps it would be a win-win all round.

Rent control for high demand areas, that applies to private and council lets.
Joined up system to link up families with spare bedrooms and single young people needing a room, with appropriate safeguards.
It would need to be co-ordinated by councils, but would help families stay in their homes, and single people to find housing.
Second the investment in jobs outside London/South-East. We need to encourage people to move out of London rather than force them out through poverty.

Oodsigma Thu 18-Apr-13 20:35:27

More work on 'empty properties'
Next door to us is an empty house and has been since at least 2006. The people ran out of work to complete renovations and can't sell/complete. There's at least 4 empty houses in my street. More compulsory purchases don't ask where the money is coming from

Kendodd Fri 19-Apr-13 09:21:32

What about with regard to managing the council waiting list, how do you think LAs should prioritise people, or indeed if they should priorities people at all?

It seems to me that LA housing culture has changed. It's gone from providing homes for the working masses who had to prove they could look after them, to...well, I don't know what. Only housing people in desperate need unable to access housing in other ways?

Kendodd Fri 19-Apr-13 09:24:34

I think a lot needs to be done within the private sector as well. Make BTL a less appealing investment maybe by giving tenants more rights. Make it illegal for private landlords to discriminate against people with children or on benefits? High taxes on empty properties in housing shortage areas?

Oodsigma Fri 19-Apr-13 09:30:57

Our local council is recruiting private landlords for a scheme where the council becomes the tenant and is responsible for the property protecting the landlord from damage/none payment and protecting the tenant from dodgy landlords. Still difficult to recruit landlords as lots are tied by mortgage/insurance companies

Oodsigma Fri 19-Apr-13 09:32:30

Empty properties here now have over 100% council tax ( just come in from April- was 75%) can't remember how much more it is.

Kendodd Fri 19-Apr-13 09:53:38

Nobody seems to have any solutions for the much bigger question of how properties should be allocated? Admittedly, I don't myself.

Wallison Fri 19-Apr-13 09:57:46

If there were more LA/HA properties, then allocation wouldn't be as much of an issue. Ditto it wouldn't be as much of an issue if private renting was more secure for tenants and subject to rent control. So I think if these two things happened (and I am watching those little piggies fly fly fly overhead as I speak) the rest would sort itself out.

Kendodd, I had a partial solution, teaming up singles with underoccupying families.
Even if it doesn't work, it would provide proof that rooms deemed "bedrooms" by some LAs are unsuitable for sleeping.

TiredyCustards Fri 19-Apr-13 10:46:31

Build more social housing of all sizes, tax the hell out of second (and even more for third, fourth, etc) homes.

If there was enough social housing everyone in desperate need would get a home, and there would be enough left over for everyone else who wanted one.

Rent controls and more rights for tenants would mean people have a chance to save to buy while renting, or people may even choose to rent.

Fewer btl would mean more houses on the market so prices would go down.

Regular and compassionate reviews of social housing need, so people are kept on appropriate-sized homes.

Rockchick1984 Fri 19-Apr-13 11:25:53

Having been on both ends of the spectrum - needing to rent however not being able to afford private tenancy, and also being a landlord, some o these suggestions are quite honestly ridiculous!

Yes there are a lot of "professional landlords" however there are also many who simply cannot sell their property either due to negative equity or simply no one wanting to buy. Those of you saying to increase the tax the landlords pay, or capping rents, what happens when the landlords then cannot afford the mortgage on the property? I own a flat which I rent out at the amount which covers the interest only mortgage, ground rent and service charge, and the letting agency's fees. I don't see a penny of the rent once these have been paid, I let it at the going rate for my local area. If I was paying extra tax or couldn't increase the rent, I would have to stop paying the bills and ultimately the house would be repossessed. The flat is in negative equity, and would fetch even less if auctioned after repossession, so the bank would never get their money back. This situation (at least partially) contributed to the collapse of so many financial institutions, why would this sound like a good idea to put landlords into this situation??? I would love to sell, however I would still owe the bank around £30,000 if I did! All the other landlords I personally know are in similar situations, none have intentionally gone out and purchased properties as buy to lets! Re tenants with children or on benefits, my insurance refuses to cover if the tenant claims housing benefit and I can't afford to be out of pocket if the tenant doesn't pay so I can't have tenants claiming HB. I would happily have tenants with children however I would want a higher deposit from them - having my own child I know that accidents happen but again I wouldn't be happy to pay for repairs myself.

From the other side of things, I have been in need of social housing as the property I lived in when pregnant was unsuitable for a family and I couldn't afford private rent on a more suitable property. I accepted that although we had a need, we ultimately still had a roof over our heads and would be a far lower priority than someone who was homeless. I'm not sure if its the same everywhere, but my local HA lists properties each week and you can register your interest in any you like. If you are top priority and you don't register for everything suitable you will lose your priority status. Due to us being mid priority, we had to apply for (I think) 3 properties a week or we would have become low priority. Means you still get a bit of a say in where you live (DH works full time but doesn't drive so needed to be on a bus route). I definitely don't think it should be first come first served, and would be devastated if I thought we had got our house while a family were left homeless!

I actually do agree with the bedroom tax, although it has many flaws I do think that when a large property is no longer needed the council shouldn't be funding people to stay there - the same way that LHA for private rentals only pays for the size of property actually required.

The scheme Oodsigma mentions sounds like it would solve a lot of problems. As does building more social housing, particularly 1 and 2 bed properties so that people in houses larger than they need can choose to move which frees up the larger properties to help solve overcrowding.

TiredyCustards Fri 19-Apr-13 12:07:07

The reason homeowners can't sell is because the houses are overpriced.

If you still owe the bank after selling then bad luck, if the banks don't get their money then bad luck to them.

The issue with insurance and gb should be made illegal, it's discrimination.

TiredyCustards Fri 19-Apr-13 12:11:58

I mean insurance and hb.

Wallison Fri 19-Apr-13 12:20:31

If you're desperate to sell, drop the price on your flat. If you couldn't afford private rent, why didn't you claim LHA to cover the rent of a bigger place? And why on earth were you allocated a council property when you actually own another property?

BackforGood Fri 19-Apr-13 12:27:40

Surely larger / family homes should be allocated, on the understanding that they will be reviewed every 4 years or something - so, as children leave the nest, the parents have actually known the the start, that they will then have to leave the family home... same as the previous family did, in order to vacate it for them, when they needed it. It would take away the stories the press love to publish about how a single elderly person is being "thrown out of their home after 50 years".
Of course, if we all feel it is the state's role to provide housing for adults without children, single adults, etc.,etc., then it will need to build or refurbish a lot of single person flats / bedsits.

Kendodd Fri 19-Apr-13 13:07:24

One problem I see with only allocating LA property to families is that, while I don't believe anyone has a baby just to get a council flat, it frees people up to choose to have children knowing that housing will be provided, they don't have the constraints home owners/private renters have. Although you could argue that that is a good thing and people should be free to have children when and as many as they want without worrying about where they're going to put them.

Re tenants with children or on benefits, my insurance refuses to cover if the tenant claims housing benefit

If the government made it illegal for landlords to discriminate this problem would disappear though.

Kendodd Fri 19-Apr-13 13:10:31

BTW I live in Devon and completely agree re tax and second homes, and prosecute people who try to avoid this by having one house in her name the other in his, while actually living together.

FasterStronger Fri 19-Apr-13 13:39:51

1. A long term plan to create private sector jobs outside the south east.
2. Limit social housing/HB payments to 3 bedrooms, unless disability. larger families can have a girls room and a boys room
3. Increase council tax on large properties
4. Increase number of council tax bands for large properties
5. Gradually track social rents up so they become on market but continue to pay HB for low income households.

Kendodd Fri 19-Apr-13 13:47:02

Gradually track social rents up so they become on market but continue to pay HB for low income households.

Yes I agree with this one, making LA accommodation and private more similar. Although I don't know how it would work in central London, any normal person with a normal job just couldn't afford to live there and I do think mixed neighbourhoods are a good thing, instead of 'rich' and 'poor' gettos.

Rockchick1984 Fri 19-Apr-13 14:12:22

Wallison I was allocated a property due to overcrowding, as it was a 1 bed flat which the council agreed was unsuitable for a family with children. As I said ideally I would love to sell, however that's not an option and as there is no equity the council were happy for me to let it out. I've been completely honest with them, so I don't see what your issue is with it!

Tiredy I agree the house prices are too high, however your attitude of "Bad luck to them" is horrendous - so you feel that simply because house prices have dropped then I should be forced to default, ruin my credit history and any possible chance of buying another property in the future? Lovely attitude there hmm

FasterStronger Fri 19-Apr-13 14:20:43

a house price drop would just trigger lots of cash rich people buying up cheap property as the banks would become even stricter at lending. more would be trapped as renters making the rental market even more buoyant.

be careful what you wish for.

NB: I say that as someone with a very small mortgage so have no personal wish for a rise or fall.

TiredyCustards Fri 19-Apr-13 14:41:14

Rock chick well at the moment it's bad luck to those locked out, perhaps forever, from owning homes. Those paying your mortgage.

If houses are bought as investments then the investor should not expect a guaranteed profit, just like other investments.

But don't worry, there'll be lots of good quality social housing for those who lose their homes! wink

TimberTot Fri 19-Apr-13 14:48:37

Blindingly obvious to anyone not south-east biased.

There are parts of the country where a council could buy a whole row of solid terraced properties very cheaply. Sure they'd need bringing up to a decent standard but as a result of something called "the recession" trades involved with the construction industry are not all operating at full capacity at present, so not charging premium rates.

Provide massive incentives for employers to move their operations to areas with serious levels of unemployment (funnily enough the same areas that have cheap property prices) - jobs arrive in the area, housing is already there, employment/unemployment levels start to average out more evenly across the country. Pressure to build more residential property commutable from London/in the South East reduced, traffic/travel congestion reduced in those areas, pressure on NHS and schools reduced in those areas.

The government and a chunk of the population need to retrain their thought processes away from London and the South East down as hot spots for everything. Op specifically refers to just "build more houses although in the SE not sure where the land would come from"

Shift the population by shifting work opportunities and there will be redistribution of wealth too.

I am also in favour of having to pay doubling rates on a second-home but realise that this will be subject to avoidance with properties bought in cahoots with other etc.

Definitely make "council tenancies" renewable every 2 years with tenants having to show they are treating the property with care and being good neighbour etc etc.

Take pressure off housing by financially rewarding women (in certain target groups) for not getting pregnant rather than enabling the pressure on housing by awarding points for overcrowding/priority housing of parents etc.

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