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To really not understand the logic behind "lifetime tenancies"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lampshade, that is awful sad

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I do appreciate that more social housing is required.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I was talking about social housing.

I thought the op was too.

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

Same here, pointy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

V. true, Wallinson.

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

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

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

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

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

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

just my two cents

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Because social housing is a resource for the wider community.

I'm clearly not advocating short term renting.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Great post Midland.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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