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to ask a question about council houses?

(241 Posts)
Pipbin Mon 03-Mar-14 22:32:43

I'm not wanting to get into the rights and wrongs of benefits etc but I just have a honest question about council houses.

If someone is granted a council house, is it like renting a private house, but the landlord is the council that they pay rent to, which may be covered by housing benefit?
If they then get into a position, for example finding work, where they are no longer entitled to HB, do they cover the rent themselves or do they lose the house?

I have no reason for asking this other than curiosity. I've claimed HB in the past but I was in a private rental then.

SEmyarse Mon 03-Mar-14 22:35:14

Pay the rent themselves. It's what I do, and it's very cheap.

FabULouse Mon 03-Mar-14 22:35:16

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

ShimmeringInTheSun Mon 03-Mar-14 22:35:31

Yes, if you get a job and earn enough to mean you are not entitled to housing benefit, then you would pay the rent in full yourself.

If you did not pay the rent and got into arrears then you would run the risk of losing the tenancy.

Wantsunshine Mon 03-Mar-14 22:37:11

If they work then they pay very cheap rent but do not lose the house. Can decorate it how you want so not restricted like private rent.

WooWooOwl Mon 03-Mar-14 22:38:02

Housing benefit and council properties are not really linked to each other.

Pumpkinpositive Mon 03-Mar-14 22:41:26

It's cheaper, and the local authority is less likely to chuck you out at a moments notice because they want to sell. You may also get new kitchens/bathrooms/central heating put in for free.

Obviously if you get a job you have to cover the rent, but its usually significantly below the equivalent in private housing.

Pipbin Mon 03-Mar-14 22:44:50

I didn't think they were woowooowl but I wasn't sure.

So are the rents lower than private rents?

Who is entitled to a council house?

If you were entitled to a council house at one point but then went on to get fantastic jobs earning billions, would you still be allowed to stay?

They seem better than private rental if you can redecorate!

gamerchick Mon 03-Mar-14 22:45:04

Council houses are bugger all to do with benefits.

And the rents are fair not cheap.. councils aren't into make a profit...private rents are a different ball game.

And no council houses are not subsidised before somebody throws that little gem in.

Chloerose75 Mon 03-Mar-14 22:46:17

Yes pipbin a millionaire could stay! I don't understand why council tenants should still get the very cheap rent when they no longer need that safety net, are no longer entitled to HB and are earning the same as people who have to privately rent. To me that is not really fair on those who are stuck renting privately. I think council properties should have some consistent element of means testing to be eligible for the low rent. People should have to move (as private tenants often have to on the whim of the landlord giving them notice) or if they are desperate to stay they should have their rent increased to closer to market rate, and the extra money should be used by the council in provision of local services including keeping a good supply of council housing available for those who actually need it!

gamerchick Mon 03-Mar-14 22:46:30

They aren't linked to earnings neither.

BumpyGrindy Mon 03-Mar-14 22:46:56

There are very few council houses on offer nowadays and mostly, the homeless or near homeless get them first. You will usually need to be disabled or have other needs to be considered otherwise.

They are VERY desired and as a result, very hard to get. If you earned billions you could stay but why would you be so selfish?

gamerchick Mon 03-Mar-14 22:48:32

Oh yeah social housing jealousy is a new thing.. quite bizarre really considering how people used to feel grin

BumpyGrindy Mon 03-Mar-14 22:49:02

Chloe your suggestion is ridiculous. Why should tenants have to move out of council accommodation because they earn a bit over what you deem "enough" and then into private accommodation! You sound dreadfully naive with comments like that.

EVERYONE should have access to affordable and secure accommodation if they can't afford to buy.

JuniperHeartwand Mon 03-Mar-14 22:49:04

You can redecorate some private rentals. Up to your contract and what the landlord says.

Bob Crow - head of one of the transport unions, earns £100k+ is still living in a council house.

Other questions you can find answers to on your local council's website no? About who is entitled, are rents cheaper etc.

GinSoakedMisery Mon 03-Mar-14 22:49:44

You don't have to be on benefits to get a council house. Both DH and I have always worked and have a council house, never claimed HB.

BumpyGrindy Mon 03-Mar-14 22:50:33

If you ask me, the way to solve the housing issues people are having is this.

Offer landlords incentives to provide tenants with long term secure lets. The incentives could be that when they offer a long term let, the tenant pays the council tax...offer short term lets and you own more than one property then the Landlord must pay the council tax.

manicinsomniac Mon 03-Mar-14 22:50:40

Does anyone know how much full rent on a council property in central London is? Say Zones 1-2? I'm curious (and, I suppose, potentially running the risk of being ever so slightly jealous as I'm desperate to live near Covent Garden) That's if there is any council housing that central?

Wantsunshine Mon 03-Mar-14 22:50:44

Pipbin you can earn what you like once you have been assigned one to rent. If you subsequently got a fabulous job earning a million a year you would not have to give it up. In my town a lot of the council houses have been sold and are now private rent. For example one 3 bed semi that is still a council house is £450 per month but the adjacent semi that has been subsequently sold and is now private rent is £2150 per month.
I am sure in other areas the difference would not be so vast.
You just need to apply at the right time and hope one comes available.

Oakmaiden Mon 03-Mar-14 22:51:54

I think anyone is entitled to a council house, but as there are so few of them in fact you just get put on a waiting list. And that waiting list is ordered not by how long you have been on it, but by how much you need it. So if you were a single millionaire with no children and put yourself on the waiting list, nobody would say to you "No, you are not eligible" but instead, every time someone else asked to go on the waiting list it would be rearranged with you right down the end. SO you would never actually reach the stage of getting a council house.

At least, that is how I understand it...

Oakmaiden Mon 03-Mar-14 22:53:15

Bumpy - but surely then landlords would just put up the rent to cover the council tax as well?

BumpyGrindy Mon 03-Mar-14 22:54:09

Well that could be resolved by ensuring that when the tenancy agreement is signed, the rent can't be put up for 2 years or so and then in line with inflation only.

manicinsomniac Mon 03-Mar-14 22:54:26

Yes, I think that's right Oakmaiden.

And just to clarify my confession to council house envy - I would never be so naïve and ignorant as to envy somebody in need of council housing now. Just someone who got it years and years (decades?) ago and is now earning a good salary.

Pipbin Mon 03-Mar-14 22:54:32

I don't have any vested interest, I'm one of the lucky people who has a mortgage to pay for the next 20 years!

I can see why they are so desirable if the rents are lower and the tenancies are more reliable.

BumpyGrindy Mon 03-Mar-14 22:55:19

And any landlord putting rents out at ridiculous prices for long term lets would also be penalized as there would be a suggested rent for the area. I'm a tenant and I am happy to pay the going rates for a house in a good area. Most tenants are if it provides security...but not if I have no security in return.

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