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.. in thinking that the local council should NOT consider a living room to be a "second bedroom"

(59 Posts)
fedupandisolated Thu 28-Aug-08 20:15:15

I mean it's really NOT right is it? It seems commonplace round here to consider a one bedroom flat as having two bedrooms by including the living room as another sleeping place. I've several families on my books who are DESPERATE for a move into bigger accommodation and have all been told there is little or no chance of that happening. I've written letters for some families (I know they do no good but at least I feel I am offering a tiny bit of support).
It's just totally crap that a family can be in a one bedroom flat with one or two children and have no chance of getting anything bigger.
I won't mention the damp and mould which affect some of the flats these families have the misfortune to live in.
How can this be right - in this day and age?
The more I look around at the housing crisis, the lack of affordable decent housing and the crap condition of some houses - the more I think Maggie and the selling off of council housing was the worst bloody thing which ever happened to this country.
Here we are in 2008 - a lack of housing and families with no decent place to live.

Rant over.

3andnomore Thu 28-Aug-08 20:36:08

hm...if we were in germany I would say it doesn't matter...because the flats are generally so much bigger....and indeed I grew up in a 1 bedroomflat, sharing the bedroom with my sister and my mum had her bed in the living area....

however, I am sure that the families on your books are meant to cope in the typical brittish small one bed room flat...and well...that can't be good!

however, I do find the british system a bit weird about who can get council flats . Why does a young single man with a job get a councilflat, or young healthy couples, etc....surely social housing is for those that really need it...i.e. people out of work, etc...

StayFrosty Thu 28-Aug-08 20:43:23

Social housing should be for anyone. You can be healthy and in work and still on the breadline in this country, which is a disgusting state of affairs. Who will have the bollocks to sort out our social housing? Labour haven't (my granddad is probably spinning in his grave at what passes for a Labour party nowadays) and I can't see Bandwagon Dave doing it either. Social housing isn't sexy enough for people to give a shit about sadly.

At least the people who you are dealing with at work have someone who is clearly empathetic and respectful of them in you, fedup, not that this is any practical comfort or help to you or them.

3andnomore Thu 28-Aug-08 20:55:08

well earning rates and taxes and stuff should be reviewed...

chefswife Thu 28-Aug-08 21:00:01

we don't have social housing at all in BC and i don't think in the rest of Canada. although there is a clause that rental apartment blocks, (not all, some are just for adults or seniors) need a percentage of 'types', (social service, seniors, professionals, students etc) and those who would fall into the category of social housing, their rent is based on their earnings. its nicer then being stuck on an estate with the sense of no reprieve from that situation.

littleducks Thu 28-Aug-08 21:00:15

do you mean they have a bedroom, one living room, a bathroom and a kitchen and thats it?

or there are two living rooms/a dining room also? and the council class that as a possible sleeping place?

around here they do the second. i think thats fair. but the first is awful, i dont see why councils are allowed their own rules for social housing it varies greatly and that is unfair.,

expatinscotland Thu 28-Aug-08 21:03:01

'Why does a young single man with a job get a councilflat, or young healthy couples, etc....surely social housing is for those that really need it...i.e. people out of work, etc... '

Because housing is so expensive in the UK, and taxes on low earners so high, that many in full-time employment live near or below the poverty line.

If I had 10p for every family of 5+ I know who live in a 1 or 2 bed flat I'd be able to pay off our overdraft.

I think what is needed is more social housing to rent on assured tenancies. NOT to buy. That just makes the problem worse.

stripeymama Thu 28-Aug-08 21:04:35

I know someone living in a one bedroom council flat (one bedroom, one living room, kitchen and bathroom) in Exeter with her dp, her 4yo ds and 6yo dd. She has been told that even when the children reach their teenage years, the flat is still adequate as she and her dd can share the bedroom and her dp and ds can share the living room.

shock

3andnomore Thu 28-Aug-08 21:06:27

like i said in my 2. post...those things do need looking at...private renting shouldn't be so expensive and earnings should be higher and well...as for taxing...they should take it from the people that can afford it....

chefswife Thu 28-Aug-08 21:06:48

i meant to say as well that here a bedroom is a bedroom and that's it. no classifying other rooms as potential sleeping spaces. that's ridiculous. families need living space as well as sleeping space. council flats are just fancy shanty towns.

expatinscotland Thu 28-Aug-08 21:09:54

the other problem with private renting in the UK, 3and, is that the majority of it is what is known as 'short-term assured' or 'short-assured'. whilst it is possible to contract with a tenant for a longer lease period, the standard lease is assured for 6 months only. the landlord/owner can then, unless he/she signs another tenancy agreement, give the tenant notice that he/she needs to move out in 2 months. at any time.

so that leads to makes private renting very unattractive because there is little long-term stability in it for hte most part.

KVC Thu 28-Aug-08 21:10:29

Message withdrawn

Anna8888 Thu 28-Aug-08 21:13:59

Here in Paris normal middle-class families with professional jobs don't have bedrooms for the whole family and it is quite usual for the parents to sleep in the living-room.

StayFrosty Thu 28-Aug-08 21:14:35

Yes, assured tenancies were done away with by the Tories. This is definitely a factor in the general shittiness of housing for people on low incomes now.

I was given two months' notice out of the blue at my last property when the landlord decided to sell up. It was pre dd thankfully, but I still remember the panic I felt trying to find somewhere else to live. God knows how desperate I would have been if I had had children.

expatinscotland Thu 28-Aug-08 21:17:37

'Here in Paris normal middle-class families with professional jobs don't have bedrooms for the whole family and it is quite usual for the parents to sleep in the living-room.'

Common enough in many parts of NYC as well.

Hence, the popularity of places like IKEA and The Container Store.

But when you combine that with also living in a shitey shite area, I can see where it really sucks.

Anna8888 Thu 28-Aug-08 21:21:35

expat - yes, it's even worse if you live in a bad area. But middle-class families living à quatre in 55 square metres in a reasonable area and working their socks off to pay for it would be on the streets protesting if social housing one neighbourhood away provided 80 square metres for a family of the same size.

None of it is good, of course.

expatinscotland Thu 28-Aug-08 21:24:21

I'd take a 55 metres in a reasonable area of Paris to 80 metres in most British council estates any day wink.

But I see where you are coming from.

Anna8888 Thu 28-Aug-08 21:26:13

Yes, but they don't come at the same price (which is why people work so damn hard for the 55 square metres...)

fedupandisolated Thu 28-Aug-08 21:27:47

I know that at least it's shelter and there are cooking and washing facilities but when everyone is on top of each other it's not surprising that there's problems.
I've actually seen one young couple recently who are in a bedsit with mould growing up the walls and a new baby. Of course there's bugger all storage so all the baby's bits are everywhere. Then a neighbour reports them to Social Services because the place is chaotic and cluttered. hmm.
They have been told that for housing purposes they are in "Band 3" (whatever that is) and won't be re-housed until in Band 1 - then all they might get is a one bed flat.

expatinscotland Thu 28-Aug-08 21:28:01

Are the tenancies there assured, however? My ex h lives in Germany and the tenancies laws are very different from British ones. There also doesn't appear to be any stigma attached to renting, even when you have a family.

I wonder if this is not, however, just a German thing.

expatinscotland Thu 28-Aug-08 21:29:01

fedup, the housing application in our West Highland council ends with a statement that it's entirely possible to never be housed or to wait 10+ years for an offer.

fedupandisolated Thu 28-Aug-08 21:30:48

Bloody hell expat - that's dreadful. sad

expatinscotland Thu 28-Aug-08 21:37:15

It isn't surprising, though.

We will have three children, two girls and one boy, nad are currently on the list. Allocated a 2 bedroom because the living room counts as sleeping quarters.

Were told the landlord would need to formally evict us (he's abroad just now, due to come back in October, 2009), something he's willing to do, or we will continue very low down on the list.

As it is, we are hoping to rent a caravan or even buy one instead - much cheaper and you don't pay council tax .

Most around here are in better condition than many of the HA/former council properties.

MsHighwater Thu 28-Aug-08 21:40:26

fedupandisolated, where are you? In my area, a family such as you describe would have "overcrowding" points on their housing application. I've never heard of a living room being counted as a bedroom.

IIRC, children up to about age 10 (I think) can share a bedroom regardless of sex, from 10 to 16 children of the same sex can share but not those of opposite sexes. Over 16 and people are considered to be entitled to a bedroom of their own. Of course, it doesn't make a difference to the availability of properties so families might still wait a while but it sure doesn't sound like the situation you describe.

3andnomore Thu 28-Aug-08 21:41:24

expat...in Germany it is definiely quite normal to rent....probably eeven the norm....it's that or selfbuilding....

the renting laws are pretty shite then....

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