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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.

VenusRising Mon 02-Sep-13 17:34:54

I like your user name- was that from that thread the other day? It was hilarious.

Sorry I can t tell you anything useful about the tenancies.

Trills Mon 02-Sep-13 17:37:39

No, it doesn't make a lot of sense.

Nice idea at the time maybe?

I'm pretty sure that there should be a way to charge on a sliding means-tested scale that reflects "how much would you have to pay to get the same house if it were with a private landlord?", such that people who are privately renting and in receipt of housing benefit are no worse off than people who rent from the council (in receipt of housing benefit or not).

Wallison Mon 02-Sep-13 17:39:08

Do people reach an age where they stop needing a home? If not, then that's why there are lifetime tenancies.

Wallison Mon 02-Sep-13 17:41:03

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?

hettienne Mon 02-Sep-13 17:41:58

Council housing was designed to provide decent, stable homes for everyone who needed it. It isn't a safety net for in desperate situations (that is what housing benefit is for after all).

What's unfair is that there isn't enough social housing for everyone who needs/wants it - much more needs to be built.

Council housing rents are below private rents because they are not designed to make profits. The rent is set to cover the maintenance of the building, staffing costs etc. Most council housing has paid for itself many times over now and councils and HAs do make a surplus from rents.

If people are kicked out of their homes if their circumstances improve, a few things will happen:
housing estates will become ghettos where no one cares about their homes or community as they know they are temporary
people won't risk getting jobs/better jobs as they risk losing stability, having to leave their jobs, take their children out of school etc.
communities will be destroyed

KissMeHardy Mon 02-Sep-13 17:46:51

My sister has been in her council house for 40 years. She treats it as 'her home'. The house and garden are immaculate. Because her circumstances have changed, why should she be kicked out to go somewhere where she doesn't know her neighbours and has no friends?

This wouldn't happen if she owned it, would it?

Trills Mon 02-Sep-13 17:48:37

I don't think anyone should be kicked out, but I do think that it's silly that two people who have the same circumstances now could be paying such a different amount of rent for two very similar houses, based on what their circumstances were like in the past.

Nancy66 Mon 02-Sep-13 17:49:44

I think it's misguided - it's why you end up with people in London earning over £100k but occupying council homes.

Circumstances change and tenants would be re-assessed.

ImagineJL Mon 02-Sep-13 17:49:48

A friend if my Mum's lives in a council house. A few years ago she inherited 250k. Whilst I can see the arguments for not uprooting people and forcing them to move, it just feels wrong that someone can have a hugely affluent lifestyle whilst living in a council property, when there are people in dire need of housing. She's also a single woman in a family home, but that's a whole other debate!

Tortington Mon 02-Sep-13 17:50:37

no life time tenancies anymore
forced to declare income to pay fairer share of rent rather than lower rents

no sure why the argument is envy over lower tenancies and not anger at high LL rents

no anger at the rape of the benefits system

no anger at the dismantling of secure homes for vulnerable people

no anger that the government for what effectively amounts to funding cuts to build homes the treasury slashed grants to social housing by 60%

you know why you can't get a council house at lower than market rent?

becuase successive governments have been total fuckers

DrinkFromMyFountain Mon 02-Sep-13 17:53:03

Fair enough wallison I don't dispute that you ever stop needing a home. I do however think that you won't always need the same home. I find it very odd that a single woman earning £40k whose children have all left home would still technically be entitled to live in her council house.

Wallison Mon 02-Sep-13 17:53:18

<<I don't think anyone should be kicked out,>>

So you agree with lifetime tenancies then? Excellent.

Trills Mon 02-Sep-13 17:54:23

I agree with sticking to your commitments. I don't necessarily agree that those commitments were the best idea in the first place, but once you've promised something you should do as you promised.

expatinscotland Mon 02-Sep-13 17:56:22


DrinkFromMyFountain Mon 02-Sep-13 17:56:55

kissme because I am assuming based on your posts that she doesn't need the house? Therefore why should she get to stay in it over someone who does actually need it when she can afford to rent somewhere else confused.

Of course it would be different if she owned it! Not sure what you're getting at?

Wallison Mon 02-Sep-13 17:57:57

Well said, Tortington. There is a massive crisis with housing in this country where landlords are about as unregulated as fucking cocklepicking gang-masters, with private tenants paying out extortionate sums of money to live in often sub-standard homes and only ever two months away from eviction and incidentally costing the taxpayer £billions every year which goes straight into the coffers of people building up their own private property empires, and yet the problem is that council tenants aren't being made homeless? Ffs.

Trills Mon 02-Sep-13 17:58:07

No need for housing benefit for people in council houses (you are just giving the money and then taking it straight back again) - just charge them between £0 and "market rent" depending on their income and needs.

Use the extra money that is made to give more/better housing benefit to people who are in private rentals.

People who are in council housing and on low income or with higher needs do just as well as before.

People in private rentals and on low income or with higher needs do better than before.

People in private rentals and not on low income have nothing change.

People in council housing and not on low income have to pay a bit more - but why shouldn't they?

Wallison Mon 02-Sep-13 17:59:11

<<kissme because I am assuming based on your posts that she doesn't need the house? >>

Of course she doesn't. She could go and live on the streets. Tenants don't actually need somewhere to live, so why the frig do they have houses at all?

Trills Mon 02-Sep-13 17:59:23

Better regulation of private landlords is a related but separate issue (and a complicated one, due to house price bubbles, over-lending, negative equity, etc).

KissMeHardy Mon 02-Sep-13 18:00:24

Drink - yes, she does need a council house, she is retired on basic state pension. She can't afford to rent somewhere else.

What I was getting at is that people want to stay in THEIR HOME. If you start kicking people out as soon as their circumstances change they are not going to respect the council house they are in, will treat it like a temporary place, and the Councils will lose out big time.

WafflyVersatile Mon 02-Sep-13 18:01:25

Why is your complaint not that 'more council houses should be built so they are available to all that want them instead of having to be rationed out'? Why is your complaint that people shouldn't be allowed to stay in their home if their circumstances change?

fancyabakeoff Mon 02-Sep-13 18:01:28

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

DrinkFromMyFountain Mon 02-Sep-13 18:01:43

YY trills.

To clarify - I wasn't saying the private rental market isn't a mess (I am well aware that it is), I'm all for more regulation in the private sector. This doesn't change how I feel about social housing.

KissMeHardy Mon 02-Sep-13 18:03:16

Well said fancyabakeoff. And don't even get me started on Right to Buy which was the single factor that depleted the stock of council housing down to it's dire level now.

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