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Council housing - move tenants subject to decreasing family size?

350 replies

whatever17 · 29/05/2011 00:47

Do you think that tenants in social housing should be moved after their family's have grown?

For instance, a family gets a 3 bed house then the kids grow up and leave. Should the parents be forced into a 1 bed property? SHould they have to leave their family home after 40 years?

If so, surely no one would have any pride in the property. If they feel they have "a home for life" they will beautify the garden and keep everything respectable.

Should the solution be that there is enough social housing for everyone in need?

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lesley33 · 29/05/2011 00:54

The Government is planning lots of changes to social housing. For example:

  1. Couples in a 3 bed property will get reduced housing benefit as they have more bedrooms than they need.

2. Councils/HA will be able to give short tenancies with the minimum only being two years.
3. Anyone single under 35 years of age who are putting in a new claim, will only get housing benefit at a rate for someone renting a room in a shared house.

And lots of other quite scary things. I have been surprised at the lack of coverage of this there has been in the press.
ShellyBoobs · 29/05/2011 01:00

I think your last sentence is important: 'Should the solution be that there is enough social housing for everyone in need?'

If you look at it on the 'need' basis, then once only the parents remain in the household, the need is for a house with less rooms isn't it?

As for, 'If they feel they have "a home for life" they will beautify the garden and keep everything respectable.' I don't think that the idea is to allocate housing on the basis of who will keep the garden in the best condition!

Council housing is surely about providing a home for people in need?

Firawla · 29/05/2011 01:00

there is a risk they wont put as much effort into the place but you have to weigh it up with the other side of so many people in need of housing and ridiculous weighting lists, no chance to get anything etc.. while some couple or single person is taking up a family sized property, surely that is not fair??
there should be more social housing available anyway, i dont think its right that they have sold so much of it off allowing people to buy it. it's for people in need not for people to make quick money out of by buying them on the cheap then ending up so well off by selling it for profit later on

Imnotaslimjim · 29/05/2011 01:00

Lesley, no1 on your list has already been implemented here (west lancs) thats been going for a while

This is an emotive subject for me though. My grandparents moved into their home with their children in 1962. Obviously those children grew up and left home. 2 years ago, my grandad died from stomach cancer. My nan informed the council of his death and they told her that she would have to move to a 1 bed flat. She was devastated and cried for days. It may well be social housing, but that house is her home and has been for nearly 50 years. Thankfully, my auntie was in a position to be able to buy the house

I do understand that being under occupied can cause a big problem, but to try and move a 72 year old lady, who will probably only live for another 4/5 years is just plain cruel

whatever17 · 29/05/2011 01:08

ShellyBoobs - I meant - anyone in need of social (rather than bought) housing in the first place.

I do think keeping the garden nice and putting curtains rather than nailing blankets up and investing in the community comes from having a "home for life".

I suppose it is not fair that one old lady is taking up a family sized property but then we have Imnotaslimjim's Gran's position - her Gran was in her family home that she loved dearly and because she was a social tenant rather than having had the means to buy her own home she would have been moved.

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lesley33 · 29/05/2011 01:09

I agree with you. On paper this policy makes sense, but not when you look at the reality. My parents are in a 3 bed council house they have lived in for years and years. I don't know how they would cope with a house move now and I would be genuinely worried about their health. I think I will end up subbing them rather than them being forced to move.

whatever17 · 29/05/2011 01:14

Lesley - will that be feasible though?

What I mean is, the way this govt is being so welfare reformist, would you be allowed to sub them or will they demand their property back.

When a council tenant moves into a property they get an assured tenancy. When I signed mine (11 years ago) I said "is this mine now, forever?" they said "yes, as long as you pay the rent".

But I presume they can change the law on existing tenancies?

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chopchopbusybusy · 29/05/2011 01:22

This thread will run and run and get very nasty as all the other ones have.
My mum lives in a council house. She has done for 40+ years. She has never claimed housing benefit, so has paid the going council rent price. Her BIL looks down on her for living in a council house. She has paid more in rent than he has paid for his mortgage but he now owns his house and will pass the inheritance to his DDs.
I do understand why some people think she should move on and

make room for other families but it's not her fault that council houses
have been sold off and haven't been replaced.
Also, council housing has become something which people associate with the unemployed and 'scroungers' etc. Council housing was built
initially for people who had low paid employment. It wasn't a charity.
Council housing can pay it's own way. Personally, I'd much rather see
housing benefit being paid as part of council housing than being paid
to buy to let landlords.
Also, as a PS she could have bought her house at a discount and sold it on at a profit. She deliberately chose not to as she doesn't believe she should profit.

whatever17 · 29/05/2011 01:27

I did inquire into buying my house but the price is astronomical - £280k which is with the £16k discount.

I will try, before I am dead, to buy the house between me and my 2 DSs but it's a hell of a lot of money.

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whatever17 · 29/05/2011 01:29

I hope the thread doesn't turn nasty, there's no need.

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LordOfTheFlies · 29/05/2011 01:32

Really it would have to be something implemented as of a certain date, ie for any future tenants,would not work in retrospect.
Also a limit on bedroom numbers .If you have 'nuclear family' of 2 adults+2 children then 3 bed house.If you choose to have more then don't automatically get bumped up to a bigger house.Pay the going rate to upgrade.If I decided to add to my brood it would be up to me to house them.
And its always a point that theres not enough social housing because a huge proportion of it now is bought.
Should there still be 'right to buy'?

lesley33 · 29/05/2011 01:33

I don't know, I hadn't thought about whether I would be allowed to sub them, just assumed I would. My parents paid their rent themselves until they became pensioners. Only then were they claiming housing benefit.

ShellyBoobs · 29/05/2011 01:33

I'm not saying I agree with it, whatever17, just that it's the way I understand it's supposed to work?

Actually though, I was under the impression that the reforms only affected people newly taking up a tenancy? I'm wrong aren't I? Blush

whatever17 · 29/05/2011 01:35

Lord/Flies - but is that a case of punishing the children. If their parents choose to have 8 kids should those kids be sleeping in the hallway?

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Tortington · 29/05/2011 01:37

yes the ideal would be to have more social housing, however that isn't going to happen - indeed in this economic climate HA's are finding it difficult to invest in building more.

so that's the current position - given then that is the position, and on that basis is it right that tenants have a home for life? or that social housing should be given and allocated to those in need.

circumstances change. some families grow and need bigger houses, some peole get good jobs and move on, some families decrease in size when their children move out.

I think that tenancies should be assessed and becuase we are in a situation where there is a lack of social housing, social housing should be allocated on need.

whatever17 · 29/05/2011 01:38

ShellyBoobs - I am not sure. I would assume so. I would assume that any contract the social entered into would be legally binding forever.

I think people with newer tenancy are more likely not to have RTB and may be subject to "necessitated moves".

Which I can understand, logically, but how much effort would you put into a home that isn't permanent?

Lesley - were you thinking that you would top up their HB/CTB if there are new rules implemented. They probably won't be implemented fast enough to affect your parents.

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LordOfTheFlies · 29/05/2011 01:41

Whatever17- exactly choice If someone chooses to have above the national average, (used to be 2.4 but I'm sure its lower now) then they should fathom out how to house them.

whatever17 · 29/05/2011 01:41

custardo - it seems that whilst so much is spent on foreign aid and defence we could really do with having more social housing being built on brownfield sites.

There are so many people desperate for secure housing, a month or two away from eviction or couch surfing who really need a home. And the people already in social housing need their homes too. Most have gone through years and years of begging and form filling to point scoring to get their homes and have lived through years of insecure housing themselves.

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Tortington · 29/05/2011 01:43

any policy chnges that the govt have implimented only affect new tenancies.

regarding subbing - it doesn't matter if you pay for the rent yourself of whether you claim benefits. the end result is the same - the council or the HA get the money - they aren't fussed where it comes from. but if their policy is to move people out becuase they are under occupying then it wouldn't matter who is paying the rent

I have to say my understanding is that in law, there is the right to move people - but it isn't considered best practice and i have never heard of it being implimented. although i don't doubt your story. for the HAs that i have worked for and with, they have incentive schemes to encourage people who are underoccupying to move - things like helping with the cost of moving, or paying them cash depending on how many rooms they are giving up - that kind of thing

whatever17 · 29/05/2011 01:43

Lord/Flies - well, I think people do really. I would imagine kids from large families are used to sharing 4 to a room but I don't think it needs to be a punitive policy. If they can move to a larger property, great.

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whatever17 · 29/05/2011 01:45

My ex-DH's parents scaled down and down until they were in a 1 bed bungalow. I think they got cash incentives and help with moving at every stage.

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Tortington · 29/05/2011 01:45

w17, yes i do not disagree that there is a need for more social housing - i am stating the reality. the reality is - there isn't going to be a huge amount of it forthcoming anytime soon - so what do we do as a nation with limited social housing

we are where we are - and so given that there is limited social housing, is it right that someone with three children remain in a B&B costing a huge amount of money whilst other people under occupy 3 bed houses?

whatever17 · 29/05/2011 01:46

custardo - no, I suppose it is not right. But then isn't the bigger wrong to accept that we will not build enough social housing?

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Tortington · 29/05/2011 01:47

it is what it is. so what do we do?

whatever17 · 29/05/2011 01:48

custardo - if the money can be found to house people in a B&B - at huge cost - could it not be better spent on buying an HA house? WHat is the cost of 2 parents and 3 kids in B&B for a week? prolly £1k?

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