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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?

OP posts:
usualsuspect · 31/05/2011 17:47

I think the private rental market needs changing

more long term lets like in other countrys,were renting is the norm might help

Lunabelly · 31/05/2011 17:53

Smokinaces, OMG I forgot about the cats! How could I have forgotten the cats??
I've got three demented black cats already. I've told DH it's practice for when I've put him under the patio I'm a batty old lady. With a lilac rinse and wonky red lipstick. :o

Firawla · 31/05/2011 18:26

whether you call it subsidised or that private rent is inflated, it still comes down to the same thing if you have people trying to privately rent the ex council places which are being charged a huge amount for, and others paying however much the council charges them, which could be to live next door to each other - however you call it, it ends up as a huge discrepency between them so obviously something is not right. in london they are charging upto £450 a week, or sometimes more than that, for renting a 3 bed ex council place. it's not affordable, and even if you afforded it then wont get the security or the chance to do it up nicely.
it's not just a case of envy, because people won't begrudge the home to those who really need it and using it to its full capacity but if you hear of just one single person in these homes, when it could be used by a much larger family that is just not logical and of course people get the feeling of that is not quite right or not very fair on others. if you want to call that council house envy then fine but i dont think its the most accurate description.
i agree the private rents should be regulated more, but house prices will have to be regulated too otherwise landlords wont rent it out if doesn't cover hardly any of their mortgage. i do think places that are left empty and abandoned for a year or 2, should be taken and given to the council or something, because if people wont even use it then that's their own fault for wasting it.

TheFrogs · 31/05/2011 20:27

"I don't see why someone, who has had YEARS of funding from the govt... free windows/heating/subsidised rent etc (as has been stated here), should have such a sense of entitlement to believe that their SOCIAL house is their's for life even when that size is no longer needed by them? There are big families squashed into tiny flats, then there's 1 tenant having the luxury of a big house... which they don't even pay for/are heavily subsidised for. Not fair.

Doesn't make sense to me at all. But then I think this govt has hand fed this nation for so long already, people have come to expect handouts. I prefer to work for my money and pay for the roof over my own head."

poopnscoop what makes you think council tenants dont work? What makes you think we shouldn't have windows that shut, or heating in more than one room? I'd be very interested to know. I think most people on this thread have been pretty reasonable but the last part of your post was a bit rich. You are a childminder if i'm correct? Well guess what? When I first moved into my council house, I worked 40 hours and had......a childminder. I do hope she wasn't sneering about my circumstances behind my back when she was happy to take my money.

Disclaimer: I did say further up that there needs to be some solution to the original question before I get jumped on.

hudspur · 31/05/2011 20:30

My parents and my brother still live in the same house that me and my 2 sisters used to live in. Its far bigger then they need and I think they really should be moved to another as they are taking up a house which far exceeds their needs whilst others who do need it are crammed into smaller properties.

tomhardyismydh · 31/05/2011 23:16

watching newsnight, makes me think kirsty has been on this thread. Grin

crazynanna · 31/05/2011 23:22

Kirsty says save up for your house when you leave school because it's "all about faaaamily" Wink

tomhardyismydh · 31/05/2011 23:23

yes and then you make lovely little thrifty bits to make it look preeeity

expatinscotland · 31/05/2011 23:34

Kirsty can sit and spin.

crazynanna · 31/05/2011 23:39

Loved it when JP announced 'well on that snobby note we will finish' Grin

tomhardyismydh · 31/05/2011 23:40 la la land.

I dont know what experience she has to comment like she did. she has not known life may others who struggle either in rented or owned property, she is a middle class snob, I did like her but now I think she has shown her true colours, she was very nervous and shaking when she was talking, I think she realised what she was saying would be very unpopular and way off reality.

crazynanna · 31/05/2011 23:42

The other guest was literally wetting himself.

Missingfriendsandsad · 01/06/2011 00:06

It is like well shocking that if you live outside social housing, if you have another kid and your income doesn't go up once to pay for kid and again to but a bigger house, you stay in what you have, but if you do live in social housing and have no income, if you have a bigger family you get a bigger house.

that is well not on - you can get a house bogger than you can ever afford by working if you are like on the social.

tomhardyismydh · 01/06/2011 00:10

your post does not even make sence

Missingfriendsandsad · 01/06/2011 00:13

now doesn't yours's praps I shld get a free house if I am fick?

tomhardyismydh · 01/06/2011 00:15

i can only assume you are taking the piss Wink

kw1986 · 01/06/2011 00:33

I have mixed feelings on it.

I think it would be sad to turf out people who have lived in a house, their HOME, for potentially decades. Where they have made memories of their children growing up, getting married, having their own kids etc. Seems a bit cruel and heartless.

I'm not without sympathy for those on council/housing assoc waiting lists though. I'm now in a housing assoc house after waiting over 2.5 years on 3 different council lists and numerous housing associations...

Perhaps if there was just more social housing and the private market was monitored more. Private rents can be astronomical!

activate · 01/06/2011 09:23

"We work and pay our rent etc. Why indeed are people thinking that council housing is free? It's not. It's reasonable rents.

Agreed. As I said before, our rent isnt subsidised. Private rents are just overinflated."

what? Don't talk rot - Private rents are supply and demand - people pay what the demand for the property says should be paid - if a landlord sets a too high price they won't rent it - if a lessee offeres too little they won't get it

of course social housing is subsidised - it is not a free market it is a pre-set fee

yes council housed tenants pay rent but that does not entitle them to lifelong housing in the same house when the need is not there - there is simply not enough stock for that to happen and families crushed into 1 and 2 bed flats when 1 person lies in a 3 bed house is not on

Lunabelly · 01/06/2011 09:43

The HAs are hardly going to operate at a loss, surely (and we just had a rent increase of about £40 a month)?

(Am trying to google it but my security system has decided to fix something that wasn't broken and made my search engine about as effective as a chocolate teapot and American and Czech republic-centric to boot. Have told it that no, I don't live in Texas and that I want to know about English housing authorities but it's not having it. Fecking unwanted 'upgrades' )

Anyways, have already stated how I will combat both being downgraded and underoccupied. Batty old bints R us. I reckon I could squish several in. Freeing up several houses for young families, yet maintaining a homely feel, independence and local kid scaring a veg patch for us genteel old gels.

Joking aside, why doesn't that happen? Like a shared house for elderly but able people? I'd be all for it. It would combat under-occupancy and loneliness, and do without the formal rigidity of 'care homes' IYSWIM?
That's what I would like to do. God. The fun we old biddies will have. I've had that plan for years, y'know. Hence the cats...

lesley33 · 01/06/2011 10:18

Privately rented housing is always going to cost more than social housing as the landlords are in it to make a profit. Yes social landlords have to charge a rent that covers repairs and maintenance but:

  1. The new bathrooms, kitchens, etc that have come through the decent homes standard has not been paid for out of rents. Please don't think I am saying that these improvements shouldn't have happened. I know some people's houses were in a shocking state and desperately needed basic improvements. But rents did not pay for this.

2. Up till now the rents collected have went into a central government pot and then redistributed according to "need". It is proposed to change that so that local authourities keep the rents they collect. This wil have a negative affect on some councils and will benefit others. Will particularly negatively effect those with higher levels of rent arrears.

3. Usually the building cost of social housing hasn't been paid for out of rents, but has been paid for through central government grants.

So yes people do pay rent. But the aim of social housing has always been to provide "affordable rents." Thus some of the costs such as building the house or making substantial improvements has been subsidised. So a large social landlord would never be able to or want to subsidise rents. And as they also want to make a profit, private rented accommodation will always cost more than social housing rents.
Lunabelly · 01/06/2011 10:52

Any landlord worth their salt would do upgrades, surely? These upgrades (we just had one) are to keep the properties in-line with the 'lettable standard'.

Thankfully, social landlords understand that kitchens shouldn't have mushrooms, fally down cupboards, no room for a cooker or mice. The private landlords I've had don't understand this. A private rent wouldn't pay for a new, decent kitchen either. But keeping things right is just something a decent, responsible landlord does.

whatever17 · 04/06/2011 01:16

I have genuinely spent thousands on the garden on my council house. Everything was terrible when I moved in. The old bloke who died here before me had been doubly incontinent for 10 years. I scrubbed shit away for weeks.

There was an Anderson shelter in the garden.

I feel that I have added £10 - 20k to the value of the property.

I did that and continue doing that because I view it as "my home".

OP posts:
onceamai · 04/06/2011 08:03

I have only read the first and the last and whilst I appreciate the difficulties of elderly people having to move house when they are becoming old and frail if they have always lived in local authority housing and paid rent they have benefitted for many years from a fair market rent, from repairs and upgrades being carried out and have been free from teh pressures of mortgages and rising interest rates. If they owned the three bedroom house and had maintained it over the years and were continually maintaining what had become an old and inefficient property from their own pocket, they might take a pragmatic decision and decide they would be better off downsizing rather than spending their money on constant repairs. I know my grandparents did - moving from a large house to a modern bunalow in 1980. At the end of the day I think pragmatism has to come into the equation - most home owners on a budget wouldn't continue to maintain a property that had become too big for them; they would move to something smaller to be more comfortable in their old age. In the next few years my MIL will do this - she cannot justify the large 30's semi with a huge garden or paying a gardener to come in to keep things tidy. She can easily afford to stay there but one tends to be very very sensible when it comes to spending one's own money rather than someone elses.

It is probably cruel to move the very elderly but perhaps not so cruel to move (and be aware that a move will take place in the fullness of time to make way for new families) when the children leave home and the parents are possibly in their early sixties and more adaptable to change.

Lunabelly · 04/06/2011 08:48

Whatever17 - yes, we've spent a small fortune on the house and garden. In fact, we've put our hearts and souls into it.

Because we spent 13 years living in a hellhole, and because we needed beds, cookers, carpets etc (and most of our kitchen and bathroom stuff had to be replaced due to the flat being so ickky), I went into debt to do it all because I couldn't stand any more of our lives being wasted by waiting for a "round tuitt" or "when we can afford it" or a "maybe in a few years".

This home has made me so happy that I've been able to reduce the happy pills and glimpse a glimmer at the end of the tunnel. The DCs are so happy because they can be children, play in the street with friends, play in the garden, watch our veg grow. DH is happy because he gets to be a half price Mister Bloom on his veg patch, pretending he knows the difference between a ladybird and that evil potato munching bastard bug.

I make bread, look out of the window to see them playing in the garden, and I am so damn thankful.
But my heart and soul is now almost woven into the actual bricks.

I never had much security as a child - we would move every couple of years (usually just as I'd got used to the place), the awful rows and stuff, parents divorcing, having to flee at the drop of a hat on a couple of occasions. My feet ache with roots that just wait to drop down!
So I find moving very difficult and traumatic (although I was jumping for joy this time!!! :o )

So yes yes yes, I know in my heart that what is said about downsizing is right, but I cannot even think about that right now without panic. (And me having one of my panic attacks is not pretty).
Hence turning this place into a Golden Girls / Batty Bint house when the time comes. 2 birds, one stone and all that :)

whatever17 · 07/06/2011 02:02

onceamai - you are perfectly correct in that home owners spend thousands on their owned homes on upkeep. We all see houses that the windowframes have rotted away etc.

Lunabelly - I feel the same. I never lived anywhere longer than a couple of years and had a shit childhood. But - do people who own their houses feel any better than we do? I don't know. I love my council house and it feels like the home that I never had. I am proud that my children went to only 1 primary school when I went to 9.

I envied my friends who had their cots and baby toys in the loft and now my kids have that too.

BUT, if one of my kids had a 1 bed flat and 3 kids, I would swap.

Failing that, I can't stand that idea of leaving "my home" but I suppose people who own their home are terrified of not making the mortgage and being kicked out of their "home" too.

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