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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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whatever17 · 29/05/2011 01:50

custard - I think we should divert money from defence and foreign aid. The welfare budget is a fraction of what is spent on those two things.

Social housing is a perennial problem - especially in big cities where rents are sky high. And buying is just crazy money.

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ShellyBoobs · 29/05/2011 01:54

I'm sorry, Whatever17, but you're getting into a very political standpoint now. The social housing before foreign aid and defence argument could be applied to any number of other situations, too.

I don't think any party would make a decision to spend billions on more social housing unless the rents were going to be punitive (at least in line with private renting) to recover the costs. If a government did that, it might as well keep the system as it is and not invest the huge sums required because social housing at private rental rates isn't going to end up going to the most needy.

TheFrogs · 29/05/2011 01:54

In theory it makes perfect sense. However, i've lived in my council property for ten years now. It was a dump when I took it on because I was desperate. I've never earnt very much but have spent more or less every spare penny on this place just to make it liveable at first. I've since had a fitted kitchen (ten years ago the council didn't "do kitchens", I had a sink unit in a room), new doors etc. If I move I will be required to remove my solid wooden doors and replace them with plain crappy council doors at my own expense. If I didn't do this they would be ripped out and thrown in a skip and I would be charged for new "council" doors. Same with the kitchen.

I had to pay for the 6ft high garden to be cut down, new fencing (garden was not secure, line of ripped up chicken wire)...the list is endless. Will I ever get any of this money back? Nope.

I would be happy to leave it all if a new tenant could get a decent house even if I never got the money back, but the fact that anything i've improved on will be ripped out makes me furious. When my kids move out then if they want to move me fine, but what about compensation for the thousands i've spent on their house?

A lot of people would argue I shouldn't have spent money on a house that wasn't mine in the first place but it was in such a bad condition that I had no choice. My home had only been empty for so long because noone else was daft enough to take it in the condition it was in! (the mug that I am)!

SockShitter · 29/05/2011 01:55

I would very much rather have a family with 3 kids not be spilt up due to lack of housing then an older couple keep a place just because they always lived there. No one is entitled to a council house, also as we get older most people tend to downsize anyway just because looking after a home becomes harder.

lesley33 · 29/05/2011 01:57

whatever - The Government isn't proposing forcing older couples who have lived in their 3 bedroomed house for years, to move to a smaller house. What they are saying instead is they will will only pay housing benefit on a proportion of the rent because the house is too large for their needs.

But people like my parents who are pensioners, are usually in receipt of housing benefit, because they get such a small pension. So the idea is too put financial pressure on older couples to move. And this is due to be implemented very soon - not in 5 or 6 years time.

LordOfTheFlies · 29/05/2011 01:58

There have to be incentives to people if they are to move.Lots of people I see at work(NHS visits) say they would like to move but the choices are limited.Either privately owned warden control or retirement flats (which are horrendously expensive) or flats in LA housing.Most would only be an option if ground floor.
Some people never even go upstairs in there houses- not all are suitable for a stairlift- and the wait for the council is months
New builds now have to have 25% affordable housing ,part rent/part buy which puts alot of developers off.

whatever17 · 29/05/2011 02:03

Shelly - I think it is political. There are people in every Borough in the UK desperate for social housing and 20% of the UK are in social housing already. Therefore it us is something that touches either every one of us or someone we know, I would think. Most people in the UK would struggle to point to Afghanistan or Iraq on a map and to explain the current war.

Diverting money to social housing would help this country, when we clearly need it.

Frog - would you have spent that money on improving your property if they had told you they might move you in 2 years or are you viewing it as "your home" even though you don't own it?

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ComradeJing · 29/05/2011 02:05

One issue that will be pointed out is that those who do not have access to council housing often have to make the choice not to have more children because they don't have room for them and they don't have the funds or option to move. In most cases having more children is a choice. I understand people don't say 'were having another child, we'd like a bigger house now please' and the council just give them one.

On paper it is madness that a couple live in a 3 bed home but it is cruel to move an elderly woman. In reality most people leave home when their parents are in their 50s.

It's unreasonable to imagine we will suddenly build lots of council housing. I don't think the uk has the money and it would mean building on greenbelt which many would be opposed to. People want housing but the reality is that flats would be preferable to get more people in.

There is no easy answer.

whatever17 · 29/05/2011 02:08

Lord/Flies - I know of people who have moved voluntarily because they cannot afford the rent. For instance I knew a woman who had a 4 bed flat and she was a school cook or something therefore on quite a low income but required to pay full rent (which is fairly expensive these days - mine is £111 per week).

All her kids had gone and she had arrears so she moved to a 2 bed flat and they wrote off her arrears, I think, or gave her a cash incentive and she was happier with a cheaper rent.

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whatever17 · 29/05/2011 02:10

Comrade - Most people choose only to have the children they can manage with perhaps 1 accident which can be squeezed in. People who "choose" to have 8 whilst not being able to house them or look after them properly are in the minority.

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Tortington · 29/05/2011 02:12

the afhganistan agrument is silly

that money could be better spent on a billion other things = who would deny that?

i would rather it be spent on decent schools with resources and smaller class sizes and better trained teachers

i would rather it be spent on the police force, more poice on the streets, more specialised units all properly resources

i would rather that money be spent on the NHS, better staff and more of them, better hospitals, all fully equiped and resourced - not hospitals shutting down like where i live, not A&E departments closing right and left across the county

the argument is redundant.

your other arguments are along the same lines and have been explained.

who would deny those who need it more social housing? NO ONE!

but we aren't going to get it any time soon - so we are where we are.

given this - you YOURSELF have admitted that a family with children should be given a house where an older person is under occupying it

not one person would deny that house was their home. but resources are scarce and we have to make choices

whatever17 · 29/05/2011 02:12

Comrade - that begs a bigger question. Is the UK full? I think we can build more social housing on brownfield sites if funds were diverted to that.

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Sqee · 29/05/2011 02:14

I just think it is awful. My mum is disabled (she got polio and meningitis when she was 5 and has no use of her right arm. The left side of her body is failing due to overuse because of 40 years of relying on one side of her body) and was moved into a 3 bedroom bungalow 5 years ago. My brother and me and my DP lived with my parents before hand and moved with them. Me and DP moved out when I had DS.

I'm just wondering (As is she) what will happen with her? She has spent 5 years making this bungalow her own and has an amazing group of neighborers who help her and my dad.

There is no working income apart from my brother as my dad had to leave work to look after my mum (some days her right arm does not work at all and she cannot feed herself ect)

I am glad this thread came up as we are all very worried about what is going to happen and any advise would help alot!

whatever17 · 29/05/2011 02:14

custard - calm down. The money from Afghanistan could also be used on the causes that you list.

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LordOfTheFlies · 29/05/2011 02:15

Someone told me their daughter+ son-in-law bought her council house on Right to Buy (when they were ridiculously low) to pass onto their children ie the ladies grandchildren. And in the same breath complained that her neice was being "chucked out" of her parents flat because her parents had died and she didn't have the tenancy passed on.
My flab was gasted.I said nothing.(difficult to believe!)

lesley33 · 29/05/2011 02:15

Comrade - If they introduced the rule for new tenancies that say you had a year to move to a smaller house after your children had left home then okay. But to force elderly people to move is I think cruel.

My parents actually did move when we left home - from a large 3 bedroomed house to a very small 3 bedroomed house i.e. other 2 bedrooms are single rooms and small living room and kitchen. They can get upstairs okay so do use the whole of the house. But I really think they would get very stressed if they had to move. They are at the stage lots of elderly people seem to get to where very small things really make them very stressed and anxious.

ShellyBoobs · 29/05/2011 02:15

"that begs a bigger question. Is the UK full?"

You're not going to move onto the 'immigrants have taken all the housing' argument are you?

ComradeJing · 29/05/2011 02:16

I understand that whatever17. Merely making the point in response to your post regarding punishing chiildren if parents have more children than they can afford.

TheBride · 29/05/2011 02:17

Selling the council houses off was a really bad idea (it was the Tory version of Labour's over expansion of the public sector- a cheap vote winner at the expense of the future generations who get left with the crap/expense to clear up).

However, we are where we are. There is not enough social housing, and I think it can only be allocated on a needs basis, possibly with an exemption for the over 70's.

If you think about it, most people leave home by their early twenties, making their parents in their early sixties (at the oldest). That's not old these days. Those people I think do need to downsize. However, I think their should be provision within the same area.

Tortington · 29/05/2011 02:17

you think the money from afghanistan could fix the nhs, police, housing and education system?

Sqee · 29/05/2011 02:17

Oh dear. I seemed to have posted in abit of an argument. Whoops

whatever17 · 29/05/2011 02:21

ShellyBoobs - absolutely not, I wouldn't say or think that. What I mean is do we have enough brownfield or even greenfield sites to even build more housing? If not, what can be done about that. I don't think anything can be done. I am just thinking aloud.

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ComradeJing · 29/05/2011 02:23

I agree making elderly people move in reality is cruel. On paper though it seems like a sensible solution.

There are a finite number of brownfield sites. Greenfield sites are expensive to build on I imagine.

Of course the uk is full one in, one out, ban the dirty forriners, one child policy, forced tube tying after that. Hmm there's no point asking that question in relation to moving people if they have more space than they need.

whatever17 · 29/05/2011 02:23

custard - I do think that the money from Afghanistan and also from foreign aid could be better used in the UK. Don't you?

Don't you think that we are in a bit of an economic crises and that money should be kept at home?

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ComradeJing · 29/05/2011 02:25

Ok kids I'm out. Dd has gone to sleep so I'm going back to sleep myself.

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