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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:
TheHumanCatapult · 29/05/2011 08:49

oh and befor eget bashed for Hb .I did work but ds3 has sn and I ha dno choice other than to become his carer due to physio/appointments etc .My marriage broke down to .THen to top it of nearly 3 months ago I ended up in wheelchair due to acciddent ( can i win the sob story of why i need a HA houseWink )

But have been told it could be 5 years or more before they can help us as a family .So that is 5 years I have to crawl/shuffle on my arse into my bathroom as they will not adapt private rents .Having to get someone to get the ramp out so I can get in to my house .

So yes it does stick in my throat a bit when see someone taking up a larger property that they no longer need

Yukana · 29/05/2011 08:54

I see your point, Cote. But that's the same with private rentals I suppose. I don't know, I guess from my point of view with the changes it seems less secure (tenancy wise) to be in a council property than a private rented one? This is of course, just an assumption on my part though and I am by no means saying I'm right. It's more the impression I get.

Like I said though, I think if the public (council) and private sector of housing communicated more I think it would make things easier for a lot of families. Though perhaps it seems to be more on the council's side that are keeping their ears closed.

FakePlasticTrees · 29/05/2011 08:59

Just to wade into the arguement about people not caring about properties that aren't theirs 'for life' - if you were given a council house when your youngest child was say, 5, this policy would suggest you'd get to stay in that house until that child left home, assuming at 18. So you'd be living in that property for 13 years, are you really suggesting you wouldn't do the gardening, put up curtains, keep it in good repair etc because you'd only get 13 years use out of it????

tyler80 · 29/05/2011 09:00

I'm not sure how you think these changes will make it less secure to be a in council house than a private rent.

If you're on a rolling contract then you could get 2 months notice at any time. Even if you're fixed term these tend not to be longer than 12 months with a 6 month break clause

Not to mention the fact that your landlord can stop paying his mortgage and the house can get repossessed.

Yukana · 29/05/2011 09:06

You have a point, I agree. I think it may be because I just haven't been in the situation where the landlord has given our family notice to leave or the house has been repossessed.

TheHumanCatapult · 29/05/2011 09:08

/yukana .

I would rather have security of HA .I am on a rolling contract and I live in dread landlord wanting property back to sell or to let at higher rate .
Infact so much that I put up with a lot of things that need doing( bathroom ceiling needs doing wa spromise dbe done jsut after i move din , iff eletrics , ensuite shower not working (never has ) boiler that is forever cutting out and leaving me without hotwater or heating and he knows they do.
But I do not push it as worry that he will give me notice to quit and this is as near perfect moblity wise as I can get private rented.

heliumballoons · 29/05/2011 09:23

I live in a 2 bed HA flat - it is a new build and I have assured tenancy on it.

There are 2 2-bed and 2 1-bed flats in my apartment block, with the same in the adjoining block thats part rent and part buy. We all share a communal garden which is kept using our ground fees.

The 2 bed properties are occupied my myself and DS and the other by a family with 1 child. 1 1 bed is an older male occupant and the other an older famle occupant who's recently retired. She had a large 3 bed? family council property in the local area and was offered (told?) she had to move. The property she moved from was her family home for many years but was old and tired whereas she got a beautiful new and manageable flat in return. The only thing thats difficult is she has no bedroom for her GC when they stay the night.

I do think when there is a great need for houses when there are under occupied properties then changes need to be made. It is difficult as if you've decorated your home you have to leave it and start again somewhere. But maybe the solution for this is a 'forced' move and a small grant for redoecoration?

The problem for me is when families live in social housing because they have low income and can't afford the private sector (rent or buy) and then go on to expand their family expecting to be entitled to a larger property - I would worry it would encourage this if people knew larger properties were going to be made available.

It's not an easy situation - great thread for discussion OP.

justpaddling · 29/05/2011 09:32

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

onagar · 29/05/2011 09:33

The problem is highlighted in the 2nd post. Council housing is surely about providing a home for people in need?

It was more about providing affordable homes. The above idea would make sense if they were given away free to the poor, but they are not. They are rented and when it's done properly should be making a small, but real profit to the local authority.

If enough people (rich and poor) rented from the local authority that profit would help cut council tax.

The only people who lose in a society that provides decent affordable homes to citizens are the private landlords. So while the big developers are pushing the government to get rid of council houses, the small landlords are posting on here that we should do something about the common people taking up space.

TheHumanCatapult · 29/05/2011 09:35


I had my 4 dc when was married and working and we paid most of the private rent where we used to live ourselves ( we got £140 a month towards).But once we split up I was not allowed to stay as could not take Hb .so moved .
I have told council I would take a 3 bedroom and be dam gratefull as they come up more often. but they will not let me .I did try pointing out that they would need to add at least one downstairs bedroom where ever we are anyway even if we got a 4 bed .But they will not listern .So 5 years or more of sliding on my arse into a bathroom then having to drag myself onto toilet then do in reverse ..

I am going to have to find the £200 a month extra once the caps are in moving is not a option .

Serenitysutton · 29/05/2011 09:35

I think people are generally quite misinformed about social housing. I do think it's time for councils to back off and either sell their stock to corporate social landlords or pay them to manage it, because they can do so far more efficently, without cheaper staffing and pension costs as well as far bigger economies of scale.

That said depending on where you live the situation honestly isn't dire. We struggle badly with void property in some areas and in those currently have a policy of selling all 2/3 beds of a certain style as the opportunity arises as they are hard to let. This is also usually a problem in sheltered housing which have large numbers of vacancies. It's adifferent problem in London where 3 bed houses don't exist and people tend to be overcrowded. But really, it's often not as bad as people think. As a nation I think we should be very proud of our social housing provision.

People are already financially incentivised to move from a big house if they don't need it but it's essential we don't reduce tenants rights as it would have far reaching implications across all renters.

onagar · 29/05/2011 09:36

Oh and for those of you in privately rented places. Think about how few rights you have now. If there were millions of council houses then that would force landlords to treat tenants better. They'd have to make it worth your while to stay with them.

TheHumanCatapult · 29/05/2011 09:39


no problems here places rent fast private and at a high rent in all areas including the dodgey ones

miniwedge · 29/05/2011 09:40

Rather than assuming we need to build new homes, I think we should be looking at empty homes as well.

There are so many homes that are empty and have been for over 12 months, there was talk of using compulsory possession orders a few years ago but nothing has happened as far as I'm aware.

Plymouth city council were looking at this and I know they did compulsory purchase quite a few.

Re ownership, a council house is a rented house, it really should be expected that a move will be necessary once individual needs reduce.
Keeping a single person in a three bed is compassionate but makes no financial sense to an overstretched council/ HA

vickibee · 29/05/2011 09:41

did anyone see Panarama a few weeks agoe where some council tenants were leeting their ppty as a holiday let. the tanact apid #91 pw for a flat near towe bride in london and rented it out for 400 pw. These are the sort of people who should be targeted.
Then there was the case of a family in Sheffield who were really overcrowded somthing like 12 living in a small 3 bed terrace. Surely single people should move over and swap with families like this to make thei life bearable?

Serenitysutton · 29/05/2011 09:46

Also having read further- please don't think you're adding value to your house by doing work. This is industry, it doesn't work like the private housing Market. Social housing is sold stack em high and sell em cheap - on a huge scale. Last month we sold 20000 units at £20000 each in an exclusive London borough. If you want to buy twenty thousand houses you can get them for thAt price. Someone making their house worth 10k more than it was when they moved in- on the private Market- means absoluely nothing, the owner will never realise that value, it's meaningless. When you leave they'll send contractors in to refurb it so it looks the same as all their other houses re let.

Serenitysutton · 29/05/2011 09:51

Where are you the human catepult? Every area has their "dog" properties. There is no area where all housing is in great demand. My previous company was in Kensington and we had unletable properties. I think unless you have experiance of it you wouldn't really know.

FabbyChic · 29/05/2011 10:35

I left a 2 bed council house where I lived with 2 children, to my husband, who now is on the rent book and is single.

My childrens father got a 3 bed council flat as he had shared access which he never used, the children are now 18 and 23, he still has the flat.

I actually agree that once the children have left the tenants should be moved to housing more in keeping with their family size.

TheHumanCatapult · 29/05/2011 10:47


I am in East Hertfordshire and there is very little avialble here a 4 bed on average goes for £1300-£1400 a month thats within say a 20 mile radius of my place ..We are close to London so 25 mins train and close to Stansted airport

TheHumanCatapult · 29/05/2011 10:48

and not talking about all housing am talking of 3 or 4 beds family homes

Marjoriew · 29/05/2011 10:53

I had 7 children and brought them up in a three-bed-roomed council house. When I got divorced the council gave me an old three-bedroom nearer the town/schools for social reasons.
The house was modernized and as the children got older they built a small ground floor extension. Right-to-buy had just been introduced by Mrs..T and almost immediately all the fours in the town where we lived were snapped up, with the rules being if you had been a council tenant for over 20 years there was no deposit to pay and you also got 50% of the price o the house.
When my children left home I swapped my big house with a lady who had 3 children in a 2 along the road from me.
I now live alone in a 2-bed HA house with my grandson who is nearly 12. If anything happens to me, provided he is old enough to hold a tenancy, he will have to move out of here but will be given housing according to his needs, and that's how it should be.
Sorry, I don't get the notion that people who have social housing should be able to stay in their homes for life.
I didn't want to leave my home, but I took what memories, good or bad with me.

TheHumanCatapult · 29/05/2011 10:57

Marjoriew .

I have writen and begged coucil to let me have a 3 bed instead of a 4 lol most want big enough I just want a house that I can use the bathroom in .But they will not even consider letting me bid .

Yes there will be the question of a long time in the future theres a risk I will have to move/downsize If I ever get one ,but am happy to do that as long as is adapted prio to move

TheHumanCatapult · 29/05/2011 10:58

and yes thats what happned here infact council in areas by me ahve no 4 beds at all and in whole county of East Herts theres something like 25 4 beds left .So my chances erm slightly less than zero

worraliberty · 29/05/2011 10:59

I definitely agree with these changes. I've been saying for years it's not fair that people are over housed once their children have left home.

If a couple have been lucky enough to raise their kids in say a 3 bed council home, it's time to move out and allow someone else to do the same with their young family.

Marjoriew · 29/05/2011 11:00

And the lady I swapped with bought my house and sold it for £450,000!

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