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To live in a council house?

173 replies

mrsruffallo · 19/06/2008 12:52

Many people who live in council houses got to work, raise their children well, and are quite normal.
A recent thread made me laugh about the misconceptions regarding council tenants. A poster actually described them as homes for the umemployable, or words to that effect.
I am in my thirties, a sahm, professional husband, no asbos, bright, healthy children.

Can I clear up any Daily Mail views for anyone?

OP posts:
LilRedWG · 19/06/2008 13:00

LOL - I hate this perception too.

I remember a colleague always complaining that he was going to get no-where because he lived with his mum on a council estate and that the world conspired against him.

I generally ignored him, but then a few months down the line I got fed up and simply said, "J, I grew up in a council house and lived there until the day I got married. It is not the place you live that forms you, it is you! Get a grip on your life and stop making excuses." I then put my head down and carried on working.

J must have looked a bit upset/confused because I heard my manager whisper, "She's only joking J, she didn't really." I immediately got up in arms and confirmed that I did and that I had no reason to be ashamed of that. My manager said that she had always imagined me growing up in a "big four bedroom house" (which I had - but there were nine of us in it).

BTW, my manager is from the other end of the spectrum and grew up in a lovely area, lovely house, private schools etc. and I was slightly annoyed that she would presume I was from the same, just because I'd worked hard and done well with my education/career/life. Grrrrrr!

mrsruffallo · 19/06/2008 13:02

Personally, I find it a shame that this misconception persists.
We're not all on the dole, crack addled whores after all

OP posts:
ScottishMummy · 19/06/2008 13:02

council house does not equte loser, fancy big house does not equate winner. a house is solely bricks and mortar Whether council or not. the quality/quantity of love and affirmation received is not related to size/ownership of one's houes. there are plenty rich fuckwits who grew up in a huge home and plenty decent clever people from council estate

didnt see the other thread, shame people are so snobby

Upwind · 19/06/2008 13:08

You were very lucky to get a council house given that you have a professional husband. In many parts of the UK that would put you to the bottom of a very long waiting list.

A friend of mine is literally homeless now and a single parent so ticking lots of boxes - she has been told that in this area she will be waiting a minimum of two years for social housing. She is under the impression that if she gives up her badly paid job she might move up the list.

Takver · 19/06/2008 13:08

YANBU at all of course. If only there were more council houses so less of this country had to choose between being stuck at the whim of a private landlord, or jumping on the mortgage/job/stress bike.
BTW I live in a housing co-op so I have the best of all worlds - don't have to put up with the council but no mortgage to pay

HermanMunster · 19/06/2008 13:09

just out of interest lilred where any of the stereotypes of council estates true for your area?
i ask out of a position of ignorance having never lived on one and always wondered how much of the crime/drugs/etc stereotyping is true and how much is scaremongering.

cheesesarnie · 19/06/2008 13:12

we have our name on the council housing list and i was shocked to hear a friend saying why should we get a house if im married and dh works!!!i ofcourse apologised for my situation

LilRedWG · 19/06/2008 13:15

The little road we lived in was lovely but there were others nearby that left a lot to be desired. Anywhere where there were flats seemed to be the worst somehow, not sure why. The trouble is I think a particular road gets a name for being trouble and everyone who lives there is tarred with the same brush and then it spreads to the whole area.

Oliveoil · 19/06/2008 13:15

some council estates are fine, some are crime ridden dumps

I personally wouldn't want to live on one now as they are a lot worse than years ago imo

chopchopbusybusy · 19/06/2008 13:16

YANBU at all. Until I discovered MN I wasn't really aware of all the misconceptions about council house tenants. I don't read the Daily Mail you see.

Many people on MN appear to firmly believe that council housing is free.

There should be more council housing available - it is needed.

waffletrees · 19/06/2008 13:16

YANBU - however, my mum is a housing officer and she would say that there is no way you would get offered a council house at the moment. There is a points system and it can be quite unfair at times.

Flashman · 19/06/2008 13:17

You mean it is safe to go in a council house? I won't get fleas???

ScotsLassDownSouth · 19/06/2008 13:17

This really annoys me, too. I was brought up in a council house on a nice estate and was very happy there. My Mum still lives there although she bought it a few years ago. (She didn't really want to, but I'm afraid it made economic sense . . .) Both my brother and I went to University and have very good professional jobs.

I have never really got on with my MIL since one of the first things she said to me was "why do people on council estates have garages? Why do WE have to pay for them out of our taxes?" I (very politely) explained that my parents rented a council garage at the market rate and they had never received a benefit in their lives. "Oh no", she said. "Everybody in council houses gets their rent paid by us (ie the tax payer). You won't be surprised to hear that MIL and I don't get on . .

WilyWombat · 19/06/2008 13:18

YANBU - plenty of people who hold down good jobs cannot afford to buy homes now, why wouldnt you accept a house if you are eligible.

I will say though that I live in a housing association road, the older tenants have beautful gardens and maintain the houses as though they own them but we have had problems with the younger people they have moved in though a fairly regular police presence and they let their gardens go to waste. Probably something to do with the local HAs policy to do with who is eligible as I don see how anyone affords a house here at the current prices.

I have a friend who is very aware of living in a HA home she says "I feel like people look down on me" im sure some DO but why would you CARE about what people that narrow minded think?

HermanMunster · 19/06/2008 13:19

yeah always imagined it was that kind of thing a kin to what happens to travellers in ireland getting banned from pubs etc. i mean if a settled person smashes up a pub he's barred as you couldn't bar all settled people but if a traveller smashed up a pub it is somehow inicative that all travellers are wrong 'uns so they're all barred.
so if a person from a council estate causes trouble it is somehow proof that all people in council houses are trouble makers.

wasabipeanut · 19/06/2008 13:21

I think that perception issues with council housing arise because of the very British obsession with housing. Margaret Thatcher has a lot to answer for - when she flogged off the social housing stock of this country she played her part in creating some incredibly negative perceptions of people who chose not to go down that route.

Both my parents came from council estates but in those days there was, so I'm told, a lot more pride taken in the housing and even thorugh many households were poor they were, more often than not, working. I remember staying in my grandparents council houses as a kid and I have to say that a walk through a council estate today is a very different experience.

Pride in social housing doesn't seem to be the norm now and I think, sadly, everyone gets tarred with the same brush.

LilRedWG · 19/06/2008 13:24

Yep Herman, you got it right. I used to worry what people thought of me and where I lived, but soon came to learn that, as WilyWombat says, why should I care what narrow minded people think.

My parents never took a penny in benefits out of pride and we could have used it. As a child I was grateful that I didn't get teased for having free dinners but as an adult I think that my parents should have accepted the help offered. It is a very tricky one!

mrsruffallo · 19/06/2008 13:30

I agree that there is a particularly unintelligent widely held assumption that council housing is free.
It is a shame that we feel it is almost a social stigma that we live in coucil houses.

OP posts:
sitdownpleasegeorge · 19/06/2008 13:33

Im curious.....

mrsruffallo, whilst I abhor the comment that council housing is homes for the unemployable, I am confused as to how your family qualified for a council property.

ScotsLassDownSouth, if there is no subsidy element to the rent paid by council tenants, why are the waiting lists so long when there are always private lets available.

I'm not a daily mail reader and I'd worried about offending someone if I asked any council tenant these questions in RL so please educate me.

lou031205 · 19/06/2008 13:33

I think the problem is that the stock of council housing is running every lower. I have a friend whose (now) husband is a bank manager. When they were allocated their council house, they were on a low income, and were prioritised, but now as a bank manager, he earns over £35000, yet still they live in a council house. My husband and I live on half of that.

Perhaps it is the fact that housing seems to be allocated on a set of circumstances, rather than ongoing assessment that is at fault. What is to stop someone temporarily depriving themselves to get up the points ladder, and then reverting to their usual circumstances once allocated?

WilyWombat · 19/06/2008 13:34

I think if the HAs were a little more zealous in ensuring that people who had houses maintained the exterior to an acceptable level and only allowed people who agreed to do this as tenants then everyone else would not be tarred with the same brush.

WilyWombat · 19/06/2008 13:37

I dont think even £35000 would get you a mortgage big enough here

Upwind · 19/06/2008 13:41
Janos · 19/06/2008 13:51

I agree wholeheartedly mrsruffalo, I remember that post.

I used to own but due to circumstance, I have ended up living in a council flat with my DS. It's not the best area in the world but its warm, quiet, comfortable and secure. My neighbours are mostly families young-ish families.

I work full time and don't get my rent paid for me.

Of course we don't have a lot of money but DS and I are very happy and healthy.

Janos · 19/06/2008 13:53

And I'm happy to explain how I got the flat, should anyone be interested .

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