House of lords to make a decision on overcrowding
29/07/2008 12:45 pm
this case could have huge implications for social housing providers, if it becomes illegal for HA's and LAs to leave tenants in overcrowded homes, they will be open to huge losses in legal costs as tenants may sue. There is also the issue of where do they put overcrowded households as there aren't enough larger units to go around.
RTB decimated the larger units amongst council properties - particularly in london, they were then most attractive properties to exercise rtb.
so if the lords do declare it illegal to overcrowd properties, what do social housing providers do?
build more larger homes is the obvious answer, but funding is tight with the credit crunch, does the government increase funding to build more homes? Would brown be willing to increase public spending when his position is in doubt, if he leaves, would his successor do so? Would cameron do so if he gets in?
buy larger properties? again funding is the issue - lenders are becoming increasingly reluctant to lend to housing associations.
Encourage people to move out if they are under occupying - this already happens but the take up is not too impressive as far as i can tell, and you can't force people to move to smaller homes without changing tenancy agreements - so legislation would be needed.
Overcrowding is a major issue in social housing, it also raises other issues - imagine the bnp stirring up race hatred with larger ethnic families are suddenly given large new homes, as larger families tend to be from ethnic families.
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18/08/2009 10:34 am
Well done ILAG - be responsibly not breeding you have done the world the greatest service.
Would it surprise you to learn that the greatest volume of empty property in London is 2-bed flats for private sale. These would be great for all of the responsible non-breeders to move into. They are in select areas, far away from the dispicable poor, and so obviously effected by low crime as well.
If only such utopian conditions could be spread further.
However, such a utopia would be undermined by the removal of choice. When choice is removed from one sector of community it effects us all.
Also, the fundemental truth about benefit spongers remains unchallenged. Large Housing Benefit payments are claimed because of the inflated private rents charged. People do not chose to pay these rents, they just want somewhere to live. Who receives these benefit payments - the landlords - but these wonderful enterprising folk are never castigated.
18/08/2009 10:39 am
And the largest recorded HB payout - large enough to cause a national scandal - was paid by a Conservative council to a private landlord. And Labour got the blame. Remarkable.
18/08/2009 4:19 pm
ILAG you made a comment along the lines of you havent bred a big family you know you cant afford and wouldnt expect someone else to pay for. Im not a tenant along with 80% of the population but my taxes go to pay for the 20% that do rent through the public subsidy all social tenants receive. I dont complain about that and i dont hear the 80% of the population moan about that either.
I do however moan or bemoan that over a million social houses have been taken out of the public system. The RTB has forced a million people into the private rented sector to have less rights and pay on average twice the rental - much of which comes from the public purse.
So C Webb is not quite correct to say people dont choose these high cost properties, they are in fact forced into them because those tenants that have enjoyed public subsidies for years chose to profiteer through the RTB and denied and limited choice to those that came after. And the good old taxpayer has to pick up more of a bill because of their greed.
I restate, to keep this on the topic that the other consequence of RTB is overcrowding as RTB has and did remove most of the larger properties that are so needed. RTB is the primary underlying cause of the ills of social housing, from increased subsidies to overcrowding to reducing tenant rights to making often very vulnerable people pay more and so increase and perpetuate the dependency on social housing and benefits.
That is not a party political point it is a direct causation from the spin of the early 80s when Thatchers governments promoted the RTB. It is not even a monetarist economic view or a keynesian one, but a standard one of supply and demand.
The issues of 'sponging' et al are mere side issues comapred with the devastation RTB is to the public purse and to wider social policy issues - I avoided mentioning 'society' - The issues of Malthusian theory are also side issues to social housing and overcrowding in that context as well.
And we now have HoL awaited decision on overcrowding. Yes the current guidelines are archaic but i dont expect them to change. There is a raft or public case law that says councils can escape their public duties the law holds over them if they dont have the money. Hence for the HoL to rule they should be more decent and more in line with current expectations would be largely a pyrrhic one as it wouldnt alter the overcrowding issue due to ... youve guessed it - a lack of supply created by RTB.
So until RTB sales are halted and this heinous 'right' is removed from statute overcrowding will get worse in social housing. The same social housing overseers will of course demand that private landlords adhere to higher space standards and any guidelines issued while they themselves will deliver less than these.
That is duplicititous but inevitable
19/08/2009 9:23 am
I concur with you Joe.
I went for the softer tack of the choice argument to avoid the lunatic fringe argument that if poor people wished to be socially responsible and not spend ILAG's hard earned taxes they could choose to be homeless.
Don't forget this is someone who promotes Malthus, he who wanted to see the poor put to a slow lingering death so that he and his friends did not have the burden of feeding them.
RTB was conceived as a mechanism of allowing profiteering in the private housing sector, to remove the security of the working class by making them fear losing their homes if the protested about the decimation of employment rights, and to reduce the power of local government. But most of all it was a mechanism to pay back the debt built up from providing mass affordable housing. This would be as absurd as selling your car at a discount to pay back some of the loan you had to purchase it. End result, you still have some debt but you have lost the amenity, plus you now have to pay for alternative transport.
In housing terms, we still have the debt, because the government spent the cash reducing higher rate income tax, we do not have sufficient supply of affordable homes, and we are paying private landlords through the nose whilst their tenants suffer overcrowding and the benefits trap.
Massive building to replace all of the lost homes would not be considered correct in these environmentally enlightened times. Therefore making the former local authority homes affordable is the only real option to remove the overcrowding levels we now have. Whether this is through the 'Stalinist' (sic ILAG) method of compulsory buy-back, or the fairest means of rent control within the private sector to make the homes affordable once more, I have no preference other than it must restore real choice and affordability to the masses, and reduce the claim on the public purse.
(I can not resist a PS. Having researched the acronym 'ILAG', I've discovered it was a term for a german concentraion camp housing civilians in the second world war. Why does this seem apt to the attitudes expressed!?)
12/01/2011 3:54 pm
Would a case of a 19 year old and a 15 year old sharing a bedroom be considered overcrowding?
11/02/2011 5:04 pm
No - Labour removed such definitions in favour of space. Space includes your living and dining areas, but excludes kitchen areas unless they include an area for eating.
However, a local authority should not let to such a condition, but may consider the 19-year old as a separate household pending qualification in their own right.
02/08/2012 8:28 pm
There is over crowding in Socail shelterd housing Hanover allows any type of dog to live inside their peroperties, so they let a one bedroom smal flat with two people occuping who have a large rottweiler dog as well, this is over crowding and unfair on the dog and other residents. No garden either.
its called a lack of commonsence