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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31/07/2009 10:00 am
Kass, I have to agree. We need to house these people in decent properties whilst they exist and educate future generations not to bang so many kids out in the first place. I would consider introducing a change to the benefits system to discourage such high levels of childbirth in future generations, but it is not an acceptable solution to punish current generations for a situation we, the policy makers and housing providers, have created.
The only other comment I would make is that my belief is that Right to Buy has been a major contributor to this, with many families who do not qualify for social housing being forced to look at the lower end of the market (private rental in ex-council stock) and squeezing as many people in as possible. Because these properties aren't managed, this is never dealt with. I also think this has caused the perception that immigrants move to the top of the housing list; the homes they are in are not council homes, they are market rent homes on council estates.
31/07/2009 10:18 am
In line with Sanchos comments, could compulsory purchase of all sub-let leasehold and freehold ex-council properties be a solution? it would increase the number of available properties....
31/07/2009 10:47 am
james yurky Fri, 31 Jul 2009 10:18 GMT....
YES, that would help, no doubt.
31/07/2009 11:25 am
In the current market, I suspect most owners of buy to let properties on council (or HA) estates would be happy to sell them back at market value to get out of their mortgages. The issues is that the HCA won't fund 'purchase and repair' programmes anymore as they are, somewhat stupidly, focused on doing shiny new builds, not helping the people that already live in inadequate homes.
01/08/2009 1:14 am
In terms of RTB, as I have said in earlier posts, the absentee RTB landlord who rents their property back to the council for temporary accomodation for a tidy profit is truly a curse. The absentee RTB landlord is practically the enemy of the residential RTB owner occupier as the existence of these creatures essentially reverses the creation of mixed communities on housing estates. In order to kick start capital receipts to LAs, as part of a proposed re-invigorated RTB regime, featuring a return to the full 65% discounts of the 1980's, it would not be unreasonable to include a "no sub-let" clause in all future RTB leases so that these properties remain residential owner occupied in perpetuity. Clearly this could not work with houses where the freehold is sold, but it could very well with urban housing estate sales that are all leasehold in tenure.
03/08/2009 10:27 am
This must be my agreeing thread. ILAG, I agree. If there was no sub-letting allowed and this was actually policed, I would ahve much less of a problem with RTB.
03/08/2009 11:06 am
SO in a social housing market of chronic undersupply we see a proposal to return to RTB massive discounts!!
Sancho your tiliting at windmills agreeing with anything like that!
Just a thought - if all RTBs were taken back in social housing at the cost they were sold would we have a problem with undersupply or overcrowding. Sorry thats not a thought it a very valid point!!
But hey we know that isnt going to happen. Yet what continues to happen on this site and in government policy, is knee-jerk policy being decided based on what is happening in London and London alone.
Yes there are pockets of illegal sub-letting there that are high, im not denying this, but to steer national policy based on this is lunacy.
But this is characteristic of housing policy for the last few decades - incremental knee-jerk reactionary policy steers made not for the good of social housing, but only for the good of political votes.
03/08/2009 11:51 am
Until there is a RTB social housing will never be safe. Any other way of looking at it it seems to me just ignorance or an excuse to justify RTB. By allowing RTB, the clever will make a profit out of it and the simpletons or reckless will lose their homes...
03/08/2009 11:54 am
Yes, a full 65% discount is too much but a discount of, say, 30% would only mirror various low cost home ownership schemes and keep communities together.
I think buying back all the old RTBs was already my thought, so you're preaching to the converted there. I just think what we need to do is fix the mistake that was made before (allowing subletting) by buying them all back, then allow it again along the same lines as open market homebuy.
Interestingly Joe, you say that we are discussing things based on London alone, but also claim that there is a 'chronic undersupply' in housing. My understanding was that much of the midlands and north west had high void rates...
To be honest, I couldn't care less about national policy. It's all nonsense. However, I have seen estates with very high levels of RTB and very high levels of renting (I'm talking about completely legitimate renting of RTB properties here), where the vast majority of overcrowding, ASB and general wellbeing issues are from these properties, not the Council owned ones.
The policy can say what it likes, but there are people in our country who are in a living hell and it was created largely by RTB owners being allowed to let their properties.
03/08/2009 1:25 pm
And staying with the theme of rights and responsibilities, if we're going to be responsible for managing neighbourhoods instead of just individual tenancies then we should have the right to some say about who lives in those neighbourhoods. Which a 'first refusal' on any RTB being put up for sale would go some way to contributing.