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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03/08/2009 5:21 pm
Actually, Joe, the figures for London and the North West are almost exactly the same, but I'm not going to labour the point as I seem to have diverted myself into an argument I'm not actually interested in.
On the RTB point, I was making the assumption that it's here to stay. With the seemingly inevitable change in government, I very much doubt the policy is going to go away and was suggesting that the insertion of a no sub-let clause would make the best of it.
I do support people being allowed to buy the home they live in and, as I said before, I think a 30% discount would be the equivalent of something like open market homebuy and would keep existing communities together. The remaining 70% from the disposal would go straight into the HRA account (or DPF, if an HA) and could be re-invested as the SHG element for new build. Everyone wins (and we get rid of the HCA....)
04/08/2009 9:57 am
Sanch o - yes the figures are almost the same and I dont want to labour the point either. All I will say is that if the voids are all in the North as the 'myth' goes, then if identical they're all in London too.
To return to your point I disagree with RTB and anything that reduces social housing levels just exacrebates the chronic undersupply. To me that seems very logical. My point that councils have powers to bring empty properties back online even those of PSLs and the number of these there are, all suggest that doing so helps undersupply, overcrowding and a host of other matters all brought about by RTB
im not into naming and shaming but it is quite ridiculous to have increasing waiting lists, overcrowding and other matters when there ars so many privately owned empty properties.
06/08/2009 0:34 am
Sancho: On the RTB point, I was making the assumption that it's here to stay. With the seemingly inevitable change in government, I very much doubt the policy is going to go away
JH: I disagree with RTB and anything that reduces social housing levels
Anyone else here see the difference?
I hardly think spouting extreme left wing ideology about the "evils" of RTB when it is most clearly here to stay (and a very good idea without which I and many others would not have a home) actually contributes anything at all to the wider debate.
How are those soap box weekends in Hyde Park going Joe? Keeping the hammer and sickle flying are we?
06/08/2009 8:26 am
So saying or 'spouting' that RTB reduces social housing levels is an extreme view apparently.
Welcome to ILAGs world - stating a fact - sorry - stating the obvious and irrefutable fact that RTB has reduced social housing availability is somehow a crime. Despotic.
And without RTB you wouldnt have a home? Why does it disappear into the ether after RTB then?
"Anyone else see the difference?" - Only stark staring difference i see is RTBers invoke their personal selfish choice to buy then moan like hell about the community around them? There is no such thing as community - well u clearly sowed what you reaped.
And to keep this on point, RTB took away the larger properties that both ease overcrowding and create community. See the difference - no see the obvious!
06/08/2009 9:11 am
Spot on Joe
Yes, obviously those with the income to allow the purchase of the family size homes can exercise their Right To Breed in the warped world of ILAG. The rest of the populace can rent the single rooms that ILAG's cronies rent out at excessive rates. Of course, those who 'choose' to live in sub-standard and cramped housing will never be permitted the Right To Breed.
If ILAG is so righteous and clever, why did he not have the wit to buy a freehold, and then have less to moan about his terrible misfortune through suffering being near social tenants.
By the way, I'm proud of my sandals!
06/08/2009 9:24 am
at work, so no time to anything approaching adequate research sadly.
We have very few voids in our NW RSL, and the ones we do have are at or above DH standard. Nothing's hard to let in social housing, not while we have the desperate to fall back on, but when a place does prove stubborn to shift it's absolutely 100% the area that's the problem and not the property. Location location etc.
ASB is a defining issue for a lot of people when deciding whether an area is desirable or not and the tenants of buy to let right to buy landlords can be a particular source of ASB simply because you've not got even the admittedly superficial vetting that a more professional landlord would carry out, and you have got that extra layer of obfuscation to cut through to get anything done. We're also, in these cash-strapped times, seeing a big upswing in people wanting to get out of private landlords because of disrepair issues, which does nothing to moralise the private landlord's tenants, who are, after all, the RSL tenant's neighbours.
Joe, picking up your earlier point, yes concentrating on houses and leaving neighbourhood management to other agencies would be lovely and a much more sensible use of our time and resources. I don't recall having the choice.
10/08/2009 11:54 pm
CW: "The rest of the populace can rent the single rooms that ILAG's cronies rent out at excessive rates"
I have already voiced my disapproval of absentee RTB leaseholders and how this curse can be avoided by no-sublet clauses in leases. Which are perfectly legal. You have just chosen to ignore the point as it is not convenient to your argument.
CW: "If ILAG is so righteous and clever, why did he
not have the wit to buy a freehold"
Because if you knew anything about property, anything at all, you would know that only houses are freehold and flats are leasehold. Houses in prime Central London go for over £1m. Leasehold flats are the only even vaguely affordable option for working folk. Let's face it. They ain't gonna get a social tenancy now are they? Far too responsible for that...
11/08/2009 9:44 am
At last ILAG, you've seen the light and admitted that their is a shortage of affordable homes such that people on normal incomes, including yourself, have to opt for what housing is available, rather than choose.
It is this lack of real choices that I have been trying to get you to understand, as it also applies to those living in overcrowded conditions. Their plight, like yours, has not been caused by their free choice. Like you, they have had to obtain what ever housing option was open to them.
To tirade against sections of the community simply because they have as little or less choice than you is playing into the hands of the social shapers who robbed you of that choice in the first place. In that I refer to the policy formers from the 1960's through to the current day. The last time that there was real choices for people about how they wished to be housed was before the brick shortage at the end of the 50's. Since then, and the failed concrete experiments of the 60's, affordable housing supply has reduced to the current day when, as you state, the only way to get a reasonable family house is to buy one, and a family flat is to lease one. Otherwise you need to be able to afford the private market rents.
Right to Buy is the biggest single factor in moving affordable quality housing into market rentable housing and owner occupation, effectively removing it from access by the families living in overcrowded conditions, and from households like your own. Transferring housing from a social need to a commodity has removed choice and caused real hardship for those wishing to rent, and leaseholders alike. Only a fundemental re-think about the supply of affordable housing (where affordable relates to the portion of the minimum wage required to afford it) will ease the position.
If you look up historic statistics you will discover that when affordable housing was truly affordable, and available, there was a much lower benefit dependency than now. The current system takes huge portions of our tax payments and hands them to private landlords and institutions, laundering the money through low paid tenants. This tax expenditure, as with most of the benefits paid out, only truly benefits the relative few, and the financial sector.
Don't fall for the traps laid for you by those who created this situation, by attacking those with less choice than you, or those with the same choices as you. If you can rise above this and start demanding choice for all, you will see your own condition improve. You don't have to be a socialist to have the right ideas.
17/08/2009 11:37 pm
CW: "Right to Buy is the biggest single factor in moving affordable quality housing into market rentable housing and owner occupation, effectively removing it from access by the families living in overcrowded conditions, and from households like your own"
"from households like your own"?
How do you you know what my household is like?
I have not bred a massive family that I patently cannot afford to feed and house and I do not expect to pay for those that choose to do so of their free will. Neither do the vast majority of other taxpayers in this country. I and other working folk stand absolutely no chance of getting a social tenancy due to the poisonous sponger's charter of "needs" based allocation. RTB has freed up REAL affordable housing (ie housing to buy on the free market) in areas of central London where extreme left wing looney councils had municipalised the housing stock. Where I live, 70% of the housing is council owned. Against a national average of 12%. Do you really think that is either desirable or sustainable? No, don't answer that question, I know what you think already. The State must own everything. Just like in the Soviet Union...
Private flats in much of central London are so expensive simply because the supply has been articifically restricted by councils owning so many of them and allocating those (under the current perverse system) to the unemployable. Working folk living in central London have no chance of getting a social tenancy near where they work and so are left with a severely restricted private market due to massive council/RSL ownership of the available housing. A solution to this problem would clearly be in the privatisation of social housing via designated sales in order to bring the % of social housing down closer to national levels along with a blanket ban on allocating further social housing to benefit claiming tenants. Previously crime ridden areas would be transformed as simply better people would be housed there; people who would take some pride in their housing and their environment because they would actually be paying for it.
Only a radical Hammersmith & Fulham type solution (well done Stephen Greenhalgh), along with the scrapping of "needs" based allocation, can solve London's overpriced housing market and make council estates liveable again.
18/08/2009 10:15 am
"Against a national average of 12%. Do you really think that is either desirable or sustainable? No, don't answer that question, I know what you think already. The State must own everything. Just like in the Soviet Union..."
That's called crafty conflation you know - the Nazis had trousers, the Nazis were evil therefore trousers are evil. Clearly large estates are sustainable, they've existed for decades and they're existing now. The sustainability of large estates is rather the point of this website.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but your solution to the underprovision of social housing is to sell off what little's left? How's that work then? By driving out the poor people?
So we can improve social housing in London (for your ideas and ambitions are clearly entirely London-centric) by gentrifying it out of existence and shipping all the poor folk off somewhere far away and unspecified. You're not Dame Shirley Porter are you?