Monday, 02 March 2015

Spending review is 'assault' on tenants

Campaigners have accused the government of launching an assault on tenants’ rights in its comprehensive spending review.

Pressure group Defend Council Housing said plans to end security of tenure and increase rents will have a ‘devastating impact on council tenants’.

The spending review contained a series of changes to social housing, including increasing rents to 80 per cent of local housing allowance levels, introducing fixed-term tenancies for new tenants, and cutting the budget for building affordable homes from £8.4 billion to £4.5 billion.

DCH said the government had ‘spread confusion’ by not clarifying whether fixed-term tenancies would be issued by housing association or council landlords. It said it has now been told both will issue the new tenancies, but only housing associations will set their rents at the 80 per cent level.

It accused David Cameron of breaking his pre-election promise to ‘respect social tenants’ rights’, a phrase the prime minister used in an interview with Inside Housing in April.

Last week housing minister Grant Shapps denied the Conservative Party had broken its word.

‘We said we would respect the security of tenure of social tenants… nothing has changed,’ he said. ‘It can’t make sense to then say “right, we will never, ever change the way that we do social housing in this country forever”.’

Readers' comments (18)

  • David Cameron and Nick (Tory wanabee) have both broken pre-election promises to ‘respect social tenants’ rights’ and not make big changes to housing service delivery.
    The failure of the Welsh Assembly to increase its housing powers is an indication of a cold wind coming to Wales.
    Sea side town tax payers will be worried as their services will be drained of resources trying to cope with the infux of people housed from outside London.
    This morning Breakfast news 27.10.2010 increasing numbers of Tories are now getting worried about the extent of housing benefit cuts? Why are the National Tenant and Welfare rights Organisations so quiet?

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  • Neither party broke the promise to ‘respect social tenants’.

    Though I do suppose it depends on your interpretation.

    Social tenants are sitting pretty with free repairs and upgraded kitchens/bathrooms at taxpayers expense.

    Any change in their tenancy will be a small cross to bear.


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  • My understanding (which could be wrong) is that tenants already in social housing will not be affected. What will change, is that future social tenants will pay more rent, but have less security of tenure than their predeccessors. Whether, in anyones view, this is morally right or wrong, it cannot be denied that the system is broken- not enough homes, far to many applicants and significant over and under occupation.

    What beats me is why the governemtn is tackling the social sector with such brutaility but not tacking slum landlords in the private sector and bringing som/ any legislation to make them more accountable then they are. Doing so would help rebalance the problem and mean fewer people would be desperate for a social home.

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  • It is hardly 'brutal' to existing tenants is it?.

    I think they should extend the legislation to cover existing tenants as well. Only fair really.

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  • Anon, I really don't think you have thought this through regarding extending it to existing tenants, of which I am one. I worked for 40 years, all in retail, always paid below national average, not married and could never afford to buy. Now retired due to ill health on small pension, incapacity benefit and lower rate Disability allowance. I PAY TAX! I pay rent and do not get HB, nor would I expect to, as I can afford the rent. If the rent went up to £200 per week for my very small 1 bed flat, which it would do, as I have been informed market rate is £250,I would have to have a % of HB to cover the difference between the rent and what I can afford. Therefore, costing other taxpayers more than I do now. How is that saving the country money?

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  • JeanH | 27/10/2010 10:18 am

    Good Points and some posters suggest that if existing tenants wishes to move via transfer, mutual exchange then they too become embroiled in the now 2 tier tenant type system and have to pay increased rent, therefore their move to smaller or larger property finished.

    BTW, which Anon are you replying to? - so many to choose from.

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  • "Why are the National Tenant and Welfare rights Organisations so quiet?

    Unfrotunately, there is not a tenant national body elected democratically by tenant for tenants. Those in power have made sure of this. That's why those in power, governements and social landlords, get away with abusing tenants like this. And and they will go on to do even worse.

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  • Hi Kass

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  • I wouldn't start slagging off slum landlords. They are going to be an essential part of meeting the housing need when all of the benefit dependant tenants are shipped out to our seaside towns. Stick of rock anyone?

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  • Watt Watt. I'm responding to the Anon above my comment. He suggests extending new rules to existing tenants.
    I also think that people think all housing association tenants are not working. On my estate, many tenants work, but in low paid jobs like me. But many more are retired people who, again like me, have lived here all their lives. we have 1 lady who is over 100. tell her she has to pay £200 per week, and poor old soul won't see 101!

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