What is the rationale of increasing the RTB discount in face of a desperate shortage of affordable housing? Is it not the inevitable outcome that there will be even less social housing available?
The level of discount suggests that replacing it would be costly and, therefore makes no sense.
The history of RTB demonstrated various problems it caused such as disposing of social housing at a discount from public money to people who are well off and can afford it; many RTB tenants sold off their properties at a huge profit; many vulnerable tenants lost their homes buy being bullied into exercising the RTB by semi-fraudulent companies who funded it and got rid of the tenant for relatively little money. The main issue is still that selling off social housing at a price that makes it virtually impossible to replace it, is a very bad idea.
Comment on: Home swap service to tackle welfare reform
Whilst creating a scheme involving a number of housing providers each contributing to the funding of the scheme is a good idea; I cannot understand how this is going to resolve the problems that the reforms will introduce. It is till easy for a normal under occupying social tenant to downsize to avoid the bedroom tax (if relevant) as most providers are more than happy to assist and even pay for this (for obvious reasons).
It would help, thought if such help could be given to tenants willing to move from their locality as well as help for people needing to move due to other reasons (although with limited resources, I assume there will always be a pressure to assist those who are in acceptable need or those willing to give up properties in need (large family homes, accessible homes). However, I am not clear how this is going to work with the current varied types of tenancies and the changes to exchanges. In other words, the fact that social tenancies now range from tenancies for life at low rent to fixed term tenancies at 80% market tents, is going to make it all very complicated and difficult.
Finally, what is the bottom line of this? Not only that home ownership and private renting in London is becoming unaffordable, the reforms are going to make social tenancies in London unaffordable. In summary the solution to the problem of not having enough affordable home in London (I am not clear about the situation in other parts of the country) is to make social housing, the one form of affordable housing, similarly unaffordable. In other words, social landlords offering short term tenancies at almost marker rent, may find themselves as 'social' as any private landlord.
Comment on: People 'should work more' to pay bedroom tax
The minister, it seems, has a solution to the hardship the bedroom tax is going to cause families on HB, including working families. All they need to do is increase their income from work? Mr Webb does not seem to realize how difficult the situation of working people who are eligible for partial HB is. People in this situation are very low paid if they need HB help to pay social rent and earning more is not really an option
On one hand we hear that there are not enough social housing to meet the need and therefore the Localism Act intorduced short term tenancies This is going to introduce huge level of instability for many families and in effect abolish the concept of social housing in that if a social provider offeres tenancies for a short term and/or at nearly marker rent, they are no longer providers of social housing.
At the same time, the discounts for right to buy and now insane proposal to extend it to all social tenants are incompatible with admitting the shortage of social housing. The original right to buy is the main reason for the current lack of social housing; any attempt to extend it has nothing to do with fairness and everything to do with getting rid of social housing.
Comment on: Landlords split over power to set higher rents
With many RSLs already offering tenancies for up to 80% market rent and Local Authorities about to implement the Localism Act, which would allow them to do so, I wonder what is the 'market rent' used for the calculation?
If the market rent used is the one in the private sector for ASTs, which are normally fully furnished, painted and capeted with the landlords having full intenral decoration responsibilities, it may not be the correct comparable!
In other words, charging 80% of the rent charged for such proeprties for a social tenancy in normal state of social tenancies (i.e. bare, unpainted, no flooring, tenants has responsibility for internal decoration, unfurnished and no applicances provided) may be overcharging. My point is not only that it is likely to be expensive and unaffordable in London in any case but also bad value for money in objective terms. My suspecion is that a rent officer would find such rent too high; I am not clear whehter the rent office, however, could get involved, assuming the affordable rent would be set by the tenancy agreement. Any one can help?
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