But arguably nothing has polarised opinion like the idea of scrapping security of tenure. When the Chartered Institute of Housing raised the prospect a few weeks ago, it provoked a barrage of criticism. So much so that housing minister Margaret Beckett quickly moved to quash suggestions that the government was interested in the idea.
But those who were hoping that was the end of the matter will have to think again. Labour might not want to push through such a controversial shift in tenants’ rights, but the Tories could well be more keen.
And, as this week’s report from Iain Duncan Smith’s Centre for Social Justice demonstrates, that might not be the only radical item on an incoming Conservative government’s agenda.
Equity stakes for tenants who look for work, an end to the duty to rehouse all those who present as homeless and pressure on landlords to sell off their most valuable stock are among the ideas touted by the former Tory leader’s think tank.
Under a David Cameron government, then, housing providers could become social enterprises, offering support to those who need it, leaving others to manage their own homes on their route towards homeownership.
So is this brave new world where everyone is enabled to realise their dream of homeownership really within reach? The report’s analysis of the problems of social exclusion on our estates and the lack of affordable housing is certainly compelling. But it somehow assumes that it is social housing itself which is responsible, rather than the chronic under-investment by governments over decades.
The shortage of social housing means families are waiting for years for the chance to be housed. For them, the aspiration is surely not homeownership, but just a decent affordable home .
Providing enough homes to meet this need must be the priority of this government and the next. Divisive arguments about tenure should not divert us from this goal.