Posted by: Carl Brown25/05/2012
Pay to stay proposals were in the limelight again this week.
Under the plans, social housing tenants earning over a certain threshold (mooted to be £60,000) a year, will have to pay market rents if they want to stay in their social home.
This is another example, along with the £26,000 benefit cap, of a populist coalition government policy. The principle that it is not fair for high-earning tenants to pay a social rent, while low earners pay high rents in the private rented sector, is difficult to argue with. The debate is likely to focus on what a reasonable threshold is.
Regardless of the rights and wrongs of the policy there are signs this week that housing figures are beginning to think about the potential practical implications.
It is unclear how the scheme would be administered. Would HM Revenue & Customs take the equivalent rental difference off the tenant in tax? Or would it be left to social landlords to monitor who has crossed the threshold?
It is also unclear what happens if a household earns more than the threshold, starts paying market rent, and then for whatever reason has a fall in income so they are below the threshold again. Will their rent be reduced back down to social?
The proposals, first announced last year, throw up more questions than answers, but landlords, who are already facing extra administration and bureaucracy in dealing with the ‘bedroom tax’, cannot be blamed for asking questions.
From Housing matters
Carl Brown looks at regulation, training, board members, pay and a host of other issues that impact the day to day running of social landlords