Working or HB tenants
07/02/2011 5:12 pm
Once again I am risking asking for trouble.
Can all or any landlords, whether private or social, discriminate against non-working tenants solely on the grounds they are not working and does the same apply to those on full/part Housing Benefit?
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07/02/2011 5:28 pm
Anon, it has been said to me in the past and more recently that some registered providers will only let certain general needs properties to working people, so I thought I'd ask the question.
It is alleged that such 'discriminatory' action would serve to ensure a better class of tenant is some areas.
07/02/2011 6:38 pm
I think I see what you're saying but what if they can't afford the property should there be different levels of rent appropriate to different quality of homes or would that lead to ghettoes and stigmatising?
Perhaps charitable organisations (such as many housing associations) should concentrate on providing homes for those who cannot afford them in the private markets -- or would that ghettoise and/or stigmatise?
Genuine questions -- not having a dig as that isn't my way (unless you are a government minister or shadow minister of course).
07/02/2011 7:12 pm
I'm not having a dig as a lot of people on these forums think but genuinely trying to debate possible solutions and fairness.
Just a thought but would stigmatising be that bad a thing? Would it work as an incentive to free up that subsidised home for someone more in need?
The afford matter, if a private tenant wants to move do they not have that choice at the point of viewing if they can afford the property or not?
Its a difficult subject without an easy answer but rather than lots of people quoting human rights etc. it needs to be spoke freely about with possible radical solutions.
07/02/2011 7:23 pm
I have always lived in rented accommodation and can honestly say that neighbouring with fellow renters has almost been a 100% positive experience so I could happilly support there being neighbourhoods where there are concentrated areas of rented social housing.
I would have thought that as peoples' circumstances change for the better that they would move onwards and upwards by buying their own affordable properties thus releasing much needed properties to rent.
I agree Anon (M -- just figured the reason for the presence of the "M") there needs to be a debate/discussion about it as it's full of complications and someone somewhere might come up with some golden nugget(s).
I'm glad we're not of the "having a dig" variety but no doubt they'll br around somewhere, Good to hear from you.
08/02/2011 12:01 pm
Social housing landlords do not, in my experience, discriminate between working or non-working applicants.
08/02/2011 12:17 pm
I wouldn't describe it as discrimination as such (it probably was) but as a Housing Manager whenever a "nice" property, either new, or well maintained in a decent area came up I always tried to use our transfer list to fill those properties, as I would have known the residents and would be happy that the property is not going to be trashed or some "neighbours from hell" moved in as you can never be sure what the general list would throw up. Also I thought it right to "reward" good tenants who have done the right thing by us for many years.
There was nothing more demoralising than seeing a nice property wrecked, or people gladly seizing upon the stereotype that all social tenants are feral yobs. Nowadays with CBL, that discretion is removed from the RSL staff, but not all areas operate CBL so there is still the opportunity for staff to manage lettings in this way.
08/02/2011 3:00 pm
RSLs discriminate consistently against persons requiring benefit to support their incomes. As so much of their 'affordable housing' is shared ownership and other ownership options they require a minimum income to qualify. They also operate 'lettings plans' to ensure that regardless of need there is a demographic balance achieved in communities.
Private landlords can legally discriminate at will, banning whole groups of society and income levels with little or no ground for legal challenge, unless it can be proved to fall under the Equalities Act definition of discrimination (which with the cuts to the EHRC, Legal Aid, Advice Centres, and minority group charities will, as a legal right, be harder and harder to access thanks to the dictatorial centralist regime posing as a government of this country)
09/02/2011 11:32 am
PSR - You state "RSLs discriminate consistently against persons requiring benefit to support their incomes. As so much of their 'affordable housing' is shared ownership and other ownership options they require a minimum income to qualify."
Do you have proof of this PSR or are you just guessing again? I would suggest that you check the numbers on the TSA web-site as you will find that a majority of the RSL's have higher stock levels of social rent.
09/02/2011 11:59 am
Nonnie - don't try to teach me to suck eggs.
Simply look at the development outputs and you will see that the greater proportion of what is being delivered is for ownership options, and this has been the case for some time. The reasoning behind this is simple, it is the only way to make the developments 'stack up' to quote a Director of Development. The grant funding to number of units target has only been able to be balanced by increasing the for ownership portion.
The historic pool of rented accomodation does support your conjecture, however you are putting this data forward in a manner that is not relavent to the argument.
Now - if you can prove that the development stream over the past, say five-years, has not been made up of a greater proportion of ownership to affordable rent products then I will bow to your argument - but as I know the facts concerned I will not need to worry about my lumbago.
09/02/2011 12:47 pm
Rick, it has never been my experience that RPs discriminate against applicants on the basis of their working status after all, the 65+ age group is the fastest growing section of society. The use of CBL in most authorities now also puts an end to the kind of unfair discrimination described Harry Lime. This was once rife and is thankfully largely disappeared.
There are however a number of different products available which try to address the different needs of both applicants and communities. That's to say that we've moved on from a one size fits all approach.
The heart and soul of any RP will be it's general needs social rented stock. These properties will be let to anyone in housing need regardless of their employment status. Its now common place that financial assessments are carried out as part of the pre-tenancy work to ensure that where financial assistance is needed it is offered. Ensuring that tenants are able to sustain their tenancy is in everyone’s interest.
In poorer high density housing areas in many of our towns and cities we are trying to unpick the problems of the past which have led to concentrations of worklessness. Economic stagnation has many damaging effects on an area such as losing shops and services as well as increases in crime. When supported by a regeneration programme the HCA sometimes grants waivers to enable RPs and LAs to apply a local lettings policy to some refurbished or new properties that might only allow people who are economically active to apply. The intention is that this will stimulate local economic growth by increasing the amount disposable income in the area.
Other types of low cost home ownership (LCHO) models are also used alongside social rent to encourage a mixed community by broadening the housing offer. However, describing this as discrimination would seem strange as this is just another form of tenure that increases the option for people looking to move to an area. LCHO provides opportunities for a whole range of households on mixed incomes.
09/02/2011 12:49 pm
Does providing affordable home ownership products really constitute disrimination against people on benefits PSR?
If it does i might take Audi to the European Court of Human Rights. I want an A5 but i don't have enough money. This kind of discrimination has gone on for too long!!!
09/02/2011 12:55 pm
PSR, you are wrong. I can't be bothered to get all the statistics but, as an example, the HCA funded just under 26,000 homes for rent in London in the 2008/11 programme and just under 17,000 for low cost home ownership. Figures for the North West are 8,700 and 4,800, for the West Midlands are 7,800 and 4,800 etc etc.
09/02/2011 12:58 pm
PSR - I think that you've confused (or I have) the original question. I'd assumed that the question was linked to the lettings process not the development programme.
Whilst things are currently in flux as the new regime is agreed, prior development programmes were dictated by each LA (priorities) and the the HCA (funding) and related directly to the individual housing requirements of each Authority.
RPs were provided funding based on their ability to achieve the strategic requirements of the LA.
PSR - Your posts are filled with vitriol and very rarely offer any constructive input. For some reason my mind conjures the image of a dog foaming at the mouth as I read you comments.
An open discussion of the issues and the inpact of current solutions would be more constructive than throwing around accusations and ill-gotten judgements.
09/02/2011 1:14 pm
Perhaps you do need that egg sucking lesson after all PSR?
Take the egg in your right hand..................
09/02/2011 1:37 pm
Private sector landlords regularly discriminate. I had a job interview yesterday with a private sector lettings agent that were quite open about 'not dealing with dss'. They will only let to tenants able to provide at least two references. This was a large, national independant chain. I know that some provate landlords have a preference for working tenants as I have heard (rightly or wrongly) that HB depts will come after the landlord if there is for example an overpayment of HB because they tenant has not informed of a change of circs. I don't know if this is actually true.
09/02/2011 2:17 pm
PSR You stated "Now - if you can prove that the development stream over the past, say five-years, has not been made up of a greater proportion of ownership to affordable rent products then I will bow to your argument"
Please get ready to bow down, the no. of housing starts between the 1st April 2009 - 31 March 2010 for England was 35,682 (Social Rent) and 8,515 (Low Cost Home Ownership). Please note that the Low Cost Home Ownership total also includes Homebuy Direct which are not technically Shared Ownership dwellings!
If you would like the other 4 years please let me know and I will dig them out for you?
09/02/2011 2:26 pm
I think that it's brilliant that so many contributions have been forthcoming -- as normal, there has been a divergence from the main intended thrust of thread.
These divergences are what makes the threads interesting and I, for one, enjoy those sort of exchanges so long as they do not turn into personal attacks.
I wonder if I will get answers to my original question if I alter it slightly --
CAN a housing association using Choice Based Lettings rlegally efuse to let a general needs property (flat) to 'applicants' on ther grounds that they are not in full time work?