Housing : Social Tenants / BTL & HB Problems / Shortages / Grenfell Tower Fallout

Discuss news stories and political issues that affect carers.
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Social housing ... more pressure on the Government :


https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/p ... 63151.html

Government accused of failing to act on housing crisis after delay to long-awaited social housing plans.

Theresa May has promised to make it her personal mission to fix housing crisis.

Ministers have been accused of “failing to act” on the housing crisis after missing their own deadline to publish blueprints for social housing and rough sleeping before the summer recess.

Billed as ”the most substantial report of its kind for a generation” by the then-housing secretary Sajid Javid, the long-awaited green paper on social housing was originally due to published in the spring.

The document was then promised by the summer but it has now been delayed for the second time. A separate plan to tackle rough sleeping was also due to be published before the summer recess.


The holdup casts doubt on Theresa May’s pledge to make it her “personal mission” to solve the housing crisis and to stamp out rough sleeping, which she said was a source of “national shame”.

Whitehall departments rushed out more than 20 announcements on Tuesday – the final day before MPs went off for their summer break – but neither document was published in the flurry of government statements.

Shadow housing secretary John Healey said: “This is a government and department in disarray, failing to act on every front to deal with the housing crisis.

“Ministers pledged to publish this social housing policy paper before the parliamentary recess, but have missed their own deadline.

“After eight years of failure, this government can’t even get its act together to publish a policy paper, never mind fix the country’s housing problems.”

It comes after Tory MP Kit Malthouse became the third housing minister in seven months in a fresh reshuffle prompted by the resignations of both David Davis and Boris Johnson over Brexit.

Catherine Ryder, head of policy at the National Housing Federation, which represents housing associations, said: “Last year Theresa May made it her personal mission to fix the housing crisis.

“We were told the social housing green paper would be a generation-defining piece of work – ‘a fundamental rethink’ of social housing that would make it ‘the pride of the nation’.

“But it has been delayed again, as the third housing minister since the announcement gets to grips with the scale of the housing crisis.


“The government must use this opportunity to urgently address the shocking shortfall in affordable housing.”

More than 145,000 affordable homes need to be built every year to keep up demand, she said, and called on the government to stop selling publicly owned land to the highest bidder.


A spokesman for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said: “Since the Grenfell Tower tragedy we have been listening to residents and those across the social housing sector.

“Providing high-quality and well-managed social housing is a top priority for this government.

“Shortly we will publish a green paper that sets out a new deal for social housing tenants.”

MPs return from the summer recess in September, when parliamentary business wil resume.


Sounds familiar ?

Green Papers promised but delayed ?

Two of the ESSENTIALS of surviving in this Sad New World ... Social Care and Housing.

Both pushed to one side whilst our elected representatives dither , and then take a break.

The circus resumes in September.

By which time , how many more lives will be shattered ?
I'm in demand off forum ... work with a couple of letting agents ... headline from my local newspaper explains the demand :

Bassetlaw housing benefit applicants facing six-week wait for claims to be completed.


One can only do so much with the cards dealt by the System.

It was bad enough when UC hit the manor ... and the scaremongering stories in the national tabloids.

Having said that , some newbie tenants don't help themselves by not doing their homework first.

Root of the problem ?

In one ... monies ... landlords want rent instantaneously , tenants haven't got it !

2 / 3 months rent upfront being demanded and / or guarantor to back guarantee with cash held on a clients account being the general feeling amongst a few of the letting agents and the smaller landlords.
Council Tax ... how this regressive tax has contributed towards the acceleration in the housing crisis :


https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfr ... ing-market


Scrap council tax - wealthy homeowners must pay more.

The time has come for a land value tax to redistribute wealth and help fix our broken housing market.


The government is short of money. The Treasury is scrabbling around looking for ways to fund Theresa May’s pledge to spend an extra £20bn a year on the NHS. Pressures on the public finances are bound to continue increasing because the population is ageing and older people need more health and social care.

The way to square the circle is obvious. Philip Hammond should use his autumn budget to announce the abolition of council tax and its replacement with a fairer system of property taxation. That means a land value tax, an idea whose time has come.

Council tax is 25 years old this year, even though it was a quick-fix solution to the mess the Conservative party found itself in as a result of Margaret Thatcher’s determination to replace domestic rates with the poll tax.


The story goes likes this. Thirty years ago this month, Britain’s housing boom reached its peak.

Tax changes in the March budget that restricted tax relief on mortgages were post-dated until August, resulting in a summer of orgiastic property speculation. It was during this period that Thatcher decided that the poll tax – first tried out in Scotland – should be extended to England and Wales. By the time the change happened in the spring of 1990 the housing bubble had burst, Britain was heading for recession and people were taking to the streets.

It is often said that Thatcher’s departure as prime minister later that year was due to Tory divisions over Europe. In truth, it was the poll tax riots that did for her. When John Major replaced her in December 1990, he knew that without a crash rethink, Thatcher’s legacy would ensure Conservative defeat in the next election. The Treasury saved Major’s bacon by coming up with the council tax, but the long-term consequence has been a system of property taxation that is not fit for purpose.

As the Resolution Foundation thinktank has noted , council tax is only weakly linked to the value of property and has failed to capture changes in house prices. The original council tax bands – using 1991 valuations – have never been changed.

There are two consequences of this. The first is that council tax is deeply regressive.

Someone living in a home worth £100,000 in 2015-16 faces an effective tax rate five times as high as someone living in a million-pound property. Average income tax paid by the top 10% of earners is 45 times that of the bottom 10%, but average net council tax is only 2.7 times higher for the top 10% of properties than the bottom 10%.

The Resolution Foundation says that only the TV licence can match the regressiveness of the council tax. “It appears that, despite replacing the unpopular ‘poll tax’ (community charge), council tax has come to look increasingly like it,” the thinktank says.

The second big problem with the council tax is that it is supposed to be one of the UK’s main methods for taxing wealth, but has proved spectacularly bad at doing so. Rising house prices are a prime reason why wealth has grown 2.5 times faster than the economy since 1980, but wealth-related taxes have remained flat. Those lucky enough to have been owner-occupiers during Britain’s regular surges in house prices have kept their windfall gains but home ownership, especially for young people, has been falling fast.


John Muellbauer, professor of economics at Oxford University, says the aim of government policy should be to make the UK housing market look more like that of Germany, which builds more homes and where house prices, adjusted for inflation, are lower than they were in 1980.

In a paper published this week by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, Muellbauer says a crucial part of the reform package would be the scrapping of council tax and its replacement by a green land value tax designed both to be more progressive and to raise more revenue.

The new tax would consist of a standard per square metre charge on land, with regular revaluations. On top of that there would be a surcharge on any buildings sitting on the land that would vary according to energy usage. An energy-neutral home would pay no surcharge.


Muellbauer’s idea is an elegant one. It takes account of the fact that taxes on something that is immovable are hard to avoid.

It would provide incentives to use land and energy more efficiently, and would lead to better home insulation and higher environmental standards, helping the UK to meet its climate change targets. What’s more, a green land value tax would fall more heavily on older people, who own more of Britain’s wealth. If taxes have to rise to pay for the health and social care needs of an ageing population, it is right that the main beneficiaries of the extra spending should make a higher contribution. To protect cash-poor but land-rich households who would struggle to meet higher payments, there would be a right to defer the tax until the property was sold or transferred.

Labour’s interest in a land value tax is welcome and long overdue. Every government since Major’s has known full well about the inadequacies of council tax, and one of the great missed opportunities of the 1997-2005 period was Labour’s failure to use its two thumping parliamentary majorities to bring about change.

Various excuses have been trotted out over the past 25 years for leaving council tax in place, none of them especially convincing. The real reason for inertia is political cowardice: a deep fear of a backlash from those doing well out of the status quo. And that’s not a good enough. Britain’s housing market is broken and it is time to start fixing it.


Whether or not a Land Tax would be better than the present Council Tax remains to be seen.

Still , the ! in 4 would see an immediate benefit.

Even under the present system , just synchronise the payment of Council Tax with one's ability to pay ... the level at which Income Tax starts kicking in would be immensely beneficial.
Ground zero ... Southampton / Reading ... selling off of social housing :


https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-45042408


Southern councils selling off homes through Right to Buy.


Social housing in the south of England is being sold off four times as fast as it is being replaced, a BBC investigation has found.

Southampton City Council is losing homes at the fastest rate, despite generating £24m through the Right to Buy Scheme since 2015.

Homes in Reading are being sold twice as quickly as they are built, with the council making £7m.

Leaders said the government was making it difficult to reinvest in new homes.

John Ennis, Reading Borough Councillor for housing, said the town was "facing a real crisis of homelessness and a lack of affordable accommodation".

"Affordability has become a real issue, we know it's a national crisis and we are feeling it here," he added.

A government spokesman said since 2010, councils across the country had delivered "94% of the replacements required to meet the one-for-one target".

He added: "We're ambitious to do much more which is why we're already investing over £9bn in affordable homes and enabling councils to borrow an extra £1bn to build more social housing."


Freedom of Information requests showed that since 2015, 372 properties have been sold by Southampton City Council through the Right to Buy scheme, with only about 93 homes built to replace them.

Portsmouth City Council made about £16.2m by selling 271 homes and only built 146 new properties over the same period, compared to Reading where the local authority acquired and built a total of 63 properties after selling off 127 homes.

Meanwhile, Bournemouth Borough Council sold off 85 properties but has built and acquired 132 since 2015.

A former homeless man named Peter told BBC Radio Berkshire he had to wait two years to get a council home in Reading.

He said: "I was living on the streets for a few months. There's some people I know, they have got nowhere.

"They are not building enough council houses."




Just imaging this practice continuing nationwide.

Affordable homes disappearing faster and faster.

The BTL landlords much be licking their chops ?

Despite the recent changes in the taxation system , vast profits to be made curtesy of the Government.

2 in 5 mps have declared interests in BTL properties.

Any connection ???


Ground zero .... rent ... no great surprise here , it dominates life at street level :


https://www.theguardian.com/society/201 ... 11-shelter

Soaring rents rose 60% faster than pay since 2011 – Shelter.

Many English towns out of reach for workers, whose pay rose only 10% in seven years.


Rents have risen 60% faster than wages across England since 2011, according to analysis from housing charity Shelter, which claims the crisis is spilling out of cities into “Middle England” towns such as Tunbridge Wells.

The figures show that private rents have risen by 16% since 2011, outpacing average wages which have only risen by 10% over that period. Shelter analysed official data from the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings and the Index of Private Housing Rental Prices.

The charity said the rental crisis was spreading out from London to cities like Cambridge, Bristol and Birmingham, and to “middle England” towns such as Tunbridge Wells and Milton Keynes, where people are increasingly unable to afford soaring rents while their wages lag behind.

The situation is worst in Barking and Dagenham, according to the official data analysed by Shelter, where average rents have jumped 42% between 2011 and 2017 while average household wages have only gone up 2%. Elmbridge in Surrey was the local authority area with the second biggest gap, with rents rising 21% while wages have dropped 15%.

In Bristol, rents have climbed 44% while wages are only up 12%; in Cambridge, rents have increased 36% against a 9% rise for wages. In Tunbridge Wells in Kent, rents are 19% higher while wages are down 9%; in Milton Keynes rents are up 29% and wages have risen 3%.

The number of households that are renting privately has risen by 74% in the 10 years from 2007, according to the latest English Housing Survey. The private rented sector accounted for 4.7m, or 20%, of households in England in 2016/17.

Private renters are spending 41% of their income on rent on average; home owners spend 19% of their income on mortgage payments.

Greg Beales, the campaign director at Shelter, said: “With this surge in private renters the housing market has shifted massively and yet as a country we’ve failed to respond. This has resulted in consecutive governments focusing on better-off home owners while not doing enough for hardpressed renters. We need politicians of all parties to sit up and take notice of the rising numbers of renters, and ensure they’re doing all they can to protect them.”

Recent figures from Nationwide revealed that a third of people privately renting in the UK have just £23 left to spend each week, once rent and utility and food bills have been paid. For most, renting is not a lifestyle choice: more than half of renters told Nationwide that they are only renting because they cannot afford to buy or can’t get a council house.

Shelter is calling on the government to come up with a new plan for social housing so people on low pay can find somewhere affordable to rent. Shelter also stressed that the government’s new three-year tenancies deal must be backed up by law and not light-touch incentives.

Government proposals will give tenants a minimum three-year contract, but allow them to walk away earlier if they wish – provoking a furious response from landlords.


Those readers with their own homes should be thankful that none of the above applies to them.

As for the rest , nothing they can do to ease the toxic level apart from seeking out cheaper places to rent.

An English person's home is his / her castle ... only if the freehold is owned.

2018 ... almost reverting back to medieval times with lords ( BTL landlords ) of the manor ???
Ground zero ... BTL tenancies ... and ... what a surprise ?
Supply shortage could push rents up 15% says RICS.


No need for the article ... simply a case of demand exceeding supply ... as more seeking social housing accommodation are forced into the private sector.

Oh , what joy to come ...
Ground zero ... Grenfell Tower ,The Aftermath ... just a headline , and a section of the article , with the latest revelations :

Grenfell Tower failed two safety inspections in months before fire, ‘smoking gun’ documents reveal.

'The deadline date of the work they were meant to complete was May 2017, one month before the fatal fire.'


It emerged in March the doors that built to last 30 minutes failed in 15 minutes during the fire. Tests on a range of fire doors by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government on the market have since found five different brands are unsafe.
Well ... one Green Paper published ... most of the pages are blank insofar as addressing the REAL issues out there :


https://www.theguardian.com/society/201 ... -landlords

Social housing tenants to gain powers against rogue landlords.

Campaigners say green paper proposals fail to tackle urgent need for more affordable homes.

Social housing residents will be empowered to take on rogue landlords under the government’s new strategy, but campaigners have criticised the document which offers no new funding.

The social housing green paper has pledged to offer all tenants a “springboard” into ownership, with new shared ownership schemes that allow residents to buy as little as 1% of their homes each year.

However, the paper will say no social housing tenant should feel a “stigma” about council renting and the department said it would “challenge the stereotypes that exists about residents and their communities.”

Housing campaigners including Shelter and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) said the reforms would not be effective without substantial new funding for council house building.

The shadow housing secretary, John Healey, called the proposals “pitiful” and said they failed to tackle the crucial question of a lack of supply, as the number of new social rented homes built last year hit the lowest level since records began.

“The number of new social rented homes is at a record low but there is no new money to increase supply and ministers are still preventing local authorities run by all parties from building the council homes their communities need,” he said.

JRF’s chief executive Campbell Robb said: “The lack of concrete plans to build significantly more truly affordable homes risks failing a generation. Against a backdrop of rising food bank use, families on low incomes will continue to face impossible choices about whether to pay the rent or put food on the table.


“We urge the government to invest in 80,000 genuinely affordable homes a year at the next spending review to put things right.”

Shelter’s chief executive, Polly Neate, said the green paper was “full of warm words but doesn’t commit a single extra penny towards building the social homes needed by the 1.2 million people on the waiting list.”

The Local Government Association said the reforms were “a small step, compared with the huge and immediate need for more genuinely affordable homes”.

LGA’s housing spokeswoman Judith Blake said: “The government must go beyond the limited measures announced so far, scrap the housing borrowing cap, and enable all councils across the country to borrow to build once more. This would trigger the renaissance in council housebuilding which will help people to access genuinely affordable housing.”

The green paper, launched by the communities secretary, James Brokenshire, on Tuesday, will introduce new performance indicators and league tables of housing providers, which the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) said would “rebalance the landlord/tenant relationship to hold bad practice to account”.

The government has said it will give new teeth to the housing watchdog to ensure social homes are well-managed, moves inspired by the Grenfell Tower fire in west London.

Brokenshire said reforming social housing was a “core priority” for the government. He said: “[The green paper] is a landmark opportunity for major reform to improve fairness, quality and safety for residents living in social housing across the country. Regardless of whether you own your home or rent, residents deserve security, dignity and the opportunities to build a better life.”

Proposed measures include changes to the shared ownership programme allowing new tenants to purchase as little as 1% of their property each year to build up to ownership. New powers will also be given to the regulator of social housing to intervene to ensure the quality of social homes.

Ed Daffarn, a survivor of last year’s Grenfell Tower fire and member of the Grenfell United campaign group, cautiously welcomed some of the ideas but said residents were cautious about the effectiveness of league tables.

“Social housing is not like choosing a doctor – you can’t just up sticks and move if your housing association gets a low rating,” he said. “Much more is needed to put power in residents’ hands. We need a new regulation system that will be proactive and fight for residents, with real repercussions for housing associations or councils that fail in their duty.”

The green paper will drop plans to force the sale of council homes in areas with high-value properties, the Guardian understands, a proposal from 2015 which had been fiercely opposed by councils.

Blake said it would be a relief for councils. “We have worked hard to demonstrate the need to scrap this policy which would have forced councils to sell off large numbers of the homes desperately needed by low-income families in our communities,” she said.

Under plans unveiled in 2015, local authorities were required to sell millions of pounds worth of council homes to fund discounts for the right-to-buy scheme for housing association tenants. Shelter had estimated it could force the sale of 23,500 council homes in England in just one year.

Social housing regulation is still under review, as is right-to-buy where the government is consulting on reforming the rules governing the use of receipts from the sale of council housing.


Worth waiting for ?

Our one due later this year ... how many blank pages in that one ?

Just a cover , perhaps ???
Just a headline ... the Right to Buy Scheme :

Help to Buy mess as taxpayers subsidise thousands of homes for couples earning more than £100,000.

Thousands of wealthy families are taking advantage of the taxpayer scheme.

More than 6,700 households with incomes over £100,000 bought homes.

The scheme provides taxpayer cash to people seeking a mortgage.

The original aim was to help people who could not afford to save up for a deposit.
Oh dear , an extension of the Right to Buy for social housing tenants ?


https://www.theguardian.com/society/201 ... ght-to-buy

Housing association tenants in Midlands to be given right to buy.

Pilot scheme will cost £200m with commitment to build new homes to replace lost stock.


The government has announced a £200m pilot scheme to extend right to buy to housing association tenants, with a pledge to replace each property sold with a new affordable home.

Under current rules, council housing tenants have the right to purchase at a discount rate the property they rent. On Thursday plans were unveiled to extend that right to those who let from a housing association across 70 local authorities in the Midlands.

The announcement came days after the government scrapped a plan from 2015 to force the sale of council homes in areas with high-value properties, following fierce opposition from councils.

That proposal had been intended to fund the national rollout of the right-to-buy policy for housing associations tenants. It is now unclear how the nationwide scheme will be paid for.


John Healey, the shadow housing secretary, called it a “wasteful policy” that would now mean public money being spent selling off affordable homes at a discount when it should be used to build them instead.

“Right to buy has decimated our council housing stock in this country,” he said. “By expanding this policy, the Tories are only going to make the housing crisis worse.”


The Midlands pilot announced on Thursday will be funded by £200m from the Treasury, funding already earmarked in the 2017 budget, with places on the scheme allocated via a ballot. Tenants have one month from the scheme’s launch to make their application.

The housing secretary, James Brokenshire, said money from the discounted sales of housing association homes would be used to fund their replacements.

“This government is committed to providing opportunities for people to get a foot on the property ladder and to have a place they can call their own,” he said.

“Our £200m investment into the Midlands voluntary right-to-buy pilot is the first step in helping housing association tenants realise their dream of homeownership.”

The National Housing Federation, which has worked with the government on the design of the scheme, said it was vital homes were replaced.

Chief executive David Orr said: “It will be a success for everyone involved only if every home that is sold is replaced with a new affordable home, and if the application process is as smooth as possible for tenants.

“This scheme must empower social housing tenants and meet our own ambitions to deliver the homes the country needs.”

Experts sounded a note of caution. David Pipe, policy and practice officer at the Chartered Institute of Housing, said: “Our concern is that even if this is achieved, the replacements won’t necessarily be like for like.

“We may see social rented homes being sold and replaced with homes that are let at higher rents, or we could see homes being sold in one area and replacements built somewhere else. So there remains a real danger that some areas will still lose much-needed social housing as a result of the pilot.”


The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said the ballot would be the fairest way of coping with the anticipated high demand, as opposed to a first come, first served basis that could disadvantage residents with accessibility issues, or those who could not get on to the internet in the first few days of opening.

A key test for the pilot will be the feasibility of so-called “portability”, by which housing associations will be given discretion over which properties they sell and where tenants who want to buy a property that is exempt can be offered an alternative home to purchase.

Pipe argued that a full rollout of the scheme would not be the best use of public money.

“At a time when we desperately need more affordable housing, this money would be better spent on building new homes for rent and for shared ownership,” he said.


About 94,000 council housing tenants have exercised their right to buy since 2010.



Demand constantly exceeds supply ... and the supply is now to be reduced even further ?

Any like for like replacements are going to take time to build ...

And , on the same manor or miles away , perhaps ?

Rents around the same ... as for the Housing Allowance / Benefit levels ?

The madness continues ...
268 posts