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

Discuss news stories and political issues that affect carers.
207 posts
Council forks out thousands on emergency housing payments.

Staffordshire Moorlands District Council spent its entire emergency housing budget last year.


New figures have revealed bosses at Staffordshire Moorlands District Council forked out tens of thousands of pounds on emergency housing payments for vulnerable people.

The figures, released by the Department for Work and Pensions, show the council spent £32,465, between April and September last year, to help people on benefits cover housing costs.

The district council was awarded £84,413 for the 'Discretionary Housing Payment' (DHP) scheme for the 2018/19 financial year.

But in the first six months the authority had to spent almost two fifths of its annual budget.

Payment are awarded to claimants if they have been affected by specific housing policies and are at risk of homelessness, or if they are hit by emergency costs.

Financial assistance charity Turn2us said that while the payments are a "vital source of income" for vulnerable people, they are not a long-term solution to the housing crisis.


Speaking to the Press Association, campaigns manager Matthew Greer, said: "Welfare changes over the last decade are leaving councils increasingly burdened, and funds are only limited.

"While we would welcome increasing the funding for DHPs, this will not solve the problem long-term and ultimately help to change the lives of people who are struggling.

"The Government must stand up and act fast to end the rising tide of homelessness across the country – including building affordable homes, tackling the issue of high rents and ending the ongoing benefits freeze."

Homelessness charity Crisis said it was concerned that the Discretionary Housing Payment scheme is unsustainable in the long term.

Chief executive, Jon Sparks, said: "To truly prevent people from becoming homeless, we need more than sticking plaster solutions.
"

The DWP said the scheme allowed local authorities to "provide additional support to people experiencing financial difficulty with housing costs".

A spokesman commented: "Since 2011 we have provided around £1 billion to local authorities to make these payments.”

For 2018-19, the DWP has awarded a total of £153 billion in DHP funding across England and Wales.

Funding for the scheme in 2018-19 is less than it was last financial year, when the council was awarded £95,450.

Staffordshire Moorlands spent almost all of its allocated funding last year.
For some BTL tenants , the alarm clock has just gone off :

Families facing homelessness as infamous landlord orders them to leave so he can cash in on empire.

" I hate him. We all do. It's low-rent housing – if I could afford to move elsewhere, I would, " says tenant

Hundreds of people are facing homelessness after receiving eviction notices from one of Britain’s most controversial landlords.

Fergus Wilson, infamous for banning “coloured” tenants on grounds they smell like “curry”, has said he is intending to sell his portfolio of 300 homes by the end of the year.

The 70-year-old multimillionaire is giving tenants two months to vacate.

Mr Wilson revealed 32 homes from his empire, which is based mainly in the Kent area, have been sold independently and talks are under way to offload the rest in batches.


“I do feel sad for people who are going to be homeless, it will be hardest for parents with young children, because most landlords won’t accept them,” Mr Wilson said.

“I also feel sad selling the houses. We have built them up over the years but we can’t take them to the grave with us.

“We haven’t thought about what we will do with the money yet, I’m not going to buy a Rolls-Royce or anything like that. I could do that now – it is money down the drain.”

A tenant, who asked not to be named, said: “I hate him. We all do. It’s low-rent housing – if I could afford to move elsewhere, I would.

“I’m not one of the first lot getting turfed out but I do feel like it’ll happen any day now.”

In 2017, Mr Wilson banned “coloured” tenants, justifying it by saying they made his homes smell of curry – a move which was overturned in a court victory for the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

More recently he sparked fury for evicting four mothers, which he blamed on the district council’s “strict rules” on the speed with which boilers need to be fixed in homes where babies are living.

Last month his wife Judith Wilson, 68, was ordered to pay £25,000 in fines and legal costs last month for failing to supply hot water to a disabled tenant.

The couple said they would appeal against the decision and threatened to crash the local property market by selling their empire.

Landlords have the legal right to retain possession of a property at the end of a tenancy, but must follow the legal procedure.

Under an assured shorthold tenancy agreement, landlords can issue a Section 21 notice to regain possession after the initial period of the agreement.

The local authority has pledged to help any evicted tenants who struggle to find replacement housing.



Someone is going to be busy preparing Section 21s ???

Local removal businesses just upped their rates by ... 50% ???
Help to Buy builder scoops £1BILLION profit bonanza: Taxpayer subsidies drive record breaking year for Persimmon.


Persimmon is set to become the first housebuilder in Britain to rake in profits of more than £1billion in a year.

The FTSE 100 firm made around £1.1billion in 2018 as it cashed in on the taxpayer-funded Help To Buy scheme.

That is up from £966million the previous year and comes after sales reached £3.5billion.

The bumper results fuelled anger that a taxpayer subsidy has left the industry awash with cash when many families are struggling to get on the housing ladder.



Winners and losers ... the sharholders must be rubbing their hands with glee.

As for the home owners , just how long is their own " Defects " list ???
What an unexpected surprise ... 2 in 5 current mps in the House have declared interest in BTL properties ?

Hand out taxpayers monies and ... guess who profits from it ???????


Ministers urged to halt right-to-buy scheme.

More than 40% of former council homes now rented out by private landlords.


Ministers are facing calls to shelve Margaret Thatcher’s totemic right-to-buy scheme after a devastating analysis revealed that more than 40% of council houses sold under its terms in London are now privately rented.

The damning findings of an analysis of Freedom of Information data also show that :

• Tens of millions of pounds are being paid by local authorities to rent former council homes in order to house growing numbers of homeless families;

• Some councils have bought back their former homes at more than six times the amount they sold them for;
Guardian Today: the headlines, the analysis, the debate - sent direct to you
Read more

• Hundreds of private landlords now own five or more right-to-buy properties. There are several London boroughs where more than half the houses sold through the policy are now in the hands of private landlords. Private renters have to pay more than people living in council-owned properties.

Labour London assembly member Tom Copley, who released the report containing the new data, said the findings provided fresh evidence for why right-to-buy should be scrapped in the capital.

“Something has gone very wrong when tens of thousands of homes built to be let at social rents for the public good are now being rented out at market rates for private profit, sometimes back to the very councils that were forced to sell them,” he said.

Right-to-buy, which offers discounts to council tenants who buy their home, has been in place since 1980 and was boosted in 2012 under the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government. The latest analysis found that 42% of homes sold under the scheme in London are now rented out by private landlords, up from 36% in 2014.

Around 466 individuals or companies have the leasehold for at least five former council homes each, while there are 2,333 right-to-buy properties where the local authority pays private landlords to house homeless families across London. Councils have spent £22m a year on renting back properties they once owned to use as temporary accommodation.

In Ealing, the council has spent £107m buying back 516 former council properties that it had originally sold for £16m. Peter Mason, Ealing’s cabinet member for housing, said the report highlighted “exactly some of the more unforgivable impacts of Thatcher’s right-to-buy scheme, which she launched with great fanfare in Northolt [a town in the borough of Ealing]”.

“Ealing council passionately believes in council house building, which is why we have launched the biggest programme in London,” he said. “Between increased land prices, a long-term cap on borrowing and being forced to give up much of the receipts from the sale of council homes, the system as it stands is entirely rigged against local authorities who wish to build new council homes.”

According to the Resolution Foundation thinktank, local authorities and housing associations in England have built one home for every two sold under the right-to-buy scheme.

Jon Sparkes, chief executive of homelessness charity Crisis, said: “Social housing is more affordable and more secure than private renting, and provides much-needed stability for those at risk of homelessness. It is unacceptable to see what little social housing options are available are being removed.

“What we need to see from the government going forward is suspension of the right-to-buy while it invests to build the 90,000 social homes needed in England each year to keep up with demand.”

Lindsay Judge, senior policy analyst at the Resolution Foundation, said: “It’s likely to be too late for a ban on right-to-buy having a significant impact on London, as the remaining social housing stock is largely concentrated among low-income households. But what these figures do show is the acute need to build more homes in the capital across a range of tenures, including social housing.”

Polly Neate, chief executive at Shelter, called for 3.1 million new social homes to address the housing crisis. “While right-to-buy has helped many families get on to the housing ladder, just three years after it was introduced in 1980, the supply of properties available for social rent had halved – pulling up the ladder for future generations,” she said. “We’re now in the ridiculous position of seeing local authorities across the country, not just in London, renting former council properties back from private landlords, at great expense, in order to house growing numbers of homeless families.”

Government officials said right-to-buy purchasers must repay a portion of their discount to their council if they sell within the first five years. And those who sell within 10 years of purchase must offer their local authority first refusal to buy it back.

Kit Malthouse, the housing minister, said: “Under our right-to-buy scheme, over 100,000 social housing tenants have now got a foot on the property ladder since 2010, including more than 17,000 in London. We have lifted the housing revenue account borrowing cap for local authorities so they can build more houses in areas where they are most needed, and delivered 88,000 new affordable homes in London since 2010.”



Housing crisis ?

Started even before Thatcher's Right to Buy scheme ... in exchange for new homeowners to vote Tory ?

Now , after again plundering the market for personal gain , we are left with the carcass.

Conflicts of interest when voting on Housing policy ?

Who would ever think that ????????????????????

The buck stops with Parliament ... they created the present situation , now down the whole House to sort it out !!!
Isn't there susposed to be a crack down on rogue landlords reinforced by the Law ?

Council pays rogue landlord £500,000 in housing benefit/

Bernard McGowan, who has £30m in property, received money from Brent despite being banned.


A repeatedly convicted landlord, ruled unfit to rent out property in a north London borough in 2015, has since received more than £500,000 in housing benefit payments from the same council that banned him.

The discovery that a local authority is directly paying public money to a landlord its own officers describe as “rogue” is the latest example of the ineffective regulations designed to police the private rented sector’s worst offenders.

In October, a Guardian and ITV News investigation revealed how a string of supposedly banned landlords were continuing to rent out properties, while the government’s new rogue landlord database was empty six months after its launch.

Bernard McGowan, who boasts a £30m property empire and was convicted six times under the Housing Act between 2014 and 2017, failed Brent council’s “fit and proper” test in 2015. The decision meant that McGowan was barred from directly renting out houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) across Brent, or any home in eight of the borough’s wards where landlords specifically require a licence.

However, after a freedom of information (FoI) request made by the Guardian, Brent has revealed how it has continued to hand McGowan public money for renting out homes since it banned him.

The payments have included publicly funded rents for McGowan properties in wards where no landlord is allowed to operate without a licence, meaning the legislation should prevent McGowan from directly receiving rents for homes in those areas.

Jacky Peacock, a director of the tenants’ charity Advice4Renters, which has helped residents bring cases against McGowan, said: “I simply despair. This is yet another example of one part of the council not speaking to another. Of course it has to be wrong for a landlord who cannot be defined as a ‘fit and proper manager’ to be receiving the rent. We will never see meaningful regulatory improvements in private renting until there is a joined-up, council-wide approach.

“There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the circumstances have existed which should have created a duty for Brent to serve an IMO [interim management order] on most if not all of McGowan’s properties”.

Under the Housing Act, a council has the duty to impose an IMO on certain properties, in order to protect the occupiers or to take “steps the authority thinks appropriate with a view to the proper management of the house”. That includes unlicensed houses that cannot be licensed because they do not meet the licence conditions, as well as houses where the licence has been revoked. An IMO would usually mean appointing an approved manager of the properties who would collect rents.

McGowan is one of the country’s most notorious rogue landlords and was fined more than £100,000 for property offences in 2017.

He was convicted and ordered to pay £41,488 in respect of a property he was illegally renting in Harlesden, Brent, where a couple with two children lived in a flat with mice and mould on the ceiling caused by damp.

During the same year, he was also prosecuted again by Brent for a separate licensing breach at a property he owns in Wembley and received two further licensing convictions in neighbouring Camden, where he was ordered to pay a total of £68,435.

McGowan’s fines are large by the standards of the penalties levied under the Housing Act, but they are dwarfed by the rents he continues to receive.

Since the beginning of 2015, McGowan has received almost £1m in housing benefit from Brent alone, according to responses made by the council to the Guardian’s FoI requests. A previous request has shown that McGowan received about £4m in housing benefit payments from Brent between 1999 and 2015.

His property portfolio also spans the boroughs of Camden, Newham and Hertfordshire and includes numerous properties where the tenants do not claim housing benefit.

When McGowan was confronted last year by the Guardian and ITV News, he locked himself inside a cafe toilet for half an hour to avoid questions. In his rush to escape, he jumped into the wrong waiting car.

A spokeswoman for Brent said: “The level of housing benefit payments made to Mr McGowan have significantly reduced since 2015, and only two cases currently remain in payment … We are reviewing the two remaining cases to establish whether direct housing benefit payments remain appropriate.

“We believe that as a consequence of Brent council’s approach, Mr McGowan has outsourced the responsibility for managing all his properties in Brent, as well as selling many others. We believe that this approach, from a housing enforcement perspective, has been a success in making sure that this criminal landlord has felt the full force of the law.”

McGowan did not respond to invitations to comment.



BTL ?

Despite cosmetic changes in the tax system , a licence to print money.

For some, money by the security van !
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/c ... e-13889044

'Cover up' over Grenfell-style cladding that burns at 600C in just 10 minutes

EXCLUSIVE: Leaked footage handed to the Mirror shows flames shooting up cladding being used on blocks today - in a test which construction firm bosses tried to hide in a non-disclosure agreement
Yep ... " Old / second hand " news ... The Guardian had it weeks ago ... posted earlier on this thread.

Some journalists are taking a direct interest in the proceedings ... by actually being there and talking with all concerned ... those that want to talk that is ... and , then making further enquiries following rather " Interesting " leads and tip offs ... almost a whole " Private Eye " type investigation ... and they ( The Eye ) have dropped some rather interesting hints !
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/b ... n-13547396

Persimmon chief executive Jeff Fairburn - the UK's highest paid CEO - is being forced out amid an ongoing row and backlash over his controversial £75m bonus.

Britain's second-biggest housebuilder said controversy surrounding Mr Fairburn's bonus was a continuing distraction which had hit the company's reputation.

Persimmon said that, as Mr Fairburn has been asked to leave by the company, it is not legally able to withhold any of the share payouts due under the controversial long-term bonus scheme.

His last day will be December 31, as the housebuilding giant looks to distance itself from the controversy over his huge payout.

Mr Fairburn was Britain's highest paid CEO in the financial year ending 2017, according to a survey, receiving £47.1m - more than 20 times his pay in 2016. It was largely due to a long-term incentive plan dating back to 2012.



Greed not need.
Yep ... our Mr. Fairburn has featured within the context of both " Leasehold " and " Defects list " postings made earlier in this thread.
Hmmmm......... £77 million in government money and a £75 million bonus for the boss?

https://www.commonspace.scot/articles/1 ... nd-subsidy
207 posts