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Thread: Private tenants left in the dirt yet again over bedroom tax proposals

  1. #1

    Private tenants left in the dirt yet again over bedroom tax proposals

    I am sorry if this is in the wrong section but this needs to be said. I am one of the many thousands of UK residents who are living in private rented housing. I am referring to the bill that was passed in the house of commons today which introduces a number of exemptions to the bedroom tax which people in social housing will enjoy if this is made law.

    Under these new proposals people who cannot find smaller homes to move into, disabled people who need extra rooms or need to adapt their homes will all be exempt from the bedroom tax. This begs the question, are we (people who have to live in private housing) some kind of second class citizen where none of these new rules apply? People need to remember that private tenants were forced to pay the bedroom tax years before it was forced upon social housing tenants, but nobody gave a damn about that - no uproar, nothing.

    People in private rented housing are being treat like second class citizens within this welfare system and I have to say it's pretty disgusting.

    /rant over

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2012
    yes but you forget council (social housing)tenants were allocated the property based on their needs at the time and couldnt pick a bigger property than was needed,unlike (private rented) who had a choice to move into what ever they could afford with however many rooms they wanted, it was also not forced upon the (private tenants) who were already in accommodation it only applied to new movers from law change date, unlike (social tenants) who had occupied the property's for years and were expected to pay extra for something they were lawfully given.

    rant over

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    YEP: "DIVIDE AND CONQUER" the same old Capitalist bullshit and it still works - sigh, and I'll bet they're rubbing their hands and goofering like good uns on that f--king 1922 Committee.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    There's no right answer to this, Karl. Social housing tenants typically hold their properties on a very different basis to those renting privately.

    Most private lets are assured shorthold tenancies with a fixed period of no more than twelve months. Usually the landlord can give the tenant two months' notice (plus any incomplete rental period) to quit any time from the moment the fixed period expires.

    Social housing tenants usually have much greater security of tenure - typically after a fairly short qualifying period, they have seen assured tenancy where the landlord cannot give notice to quit. Rents in the social housing sector are typically lower for the same size of property than in the private rented sector.

    As slipmaster points out, Local Housing Allowance was not retrospectively imposed on those remaining in an existing private tenancy. The "bedroom tax" was imposed on all social housing tenants, even if their situation has not changed from when they were allocated their current property.

    Social landlords typically adopted a policy of building few one bedroom properties (quite a few outside major cities built none), and many had allocation policies until relatively recently that aimed to give tenants a spare room whenever possible.

    Your key objection, Karl, is that there's a two-tier system of social landlord tenants and private tenants. At the highest level, this has nothing to do with benefit policy - for decades we have not been building anything like enough social housing to keep pace with demand. The increasing number of single person households is making the situation worse.

    As affordability of private housing (as a tenant or owner occupier with a mortgage) becomes increasingly difficult for many, demand on social landlords has risen further.

    I am no fan of Local Housing Allowance, as it is a blunt instrument and can leave people with no social housing options finding themselves unable to find an affordable private let. Unfortunately unrestricted Housing Benefit for private letting was one of the drivers of rent inflation, as there was no ceiling rent landlords had to stay below to have a reasonable chance of letting to someone on Housing Benefit.

    The reality is that any landlord who feels their property will let to someone not on Housing Benefit will likely set referencing criteria that rule out anyone on Housing Benefit irrespective of the rent they intend to charge. I'm therefore not convinced that Local Housing Allowance has significantly restricted access for people on Housing Benefit to the privately rented sector, though it does impose financial limits on private landlords wishing to let to those on Housing Benefit.

    The "bedroom tax" is causing misery to people finding themselves with no good options. Some are being charged for supposedly spare bedrooms which are rooms they need for disability related reasons. Others could cope with a smaller property, but social landlords are unable to offer them a smaller property and there is limited, if any, availability of private rental property within the Local Housing Allowance.

    It's of questionable value to move someone from a social let to a smaller but more expensive private let. Indeed, it's often of questionable value to move someone from the social housing sector to a smaller property in the private rented sector at all, especially as the pressure in the private rented sector is often most acute for smaller properties.

    The "bedroom tax" has made some perfectly decent social lets unlettable. I can't remember exactly where (other than it was somewhere in the north west of England), but a social landlord was planning to demolish perfectly good three bedroom flats because nobody wanted most of them. Those needing a three bedroom property and could afford the rent were insisting on ground floor flats, meaning the remainder of the development was gradually emptying.

    I wish we were in a position where everyone needing affordable housing could find an appropriately sized social let within a reasonable time, but that's not been anything like reality for many years.

    All new social lets are likely to be "bedroom tax" compliant anyway.

  5. #5
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    West Cumbria (Lake District)
    Quote Originally Posted by Flymo View Post
    I can't remember exactly where (other than it was somewhere in the north west of England), but a social landlord was planning to demolish perfectly good three bedroom flats because nobody wanted most of them.
    It was reported in The Guardian in November 2013 that one housing provider in The Wirral and another in Wigan were thinking of demolishing some of their 3 bedroom properties as they were now too expensive to rent.
    I'm not sure it actually happened.

    Some social housing providers took another route as stated in this house of commons breifing note extract:
    In January 2013 Knowsley Housing Trust announced an intention to reclassify 566 of its 2 and 3 bed homes as smaller units at a cost of around £250,000 in annual rental income. The CEO said that this was about charging the correct rent levels for the properties concerned rather than a direct response to the under-occupation measure.
    Other landlords said to have adopted this approach include Leeds City Council, Nottingham City Council and North Lanarkshire Council. Birmingham, York and Edinburgh are reportedly looking into it.

    The ministers weren't happy about this and made a lot of noise about punishing the councils, but had to back down as the councils were acting within the law (as it stood).

    Its a mess because most of the countrys stock of social housing was either sold off under the right to buy or sold cheap to housing associations.

    Just wait until Universal Credit rolls out.
    UC includes housing benefit, effectivley taking it out of council control and giving control to the DWP. (Another one they sneaked in under the radar).

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