Posts with tag: social housing tenants

Former Energy Secretary Calls Right to Buy Extension ‘Mugabe Politics’

One of David Cameron’s former cabinet ministers has described the Right to Buy scheme extension as Robert Mugabe politics.

Ed Davey, an ex-Liberal Democrat MP who was Energy Secretary in the 2010 coalition cabinet, criticised the proposal, which will force housing associations to sell off homes.

Former Energy Secretary Calls Right to Buy Extension 'Mugabe Politics'

Former Energy Secretary Calls Right to Buy Extension ‘Mugabe Politics’

At the Lib Dem conference in Bournemouth, Davey said: “The Tory policy of selling housing associations is Mugabe. That’s not acceptable, it’s shameful.”1

Housing associations are private, not-for-profit landlords that manage social housing. The organisations house people off the social housing waiting list, but also let properties on the open market.

Opponents have said it is wrong to force the private organisations to sell their homes at a discount.

Last week, David Cameron wrongly said housing associations are “part of the public sector”1.

Housing associations borrow against the value of future homes to fund building projects, and they insist the extension will affect their ability to raise finances and build new properties. Some claim they will challenge the scheme in the courts if plans go ahead.

In April, the Institute for Fiscal Studies states that the extension will likely cause higher Government debt and result in fewer homes being built.

It said: “Given this uncertainty, and the coalition’s less-than-impressive record in delivering replacement social housing under the existing Right to Buy, there is a risk that these policies will lead to a further depletion of the social housing stock – something the proposal explicitly seeks to avoid.”1

Right to Buy was launched in the 1980s as a way of making homeownership more widely available.

However, many homes bought through the scheme have ended up being let back to tenants by the private landlords that purchased them.

Figures from August reveal that private landlords are now renting out almost 40% of properties sold through the scheme. Additionally, just one in ten homes sold under Right to Buy are actually being replaced, despite the Government vowing to replace the houses one-for-one.

The Government insists that the policy gives more people the opportunity to own their own homes.


London Council Accused of Social Cleansing

Published On: May 7, 2015 at 9:41 am


Categories: Landlord News

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A council in London has been accused of social cleansing after sending a letter to their tenants suggesting they move to Birmingham.

The letter, sent by Wandsworth Council, has been shared on social media and states that the Council has a number of private rental sector homes “within the areas either directly within or near the surrounding areas of Birmingham.”

Recipients are told that the Council will pay for any “bedrooms given up”, as well as aiding with the cost of moving.

It is thought that the Council are targeting pensioners in particular, as they are exempt from bedroom tax.

Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Battersea, Will Martindale, posted a photograph of the letter on Twitter, and said that the person who received it felt “not wanted” in her local area.

Martindale says: “It’s just wrong to pressure local families to leave Battersea and move to Birmingham. The real answer is to build more homes that local people can afford to rent and buy.

“This Tory council is out of control. First, they moved local homeless families to Leicester and Portsmouth. Now they offer some of our most vulnerable residents cash to move 100 miles away from their jobs, friends and schools.”1

The Housing and Community Services have conducted a report on the proposed Wandsworth Moves and Mobility Scheme. It claims that the Council hope to move 600 “under occupiers”1 – tenants who live in homes where not all bedrooms are occupied – in the next three years.

A Wandsworth Council spokesperson says: “This is a scheme that has been in place in Wandsworth for many years. Every other London borough has a similar policy.

“What is does is provide choices and incentives for tenants in larger properties to hand them back so that they can be used to provide new social rented homes for families on waiting lists who may be living in overcrowded conditions and need a bigger property.

“Offering a financial incentive is one of the ways in which tenants who don’t need such big homes can be encouraged to give them up.

“As the letter makes crystal clear, it is not compulsory and no one is forced to leave, but some residents are quite happy to move out of London because they may have family connections in other parts of the country or are looking to make a fresh start outside the capital.”1 

The Independent recently undertook a study that found over 50,000 households have been moved out of London in the past three years.1

This figure indicates that a huge amount of families cannot afford homes in their area and are therefore being relocated out of their communities to places away from the capital.




Government Announces Pilot Areas for Universal Credit

Published On: December 18, 2012 at 9:21 am


Categories: Finance News

Tags: ,

The areas in which direct payment to social tenants will be piloted, ahead of the introduction of Universal Credit next year, has been announced by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

The proposal indicates that tenants, rather than landlords, will receive rent directly. This has raised concern amongst social landlords, who worry there will be a repeat of what has been happening in the private rental sector, in which arrears have increased since the change of rules in 2008.

Government Announces Pilot Areas for Universal Credit

Government Announces Pilot Areas for Universal Credit

Private tenants on housing benefit now automatically receive their Local Housing Allowance (LHA), and their landlords cannot act on missed rent until the tenant has built up at least two months of arrears.

To observe whether similar problems will arise, year-long pilot experiments will be conducted in Oxford, Shropshire, Southwark, Tofraen in Wales, and Wakefield.

The Government, however, seems committed to the idea that all tenants should receive their rent money, rather than it being paid to their landlord. This is despite 18 high-profile groups, including homelessness charities, campaigning to give the choice to tenants as to who receives rent.

Welfare reform minister, Lord David Freud, says: “Direct monthly benefits payments are a key part of Universal Credit, allowing claimants to prepare for the financial responsibilities they will face when in work and to encourage them to move away from often costly weekly and fortnightly budgeting.”1

In addition, a tenant eviction business has reported a 30% rise in cases involving LHA tenants.

Lee Daniels, of Helpland, explains: “Over the past four months, we have seen an increase of over 30% in instructions on serving notices on LHA tenants falling into rent arrears. With housing benefit caps coming in, we expect the number to increase rapidly over the next 12 months.

“Councils will only pay the housing benefit direct to the landlord if there are eight weeks of rental arrears. This is very bad news for landlords who rely on rent to cover their mortgages.

“We have lobbied Parliament to change the system, to allow housing benefit to be paid directly to the landlord.

“This would be a massive incentive for private landlords to let their properties to LHA tenants and would ease the pressure currently on local authorities, who are facing a negative response from private landlords.”1