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Council House Tenants Offered £30,000 Bribes To Move Out


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http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/poli...icle5680129.ece

Council tenants are being offered £30,000 bribes or cottages by the sea to vacate their homes for credit crunch victims as Britain faces a critical social housing shortage.

Millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money is being spent encouraging people in social housing to move to the private sector — either as home-buyers or tenants. Those in larger council homes are also being offered cash payments of up to £3,000 per bedroom if they agree to downsize to a smaller social house or apartment.

Tens of thousands of people have taken up the offers but councils plan to push schemes more aggressively in another unexpected consequence of the recession.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders predicts that 75,000 more people will have their homes repossessed this year and there are already 4.5 million people waiting for social housing. That figure is expected to increase to 5 million by the end of this year.

Council chiefs are holding urgent talks with ministers about expanding cash incentive schemes. Some authorities are leafleting council homes to see if they can encourage tenants to downsize or move out. Peter Marsh, head of the Tenant Services Authority, which oversees social housing, also wants councils to make better use of under-occupied social homes. In some areas, pensioners have been living in five-bedroom council houses for decades after their children have moved out and could be happy living in smaller homes, he believes.

About 460,000 social homes are technically underoccupied as they have two or more spare bedrooms. In other cases, families have become wealthier during their council house tenure but are not legally required to give up their house.

Mr Marsh said: “We would support financial incentives to help tenants relocate . . . But it would need to be a voluntary decision and landlords would also need to provide full support to the tenant.”

Gordon Brown wants to kick-start a council housebuilding programme but authorities argue that bonuses to vacate homes are faster and cheaper.

Westminster council gives residents grants of up to £25,000 to relinquish their homes, with the proviso that they will not be rehoused should they become homeless again. Hillingdon offers up to £30,000. Kensington and Chelsea council will spend more than £700,000 this year on rental deposits and removal costs for tenants who are willing to move from social housing to private rentals. Other councils offering cash incentives include Leeds, North Hertfordshire, South Cambridgeshire, Tendring in Clacton-on-Sea, and Redbridge.

Critics warned that the system could be open to political exploitation, echoing the case of Dame Shirley Porter, the Westminster councillor who was accused of “gerrymandering” after helping to sell off council homes to potential Tory voters in the 1980s. There was also concern that vulnerable people might be encouraged to move without understanding the consequences of downsizing.

Grant Shapps, the Shadow Housing Minister, said: “We need reassurance that tenants, especially the elderly or the vulnerable, are not pressured or coerced. I am concerned there is a potential for a new mis-selling scandal.”

Matthew Elliott, head of the Tax-Payers’ Alliance, said: “Council housing should be a safety net for those fallen on hard times . . . When you have some councils dishing out £25,000 with no questions asked and very few conditions, that smacks of desperation rather than good management.”

Paul Bettison, of the Local Government Authority, said council house shortages were critical and more needed to be done to free up homes, but town halls would need more government cash for schemes. Helping only 40 people with £25,000 payments to help buy a house would cost £1 million. “By the end of 2009 one in ten families will be on council house waiting lists. Hard-pressed authorities ain’t seen nothing yet,” he said.

about time council tennants living in veritable mansions moved into these modern day luxury shoe boxes

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But they'll blow the money and then end up back in council housing anyway. I cannot see how they could legal refuse to house a homeless family ?

I really do despair sometimes.

I live in a quiet area where the houses are privately owned, however, we have a housing association block of flats on the same small estate. These were the first to get cable TV, the old satalite dishes everywhere. None of the private houses had them as we were too busy working to watch day time tv and at that stage any cable TV was very exensive. At the tail end of the last recession these residents were being offered £10-£12,000 to move out. At that stage houses on average were £30-£50,000 with repos being offered really cheaply. I know of a few who did secure a property of their own and as prices rose, sold them, blew the dosh and ended up on the council housing.

Nice work if you can get it. Sometimes I think I should have never bothered with working or mortgages just let the state support me.

I have noticed that recently we in the private part of the estate have all had the same cars for the last 3-4 yrs yet the newer models are of course parked up outside the housing association flats.

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Not sure if Frank Dobson ever exercised his right to buy his million pound penthouse council apartment.One thing for sure £30,000 isn't going to shift him if he hasn't.I suppose if £100,000 is cheap for a Labour Lord to table a question in the Lords,then £300,000 would probably be about the going rate to persuade a Labour Lord to give up his social housing .One rule for them one rule for the rest of us.

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As a council tenant I value my council tenancy at around 50 to 60k at least.

I would prefer a situation where council houses are not like g*ld dust though.

Build more council houses!! (but only for hardworking families!)(and single people)(and married people without kids) (people with or without disabilities) (poor or rich people) (young or old) (and anyone who wants one)

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As a council tenant I value my council tenancy at around 50 to 60k at least.

Yep if you added the service charge;the free servicing;the renewals on windows,bathrooms,central heating systems,kitchens,doors etc. then the rent just about covers that ie. the building is basically a lifetime freebie.Got to be worth 60K minimum.

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one wonders, if there are available cottages by the sea, why the FRACK arent THEY being used to house the newly homeless??

Story smacks of total bull....was it written by Kaletsky?

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one wonders, if there are available cottages by the sea, why the FRACK arent THEY being used to house the newly homeless??

Story smacks of total bull....was it written by Kaletsky?

What is the 'cottages by the sea' bit about? It gets a mention then nothing more. Or does the word 'Clacton' cover it?

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Yep if you added the service charge;the free servicing;the renewals on windows,bathrooms,central heating systems,kitchens,doors etc. then the rent just about covers that ie. the building is basically a lifetime freebie.Got to be worth 60K minimum.

According the council, 50% of our rent goes to central government, 15% on repairs and renewals, I guess 10% on admin, leaving around 25% to wasted as only councils know how. A new kitchen for a council house costs only a few hundred quid for example and will have to last 20 years. My rent goes up about 7% per year.

What I mean is the housing situation is so dire in the country (deliberate government policy IMO) that I value the 'Secure' tenancy and the solidity and location of this particular bungalow as having a value of at least 50 or 60k.

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For the price of 'bribing' two or three families, in some areas a council could buy a flat or small house outright. If they bought in bulk from a struggling developer they might get a really good deal.

However, giving £30,000 of council taxpayer's money towards a tenant buying a house is no worse than a bank giving £300,000 bonus to director for gambling customers' money away, is it?

Edited by blankster
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What is the 'cottages by the sea' bit about? It gets a mention then nothing more. Or does the word 'Clacton' cover it?

I heard that bit on the beeb this morning. I think you mean St Osyth. Clacton is heaven compared with St Osyth.

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Guest skullingtonjoe
Build more.

Just one thing: if people are paid up to 30 grand for this scheme, will their new-found wealth be taken into account when they claim LHA (or HB as it was), for their rent? Also, won`t this 30 grand also affect their entitlement to JSA (or whatever it is now). Theoretically, you could give up your tenancy, be forced to spend the 30 grand, getting no benefits at all until the money runs out. After which the only help getting somewhere to live will probably be a nasty council-contracted B&B. A great way to `sanitise` sink estates maybe? :unsure:

Someone said their council tenancy was worth £50-60 thousand; I`d say it`s probably worth more. ;)

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As a council tenant I value my council tenancy at around 50 to 60k at least.

I would prefer a situation where council houses are not like g*ld dust though.

Build more council houses!! (but only for hardworking families!)(and single people)(and married people without kids) (people with or without disabilities) (poor or rich people) (young or old) (and anyone who wants one)

I would calculate that the 50% that is supposedly paid away will wing its way back when they go for demolition and rebuild in the form of a grant.I would be very surprised if the rent actually makes a profit over and above the running costs and depreciation of the building.Often these Council houses and flats cost tens of thousands to update and renovate if they don't go for the demolition option,as many former tenants have found to their cost after they have bought when landed with a 50K bill in the case of flat owners..

Edit:wrong quote shown,replying to council dwellers opinion that some of his rent is paid away to central government.

Edited by crashmonitor
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Why is it that people on benefits, in social housing aren't allowed to be forced to move to a cheaper area?

I have been banging on about this for decades. There must be hundreds of thousands of long term unemployed people in social/council housing here in the capital, one of the most expensive places to live in the world. Why not move these unproductive people to citys and towns where there is an abundance of empty council/social housing, after say 6 or 12 months of not finding a job?

For the record, I live in social housing (for which I am extremely lucky and grateful for) and would apply the same criteria above to me also.

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The article is a good demonstration of how The Times became a tabloid at worst end of Fleet Street.

The 'bribe' they refer to is an incentive scheme paid to mostly elderly tenants to assist them with removal/redecoration costs. The incentive is paid as the home is 'under-occupied' - their families having long since grown-up and moved out.

The tenants who take-up the scheme will typically be moving into sheltered social-housing i.e. a one-bedroomed flat in a warden-assisted building.

Most council tenants who qualify for the maximum figure will have paid rent for 35-45 years - in most instances their rental charges would have paid for the value of the property several times over.

Councils pay this incentive as it's calculated to be cheaper to decant the tenants in this way than it is to keep a family in B&B accomodation elsewhere.

The elderly individuals who will receive this incentive were the generation who fought the second world war and re-built Britain after their return, their counterparts in private housing have been more fortunate and may well have equity withdrawal to help them in their old age.

The rabid responses on this subject reveal just how nasty and ignorant are some of the people who now frequent housepricecrash - full of bile and rotten in their hearts with fear:- too ready to beleive every tabloid story that someone, somewhere just might be getting their snouts further in the trough than they themselves have managed so far.

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Can I have £30K for not being in a council house?

If you rent privately then I think you are entitled to at least 30k.

If you bought a house more than 5 years ago, then successive government policies have given you at least 30k in house price inflation caused by planning restrictions and easy credit. You are therefore entitled to sweet FA.

If you where open-toed sandals in this weather you are entitled to frostbite.

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