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Westminster Council Plays Down Rent Increase Plan For 'high-Earning' Social Housing Tenants

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http://www.24dash.com/news/housing/2011-05-09-Westminster-Council-plays-down-rent-increase-plan-for-high-earning-social-housing-tenants

This was on BBC London news this morning. The video had Phillipa Roe reeling off the stats of earners on over £50k and £100k as if it was fact. However, buried further down the article we see these are merely estimates.

As I've mentioned before when this has been discussed, just how on earth do they intend to ascertain the 'real' salaries of council/social housing tenants without the co-operation of the tenants themselves or resorting to spying on tenants P60's?

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As I've mentioned before when this has been discussed, just how on earth do they intend to ascertain the 'real' salaries of council/social housing tenants without the co-operation of the tenants themselves or resorting to spying on tenants P60's?

How is one government entity getting information about you from another "spying"?

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Although I disagree with the British ideal of social housing altogether...

Since we have the system, the current tenant should be paying up to market rate according to their income for the duration of their tenancy contract.

Tenancy should not by assured and reassessed annually, and those that meet a certain income level should be evicted and left to find their own lodging.

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Social housing is subsidised. Getting higher earners to increase their contribution seems a very good idea, in principle, probably a nightmare to implement in reality.

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Sounds like a good idea to me - tenants of social housing pay a fixed proportioin of their salary as rent (it could ecen be a sliding scale)

It would encourage people who earn more to get their own house / private rental, freeing up the social housing for others. If they didn't want to move, they would be free to stay, and would therefore contribute some more to society.

win win all round :)

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I really can't see how you can accurately ascertain people's income. Ok, fine if you're a teacher or someone else directly employed. But what about the plumber or decorator, who may well do a lot of work on the black? A measure like this would encourage even more tax evasion. Then you get people who operate under a limited company basis - they can pay themselves the minimum wage, or fiddle the figures in other ways.

I may be naive, but surely someone on £100k a year would buy their council place anyway, and get a hefty discount to boot?

There are two solutions to this. One is to increase substantially council rents. Unfortunately this will hit those in work, and increase housing benefits for those not in work - so would increase the "why work" syndrome. The other is to build a lot more sensible rent social housing - but that would annoy house-owners who feel they're entitled to increasing house prices.

Apologies, there is another option - scrap housing benefits. I can't see this happening in my lifetime, even Dave n George haven't proposed this.

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I may be naive, but surely someone on £100k a year would buy their council place anyway, and get a hefty discount to boot?

They have a subsidised flat in central London and their own house in the country for the weekends and some flash cars as well.

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I really can't see how you can accurately ascertain people's income. Ok, fine if you're a teacher or someone else directly employed. But what about the plumber or decorator, who may well do a lot of work on the black? A measure like this would encourage even more tax evasion. Then you get people who operate under a limited company basis - they can pay themselves the minimum wage, or fiddle the figures in other ways.

I may be naive, but surely someone on £100k a year would buy their council place anyway, and get a hefty discount to boot?

There are two solutions to this. One is to increase substantially council rents. Unfortunately this will hit those in work, and increase housing benefits for those not in work - so would increase the "why work" syndrome. The other is to build a lot more sensible rent social housing - but that would annoy house-owners who feel they're entitled to increasing house prices.

Apologies, there is another option - scrap housing benefits. I can't see this happening in my lifetime, even Dave n George haven't proposed this.

I wonder how many of those 'high earning' Westminster tenants own property elsewhere? Even just across the landing, like that policeman on last week's Panorama.

Wouldn't mind betting there are a number of BTLs tucked away, courtesy of relatively cheap council rents.

There would be handwringing objections from Lab/LDs but they urgently need new rules on tenants' assets, as well as their incomes.

Even the leftiest Lefty can't argue that social housing was ever intended for those who are raking in rent.

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I really can't see how you can accurately ascertain people's income. Ok, fine if you're a teacher or someone else directly employed. But what about the plumber or decorator, who may well do a lot of work on the black? A measure like this would encourage even more tax evasion. Then you get people who operate under a limited company basis - they can pay themselves the minimum wage, or fiddle the figures in other ways.

I may be naive, but surely someone on £100k a year would buy their council place anyway, and get a hefty discount to boot?

There are two solutions to this. One is to increase substantially council rents. Unfortunately this will hit those in work, and increase housing benefits for those not in work - so would increase the "why work" syndrome. The other is to build a lot more sensible rent social housing - but that would annoy house-owners who feel they're entitled to increasing house prices.

Apologies, there is another option - scrap housing benefits. I can't see this happening in my lifetime, even Dave n George haven't proposed this.

That recent investigation into council housing on the BBC showed that people will rent out their council properties, making a huge profit, rather than part with them to house someone in need. And council house sells make things worse. Why on earth should the taxpayer give a subsidy by way of a price discount, on a sell of a council house? It is just mad.

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In my haste to start the topic and rush out to work this morning, I never put my viewpoint on it. So here goes.

Even as a social housing tenant myself, I think this is a good idea. However, how screwed up a country and a society have we become where once you were deemed the scum of the earth for living in a council flat in the 70's and early 80's and yet now, you're pitted as having attained the holy grail of housing; a lottery win in fact.

Three words sum this up: Security of tenure.

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I think it makes a lot of sense to do this. The tenants must have been reasonably hard up to qualify for council housing in the first place. As their income starts going up, the rent should increase as well until it reaches the full market rate.

I can't imagine too many £100k earners would want to live on a council estate if a private property was available for the same monthly rent. If it is available for 50% of the price, though, it represents a great deal, especially as most of the other residents are probably in a similar position.

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In my haste to start the topic and rush out to work this morning, I never put my viewpoint on it. So here goes.

Even as a social housing tenant myself, I think this is a good idea. However, how screwed up a country and a society have we become where once you were deemed the scum of the earth for living in a council flat in the 70's and early 80's and yet now, you're pitted as having attained the holy grail of housing; a lottery win in fact.

Three words sum this up: Security of tenure.

Absolutely - we need 5 year tenancies in the private sector (as per Germany and Austria), or even the Unbefristet (open-ended) ones you sometimes get there. Real landlords won't mind and the "get rich quick" ones looking for capital appreciation only will get out quick!

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<br />How is one government entity getting information about you from another "spying"?<br />
<br /><br /><br />

So you would be happy for your landlord to have unfettered access to your salary details?

Ok, in fairness I do guess that if you are renting from what is effectively a government institution of sorts, then you have to accept the downsides with the good aspects and if you don't like it you can always go private.

Like I said earlier, I don't have an issue with the proposal and they could raise the rents to private market rates or above and I can bet you that a lot of people, like me, place a far greater value on the security of tenure. I say this after having spent the past two weekends painting the masonry of the house and treating and painting the garden fences. I don't think I'd be so inclined if I knew a landlord could just boot me out at a moments notice.

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<br />Absolutely - we need 5 year tenancies in the private sector (as per Germany and Austria), or even the Unbefristet (open-ended) ones you sometimes get there. Real landlords won't mind and the "get rich quick" ones looking for capital appreciation only will get out quick!<br />

+1

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IIRC there is a Labour peer who has subsidised housing, don't know what they are paid but I guess something in excess of the minimum wage.

Sounds like Baroness Uddin, currently suspended from both the Labour Party and The House of Lords, but still presumably enjoying a cheap subsidised home at taxpayers expense.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article6301734.ece

And she walked away free from further investigation on expenses matters....

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/lords-reopen-probe-into-baroness-uddins-expenses-1920434.html

Edited by juvenal

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Bomberbrown...

Is your HA rent going up by 7% per year? (as is my council rent)

The question I would ask, is how an earth did you get a council tenancy?! unsure.gifrolleyes.gif

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So you would be happy for your landlord to have unfettered access to your salary details?

That would be the least I would offer any landlord for a heavily subsidised rent, and in the particular case when the landlord is the taxpayer it should surely be a requirement.

It would be trivial to reverse the burden of proof as well. "Dear tenant, please send us a copy of your tax return or a proof that you are in receipt of income-related benefits so we may discount your rent. Otherwise it will roughly match the open market. We would be grateful to receive the documents within three months, etc". If only everything in life was so simple.

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The question I would ask, is how an earth did you get a council tenancy?! unsure.gifrolleyes.gif

It's not council, it's HA. In reply to the question, back in 1999, I mailed over a hundred HA's requesting to be considered for their waiting lists. Then a year or so one day out of the blue, I got a call from one of them offering me a quite run down but very nice 1 bed flat. The rest is history as they say.

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Bomberbrown...

Is your HA rent going up by 7% per year? (as is my council rent)

It's something like normal increase plus 2%. The 2% until it reaches market rate or something like that. Haven't got the details to hand, but it's some government intervention.

Like I said, I don't care about the rent, the security of tenure is whats more important for me.

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