Friday, February 11, 2011

As I was saying, make bankruptcy laws less distressing and build more social housing…

Keeping up with the Joneses left me bankrupt: One woman's frightening story of how it easily it can happen

The story is the same old same old, but has a happy ending: "Her three boys are happy. ­Nicola’s relationship with her husband is stronger than ever and she knows who her friends are. The family now lives in a ­beautifully decorated, welcoming [Council house] they can comfortably afford to rent. Nicola’s husband is in a steady teaching job with good prospects and they can meet all their bills each month." Thought experiment: what if we ALL lived in council housing and paid market rent? The government wouldn't need to collect any income tax on top of that, we'd all have security of tenure etc, what's not to like?

Posted by mark wadsworth @ 05:07 PM (2207 views)
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21 thoughts on “As I was saying, make bankruptcy laws less distressing and build more social housing…

  • So Mark, you would be happily accepting whichever property was allotted to you by some faceless pen pusher? No, I thought not.

    Have lived in an area that (when I moved in) was 94% council owned – so virtually everyone was a council tenant. Things had developed to a point where almost no maintenance occurred and rents were very low; all as a part of quasi gerymandering effort by the political party in power. Utopian, it was most certainly not.

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  • tenyearstogetmymoneyback says:

    Sureseam

    What is also needed is Rental Housing that isn’t controlled by a bunch of Idiot and Spiv landlords.
    Look at Germany for a model of how things should be done. I bet people there don’t come home to find
    a For Sale sign outside their rented house.

    p.s. Does anyone kneo if there are still such things as rent rise restrictions ?
    Someone I was speaking to at Natwest thought it was illegal to suddenly apply a 29% rise with no warning.

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  • surestream, you hit the nail on the head with biggest problem around social housing. The idea is a good one it is the implementation where it fails. i.e. political game playing. Housing cooperatives are a partial answer, where tenants control the housing.

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  • “In 2007, Nicola was working as an estate agent”……………….” I anticipated the house would rise in value by about £20,000 a year, so we’d quickly clear our old debts. The plan was to remortgage or sell the house at a profit and make money on the property market”
    My basic salary wasn’t huge, as I was part-time, and when I was made redundant………”

    After receiving Botox as a perk from a former employer Nicola is now saving hard for a brain transplant.

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  • 1. sureseam said…So Mark, you would be happily accepting whichever property was allotted to you by some faceless pen pusher? No, I thought not.

    Have lived in an area that (when I moved in) was 94% council owned – so virtually everyone was a council tenant. Things had developed to a point where almost no maintenance occurred and rents were very low; all as a part of quasi gerymandering effort by the political party in power. Utopian, it was most certainly not.

    ~ It can be done, it just requires a different set of thinking and I think that’s well worth the effort.

    Do you want to be a slave to a bank for the rest of your life. Honourable people, with honourable people. Choice.

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  • 3. fubar

    Good man, and ‘some people’ would adjust in a positive way.

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  • Mark Wadsworth says:

    Sureseam, bravo! Wilfully misinterpret what I just said and then attack that!

    “So Mark, you would be happily accepting whichever property was allotted to you by some faceless pen pusher? No, I thought not.”

    Read what I said: I said we’d pay market rent, so clearly the nicer stuff would go to people who can afford to pay higher rents. Or do you assume that the council would insist on only building flats which they can only let for £500 a month and not to build a nice semi’s which they can let for £1,000 a month or a few ‘executive homes’ with big gardens, which they can let for £2,000 a month?

    And if there’s a “problem family” on an estate, dragging down rental values, the council would have every incentive to chuck them out.

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  • @ Jack C,

    I can’t believe people can be this dense. I looked at the same points as you highlighted.

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  • crash bandicoot says:

    As a general comment, and I know that it’s not social housing, but communial living seems to be very popular in France. If all of the local ameneties are nearby what’s not to like – apart from bad neighbours.

    This looks like being the real problem in this country, what do you do with the bad neighbours? Shoving them into a ghetto seems to have failed, is it possible to “educate” them? And I’m not just talking about council tennants here.

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  • fubar @ 3: “Housing Cooperatives are the answer”

    You hit a point here. Back in the day I was on the management committee of a Housing Association which was a better solution than the council. However in the intervening years many Housing Associations have gotten themselves into a growth pattern that involves getting tenants to pay extortionate prices to enter a shared ownership. Indeed projects currently under way may drag some Housing Associations under, if insufficient tenant/ buyers can be found.

    Generally though we need a range of socially structured landlord patterns: short life housing groups, cooperatives and HAs. Each will thrive at different moments in different places in a healthy ecosystem (so long as some bean counter/ politician doesn’t stuff things up).

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  • fubar @ 3: “Housing Cooperatives are the answer”

    You hit a point here. Back in the day I was on the management committee of a Housing Association which was a better solution than the council. However in the intervening years many Housing Associations have gotten themselves into a growth pattern that involves getting tenants to pay extortionate prices to enter a shared ownership. Indeed projects currently under way may drag some Housing Associations under, if insufficient tenant/ buyers can be found.

    Generally though we need a range of socially structured landlord patterns: short life housing groups, cooperatives and HAs. Each will thrive at different moments in different places in a healthy ecosystem (so long as some bean counter/ politician doesn’t stuff things up).

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  • alan @ 5: “I can’t believe people can be this dense.”

    Quite so. What stuns me, time after time, is that the salesman (or woman) seems to swallow their own spiel with extreme enthusiasm.

    If mortgages were cigarettes then occasionally someone would read the warnings.

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  • alan @ 5: “I can’t believe people can be this dense.”

    Quite so. What stuns me, time after time, is that the salesman (or woman) seems to swallow their own spiel with extreme enthusiasm.

    If mortgages were cigarettes then occasionally someone would read the warnings.

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  • “But at the start of 2009, Nicola was made ­redundant again — and this time she failed to find another job. “.
    I know the feeling. I was off for 9 months of 2010.

    “Then my husband suffered a ­set-back in his career, too. Funding was pulled from his private school and he was out of work for four months.”
    Well soon we will hear the same stories, but with the public sector funding.

    “However, I decided the best way forward was to go ­bankrupt to clear the £80k of ­personal debt in my name,’ she says.”
    The easy way out? This is sickening for people who never get into bad debt.

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  • Greedy, grasping, selfish, thoughtless woman.

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  • “Moving into the council house was a real low point,”

    she was dam lucky to be rehoused, there are people waiting years to get affordable housing.

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  • “Keeping up with the Joneses”

    This term is 20th century American. It originated with Arthur (Pop) Momand’s Keep Up With The Joneses comic strip in the New York Globe. The strip was first published in 1913 and became popular quite quickly.

    1913? I wonder what inspired him. (POP) indeed.

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  • it_is_going_with_a_bang says:

    This woman was given £240k of lending on top of huge personal debts and they both basically had low paid jobs with no security, as well as children to look after.

    What was the bank that lent to her thinking and what on earth was she thinking?

    Having said that Gordon Brown Inc had made sure that there was no lending limits in place and made a dam good job of trying to tell everyone that his wonderful cunning plans would mean that Britain was virtually immume to any downturn.

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  • ‘Gordon Brown Inc had made sure that there was no lending limits in place and made a dam good job of trying to tell everyone that his wonderful cunning plans would mean that Britain was virtually immume to any downturn.’

    And the whole dumb @ssed country went alone because they wanted to believe they were ‘rich’ sitting in the tiniest houses in Europe – if he’d p!ssed on that fire he’d have been crucified as an interest raising commie bed-wetter by the Cons and their attack dogs in Wapping. I don’t remember any quiet man or leatherman warning the Reds to raise rates – do you? It was the end game of the big bang ‘liberalisation’ set in motion by the by the huge intellectial prowess of the ‘Baroness and the Gipper’

    We deserved this. (the electorate)

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  • the number cruncher says:

    Braindeed – I agree – well put

    I am sure the purpose of articles like this are to stimulate riotousness & indignation in the Mail’s readership so they can feel superior, they are formulaic and repeated every fortnight by hacks.

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  • Surestream @2

    The last time I heard, you look at what is a ‘reasonable’ price by looking at similar properties and how they arepriced in your area. That is how a tribunal would resolve it, in my opinion. I can’t point you to a reference but it was something I read years ago when I had a problem related to this – and I used that assertion at the time.

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