Should someone earning £60k or more per year be allowed to rent a council house?

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Alfissti
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Should someone earning a lot more than the UK median income be allowed to live in a council home?

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Council houses go to professionals earning £100,000

An estimated 5,000 wealthy professional households are benefiting from subsidised council house rents, worth £4,200 a year each, according to figures from Eric Pickles

Thousands of wealthy professionals are living in taxpayer-subsidised council houses despite earning more £100,000 a year, official figures have disclosed.

Up to 5,000 people with six-figure salaries – including transport union boss Bob Crow - are enjoying the benefit of paying cheap rents for council homes or properties let by housing associations.

Analysis by the Department for Communities and Local Government suggests that these rich tenants, who are in the top 5 per cent of all earners, are subsidised by about £4,200 each a year through the low rents that they pay.

Councils and housing associations which provide homes to needy tenants in return for rents below the market rate usually require applicants to pass a means test before allocating them housing.

However, after they move in, tenants do not usually have to declare any subsequent increase in their income, particularly as there is no national set of rules governing social housing. It means some people can live in council houses for decades while enjoying significant salary rises.


According to the DCLG figures, there are now up to 5,000 council house tennants with a household income of more than £100,000 a year, while up to 8,000 have annual household incomes of more than £80,000.
In total, up to 21,000 earn more than £60,000 a year. The average annual income for a household with two working adults in Britain is around £40,000.
Ministers have now drawn up plans to end this “blatant unfairness” by changing the law to enable housing associations - which are often run as charitable trusts - to increase rental rates for the wealthiest tenants. Separate rules will be produced to help councils do the same.
Eric Pickles, the Local Government Secretary, who is leading the reforms, accused highly paid tenants of exploiting poorer taxpayers to subsidise their lifestyles and called on them to “consider their position”.
“Taxpayer-subsidised homes are meant to help the most vulnerable in society,” Mr Pickles said. “These high-income tenants should consider their position in relation to the many other people on council waiting lists who are in more need of support.
“Their actions are not only blocking homes that could benefit those in greater housing need, they’re also relying on poorer taxpayers to subsidise their lifestyle.”
He said the government wanted to “call time on this blatant unfairness”, adding: “We intend to give landlords the option to charge very high-earning social tenants a fair level of rent.
“If the tenants want to continue using this precious national resource, they will pay a fair price for the privilege.”
Council house dwellers are subsidised by taxpayers through a combination of Government spending on new homes, money already invested in council housing and ongoing support to in the form of housing benefit. Subsidised rents are worth £4,200 per year on average for each tenant, according to the DCLG.
Mr Crow, general secretary of the RMT transport workers’ union, has repeatedly refused to relinquish his council home, declaring that he was born in a council house and intends to die in one.
The union boss, who is paid £145,000 in salary and expenses, said in a recent interview that he had “no moral duty at all” to vacate his north London housing association property, which he shares with his family.
A government consultation on the proposed changes in the rules found widespread support for requiring highly paid council house tenants to “pay to stay” in their homes.
The consultation found that a quarter of those responding, who included councils, housing associations, and tenants’ groups, supported the plan to charge very high earners more to live in taxpayer-subsidised social housing.
One third said they agreed in principle but had practical concerns. About one in three opposed the plan, mostly because they feared it would create extra paperwork and administration which could be costly for landlords to implement.
A particular difficulty would be identifying those tenants with high incomes and adjusting rents and contracts whenever individuals’ pay rates changed, they said.
Some critics of the plan also feared that it could create incentives for individuals not to work, according to the report on the consultation exercise.
Tenants could decide not to work longer hours or to turn down better paid jobs to avoid being charged higher rents.
Setting local housing policy is a key duty of councils across England. There are no national laws governing how social homes must be allocated and individual councils make their own local decisions.
A number of local authorities told the Government that they would not want to charge higher rents to the best paid tenants because these households are “an asset” to be “encouraged rather than discouraged”.
Having a “mixed” group of tenants was a “positive benefit” for housing estates because well-paid residents working in good jobs served as good role models for their communities, the councils said.



Sourced from Daily Telegraph.
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samba
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Yes. You shouldn't have to move from your home of many years because you did well in life.
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Old_Simon
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The underlying question is whether a house allocated on the basis of social need should be a life tenancy at all.
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Swanbow
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If they were previously living there then I don't think they should be evicted. But the rent should go up to match the average price in the local market owing to the fact that the tenant can afford to pay more.
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Viva Emptiness
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They shouldn't be forced to move out, but if they want to stay they should have to pay the market rate.
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Bill_Gates
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Move out, although it raises the question that it deters aspiration.

Me personally in the land of Bill Gates you should be given all the benefits someone gets for being unemployed if you decide to set up your own business. This will spur entrepreneurial ism!
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LukeM90
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I dont think they should lose the house assuming theyve done well post moving into the house.

I do think such housing should be readily available to those on lower incomes who perhaps dont have other choices though.

I actually know someone in a situation like this but they basicaly offered to sell him the house after having lived into it for so many years or somthing similar, he agreed as he had no intention of ever moving.
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Dying_Breed
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I think the full time minimum wage should afford the worker a decent quality of life so they don't stay on benefits. This would be enough to secure private rent on a 1 bedroom flat with a little money left over every month to either save or do as they please. This would demonstrate that work pays and you don't have to be earning a high wage to afford basic living.

The private rents in this country are too high, so i don't blame somebody for wanting to stay in a council accommodation if they are doing better. The government needs to sort out how much landlords can charge and also make a rule that one bedroom for one person. To many immigrants are coming to this country and sleeping 3 to a room. This destroys the local community and harmony. It's also detrimental on the job market and turns the area into a transient population with no long term benefit to the area. If you had people who had a long term commitment to the area then everywhere across England would look better and be well maintained which would make the quality of life better for somebody.

As we live in a world where money in king and we will make that money despite whoever we have step on. don't expect anything to happen on this issue. There should be a limit on council property so you don't stay in the same place for years. For example you can only spend up to 2 years in one property before you get moved. This would encourage people to take responsibility for their life and want to rent privately at affordable rates. Also i believe the first child should be free, and the second one you will have to make a strong case in your intentions to support this child benefit free in the future. If you are unable to show any initiative to work then your benefit will be cut and you and your children will be moved. Also if you have any possession over a certain threshold which is purchased through your pure benefit money, the government will have the right to seize this and sell it on to help towards paying for the benefits which you receive whilst you are not working.
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Picnic1
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If it's the sole house that they live in, that would be fine.

If it's something that they own merely to rent out to people of their own choice for whatever period of time they decide, it's not so fine.

Council areas contain some of our future entrepreuneurs, teachers, writers, artistsans and war heroes. They are rarely dull places, even if that passion partly comes from wanting to see 'more of the world'.
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Hopple
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Increase rent to match the salary, up to the market rate. I don't think it's a good idea to chase people out of an area as soon as they become rich and replace them with poor people, but there's no need to subsidise something for someone who can afford it themselves.
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nohomo
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No they shouldn't. It's not fair lol
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Alfissti
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(Original post by samba)
Yes. You shouldn't have to move from your home of many years because you did well in life.
But surely you could see it that there are people far more deserving of a council home?

(Original post by Old_Simon)
The underlying question is whether a house allocated on the basis of social need should be a life tenancy at all.
How many years tenancy do you propose then?

I think part of the reasons for a life tenancy is where it is a short term one people generally don't take care of the property since they know it doesn't belong to them and they won't be there forever.

(Original post by Swanbow)
If they were previously living there then I don't think they should be evicted. But the rent should go up to match the average price in the local market owing to the fact that the tenant can afford to pay more.
That somewhat makes the rent as a tax no?

(Original post by Viva Emptiness)
They shouldn't be forced to move out, but if they want to stay they should have to pay the market rate.
Rent isn't a tax
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Alfissti
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(Original post by Bill_Gates)
Move out, although it raises the question that it deters aspiration.

Me personally in the land of Bill Gates you should be given all the benefits someone gets for being unemployed if you decide to set up your own business. This will spur entrepreneurial ism!
Unfortunately you know why this can't be the case.

I don't think it would deter aspirational spirit if you have to move out of a council home if you suddenly become a high net worth individual. Someone will still go all out to make their money.

(Original post by LukeM90)
I dont think they should lose the house assuming theyve done well post moving into the house.

I do think such housing should be readily available to those on lower incomes who perhaps dont have other choices though.

I actually know someone in a situation like this but they basicaly offered to sell him the house after having lived into it for so many years or somthing similar, he agreed as he had no intention of ever moving.
It could be argued that allowing them to remain deprives someone else of a place to live, there will always be shortage of low income housing.

(Original post by Picnic1)
If it's the sole house that they live in, that would be fine.

If it's something that they own merely to rent out to people of their own choice for whatever period of time they decide, it's not so fine.

Council areas contain some of our future entrepreuneurs, teachers, writers, artistsans and war heroes. They are rarely dull places, even if that passion partly comes from wanting to see 'more of the world'.
A social housing estate doesn't necessarily have to be a dull or dreary place to live. Many other countries have social housing that surprisingly feels very normal.

(Original post by Hopple)
Increase rent to match the salary, up to the market rate. I don't think it's a good idea to chase people out of an area as soon as they become rich and replace them with poor people, but there's no need to subsidise something for someone who can afford it themselves.
You're suggesting a 2-step rent rate then?

(Original post by nohomo)
No they shouldn't. It's not fair lol
If we are talking about fairness, surely there is no fairness in them living there and depriving those who need it more than them?
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Bill_Gates
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(Original post by Alfissti)
Unfortunately you know why this can't be the case.

I don't think it would deter aspirational spirit if you have to move out of a council home if you suddenly become a high net worth individual. Someone will still go all out to make their money.



It could be argued that allowing them to remain deprives someone else of a place to live, there will always be shortage of low income housing.



A social housing estate doesn't necessarily have to be a dull or dreary place to live. Many other countries have social housing that surprisingly feels very normal.



You're suggesting a 2-step rent rate then?



If we are talking about fairness, surely there is no fairness in them living there and depriving those who need it more than them?
Oh yes it does. Most these people earning these sums live in expensive council houses. Some for example in Kensington/Chelsea go for half a mill. If you are going to be kicked out for earning 60k you wont earn, you will stick with the house.
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Alfissti
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(Original post by Bill_Gates)
Oh yes it does. Most these people earning these sums live in expensive council houses. Some for example in Kensington/Chelsea go for half a mill. If you are going to be kicked out for earning 60k you wont earn, you will stick with the house.
There shouldn't be council housing in Chelsea or Kensington though. I think those will slowly be sold off anyway.
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Welsh Bluebird
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They should be able to stay in their home but pay the market rate for that property. To evict them would just be callous and cost more in the long run.
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Hopple
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(Original post by Alfissti)
You're suggesting a 2-step rent rate then?
I don't think two steps would be enough for some places, but essentially yes. You have your living costs subsidised, but less and less the richer you are.
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Llamageddon
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You can't raise a family in London on £60k a year. Whilst I think the whole council housing system is broken you could be causing a huge disincentive to work with this.
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russellsteapot
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No. Social housing rent subsidies are a drain on everyone's tax money, so only those who have no real alternative should receive them. Anyone who wants to stay can pay market rate. If someone claims they can't live on £60,000 a year without sponging discounted rent off the rest of us, there's something wrong with them.

Isn't this something Dave wanted to do a few years ago?
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Viva Emptiness
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(Original post by Alfissti)


That somewhat makes the rent as a tax no?



Rent isn't a tax
It doesn't make rent a tax. Taxes are defined by the Government and can be arbitrary and discriminatory. Rent prices are determined by market forces and are the same for everyone (in as much as you will have to pay the same for a certain house whether you are a billionaire or working class).

The tenants would be more than welcome to find another property in the private rental market if they no longer wanted to pay the going rate for where they are currently living.

I see what you mean that it becomes like a sort of tax because they have to pay it because of their income increases, but in reality it is really the reduction of a benefit. Social housing is of limited stock, and there are plenty of homeless and needy people that should be prioritised.
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