Tory Council To Destroy Social Housing In A Move Which Will Cost Us All A Fortune

trotters-vanTenancy strategy documents reveal how one Tory council wants to socially cleanse people on low incomes out of their borough by attempting to hand new council flats to the aspirational middle classes.

The London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham explain how they wish to use the council housing system (PDF)  as a “housing ladder of opportunity” for those who ultimately wish to – and are likely to be able to afford to – own their own homes in the borough.

Under the new powers of the Localism Act almost all new housing made available in the borough will be subject to fixed term five year tenancies.  Council and housing associations can now also set rents at 80% of the local market value as part of the misnamed ‘affordable rents’ scheme.  This means social housing will no longer be an option for tenants on even modest incomes in the borough without Housing Benefits to help meet rent payments.

In London rents must not exceed the caps set for housing benefits under Universal Credit.  However high property prices in London mean that councils and housing associations could soon be charging up to £250 a week for a one bedroom flat.  Whilst this will not apply to existing residents, in Hammersmith and Fulham social housing providers have been instructed that up to 50% of properties re-let after tenants move out should be switched to ‘affordable’ rents.

The London Mayor’s housing strategy suggests social housing rents should be no more than 40% of average incomes.  Despite this Hammersmith and Fulham are urging social housing providers to charge as much as they can get away with:  “From April 2013, the Council is adopting the following approach to Affordable Rents in the borough: Private Registered Providers (PRPs) will be expected to maximise the rent that can be charged for new affordable rent schemes and for up to 50% of homes that are re-let.”

Research carried out by neighbouring borough Kensington & Chelsea (PDF)  suggests a tenant would need an income of £46,429 a year to be able to afford the ‘affordable’ rent on a one bedroom flat which has been set at the £250 cap.

And here is where it all comes crashing down as Hammersmith & Fulham’s housing strategy is revealed to be a bit – to use a technical DWP term – mental.  Tory Councillors may wish to turn social housing into what will be little more than over-priced starter homes for latte slurping young professionals.  But they also can’t quite help their swivel eyes popping out in fury at the thought of people on decent incomes being given any form of local authority managed housing.  Many of them are no doubt landlords after all.

So despite a tenant needing to earn £46,429 annually just to be able to pay the rent, social housing tenancies will no longer be available to those earning a gross income of over £40,200 for all but larger properties (PDF).  In other words a working couple, each on just over £20,000 per year, will now be too rich to rent a council flat they can’t afford.

Families needing three rooms or more will still qualify if their income is up £61,400 as long as they have less than £4000 in the bank.  Council tenants on Hammersmith & Fulham’s housing ladder of opportunity will be terrified out of saving for a deposit on a mortgage in case that money is used against them to force them out of their homes at the end of their fixed tenancy.

The borough have said they will prioritise working tenants, so it is unlikely to be unemployed, unwell or disabled people who will be offered these new tenancies.  These groups will be shunted into other boroughs or out of London completely.  Should they qualify for assistance under homelessness legislation they may be placed in the Orwellian named “long term temporary accommodation” which now appears to actually be permanent, unlike the Council’s social housing.    A lifetime in hostels or B&Bs seems to be the most likely outcome for those with least that the borough doesn’t manage to forcibly re-locate.

For those lucky enough to squeeze into the eligibility for social housing – which will mean those working, but on a low income – it will be Housing Benefits which will pay most of their rent.  Should their income rise to a level at which they can afford to pay their rent without housing benefits, then they will be promptly kicked out of their home when their five year tenancy expires.

It will not just be those who get a pay rise who will lose their homes as the short term tenancies expire.  New tenancies may not be granted if the tenant has struggled with rent arrears, has been convicted of certain offences or accused of anti-social, illegal, or even ‘immoral’ behaviour.  In some cases tenants could be thrown out if they have not worked for 9 out of the preceding 12 months.  It is unclear where those who do not have tenancies renewed are expected to go.  For some this will mean the even more expensive private sector.  For others it is likely to mean the streets.  The end result of fixed term tenancies will mean that the housing benefit bill and the number of homeless people will both soar.  Contempt for the most marginalised, not rational economic planning, is behind Hammersmith and Fulham’s housing strategy which will end up costing us all a fortune.

It’s hardly surprising attempts to marketise and profit from public services are handled so ineptly by Tory Councils.  People who are good at business go into business and make lots of money.  People who are shit at business, but share the same greedy ethics, end up being Tory Councillors.  It is also unsurprising that internet con man and get rich quick merchant Grant Shapps was Housing Minister when the Localism Act was being drawn up.

From ministers down to Tory councillors, housing policy is now managed by chinless and charmless Del Boys whose crazy money grabbing schemes are set to descend into ever more predictable and tragic farces.  Unfortunately this is no comedy show.  If Trotters Independent Trading had been run like Hammersmith & Fulham Council then Uncle Albert would be sleeping in a piss-stained cardboard box whilst Rodney was out looting batteries from Poundland to sell for crack.

Follow me on twitter @johnnyvoid

43 responses to “Tory Council To Destroy Social Housing In A Move Which Will Cost Us All A Fortune

  1. Pingback: Tory Council To Destroy Social Housing In A Move Which Will Cost Us All A Fortune | The Sealand Gazette | Scoop.it

  2. The 2011 Localism Act and associated guidance gives greater flexibility to local housing authorities to frame their Housing Allocation Scheme to meet its homelessness obligations and meet Hammersmith & Fulham’s ‘borough of opportunity’ objectives.
    1.2
    As part of its wider approach to affordable housing, this Housing Allocation
    Scheme should be read in conjunction with other housing documents, specifically
    the Councils Homelessness Strategy; Housing Strategy; and Tenancy Strategy.

    Each of these documents reflect the themes of a housing approach based on
    personal responsibility that is fair, realistic and affordable as does t
    his document.By personal responsibility is meant that housing applicants take greater
    responsibility for their own actions and their future. By fair, is meant an
    accessible approach that does not discriminate against a particular need or
    equality group; by realistic, an approach that is based on the ‘real world’ housing choices that are available to people; and, by affordable, a housing approach that is both affordable for the Council to provide and for customers to pay for

    so, homeless wont be discriminated against then will they??

  3. The Council also intends to ensure that future occupants of affordable housing make a greater contribution to the
    community and the economy.
    The 2011 Localism Act and associated guidance
    gives greater flexibility to local housing authorities to frame their Housing
    Allocation Scheme to meet its homelessness obligations and meet Hammersmith& Fulham’s ‘borough of opportunity’ objectives.

    so this framing of housing allocation scheme then to meet its homeless obligations? in conjunction with ‘borough of opportunity objectives?
    how does that work??

  4. this is deeply ironic i have to say because in my efforts to re locate ..i too had the 2011 Localism Act thrown at me, which i took to mean..”we dont want you scruffy oiks in our posh borough” however for some reason they relented…and am now on register..and they know i am in receipt of benefits…so…??? mind you my situation IS pretty desparate i must say..

  5. WELL THIS IS PRETTY WEIRD AS I FOUND THIS:
    http://www.lbhf.gov.uk/Images/HF%20Homelessness%20Strategy%20Oct%202012_tcm21-177856.pdf

    Building a Housing Ladder of Opportunity
    Hammersmith & Fulham Council
    Homelessness Strategy

    Note:
    Section 148 of the Localism Act amends section 193 of the Housing Act 1996 to allow housing authorities to make “private rented sector offers” to end the homeless duty to a household. The Government published in May 2012 the following document
    Homelessness (Suitability of Accommodation) (England) Order 2012

    Consultation
    which set out how the Government expected local authorities to
    consider the suitability of accommodation for homeless people regarding both its quality and its location. At the time of preparing this Homelessness Strategy, the Government was in the process of considering responses and is expected to publish
    its final document later in 2012. Once published, the Council will adopt a procedure note that will introduce
    its approach to this issue.

  6. anyone see my post on landlords who call tenants SCUM..and said if he had his way it would make it a right for landlords to change locks and chuck tenants out on the streets..

    • FUUUUUUUUUUUUUU...!

      I did…I had to stop reading because it was making me so angry. The worst one was the poster who said there weren’t any decent tenants on DSS and went into a venemous rant about them.

      I hate scumlords with a passion. They’re causing so much shit in this country, they’re a massive part of the problem.

    • something survived...

      I thought it is or at least they seem to do it with impunity. It’s happened several times to me.

      • @Something survived the tory game plan is giving councils the right to prioritise hard working families who contribute to the economy vs homeless or ppl struggling on benefits .in fact it seems H&F council have been complaining to schapps about councils not complying with this..

  7. Yes I have bob, it is disgusting, the landlords are fucking scumbags,

    • He will just change the law to suit him again and have labour and liberal demoshits agree with it.
      AND
      Get a benefit ‘scrounger’ stooge to appear in the daily hate and on this morning saying how they do not want to work as they get so much lovely tax payers money.

  8. This Tory shambles is nothing more than legalized murder. They call it a broken society and all they are doing is destroying people’s lives, people’s heritage and people’s last grain of pride and spirit. There will be many people in social housing that through no fault of their own having once owned or had a mortgage on a property and lost it through redundancy, divorce or death of a partner, that ate now going to suffer the humiliation of not being able to afford or sustain their meagre existence.

  9. Pingback: Tory Council To Destroy Social Housing In A Move Which Will Cost Us All A Fortune | Welfare, Disability, Politics and People's Right's | Scoop.it

  10. With those convicted or certain crimes, if they are talking about things like rape/GBH I can sort of see the point.Who wants to live next to a rapist after all? But the rest of it is a total outrage and punishes people who get themselves off benifits by getting a decent job, by whacking up their rent and then throwing them out.

    Unpleasent landlords should be shunned. Noone should sell them anything,work for them, ect. That would force them to terms without using physical force. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Boycott

    • it’s a bit unclear which crimes would be included, although they say any benefit fraud along with serious violent crimes against a person or property – including criminal damage, got the feeling it was aimed at teenage rioters

  11. I don’t see those accused of fraud in the property owning private sector having their assets siezed, crime only appears to be punishable to those on the lower end of the social scale with regards to their homes etc.
    I live under a labour run council who are every bit as bad as the tories, my son got a parking fine £60, because of the bad weather he has not been able to lay bricks and is self employed, the council have sent baliffs for payment knowing his circumstances and slapped another £60 to his fine, then they visited him again and put another £60 on, knowing he has no income until the weather improves, they say they can take his paid for car that he needs to get to work to pay for what is now a £200 debt – this is bloody daylight robbery and keeping immoral bully boys in jobs.
    Then we have the banks telling the public they have to find another 25billion to cover toxic debts they write off – WHOSE DEBTS ARE THESE? because you can bet the poorest are hounded forever.

    • There’s the rub though Johnny – the system will inevitably collapse because it is economically unsustainable. It is just like the old Soviet Union – they waste so many resources hounding ordinary people and controlling every facet of our lives that they’re destroying any productive capacity.

      The real question is what will replace it.

  12. Well Nottingham City Council have redefined some bedrooms as “studies”.
    Good for them.
    http://ncclols.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/bedroom-tax-when-is-two-bedroom-flat.html

  13. I would just like to comment that I think this blog is probably amongst the best reading on the internet. The efforts behind it are staggering. Long may it continue.

  14. Gissajob, can I point out that blogpost of mine is all about how Nottm’s attempt to mitigate some effects of the bedroom tax simply isn’t likely to work?

  15. @ulysses re: 3 i have visited a three store and was told i needed a driving licence and or passport for ID ..i dont have either. but ive been told to get a cash card which services as credit card to do the ID thing

  16. re: hammersmith and fulham post homeless i cant quite make out what is being said ..at the beginning it seems to suggest two things (1) the commitment to homeless will be dropped or ‘reframed’ (under localism act) (2) most people are ‘intentionally homeless in order to get council homes’..(that old chestnut,,anyone becoming homeless its a terrifying prospect’)

    • something survived...

      if a woman fleeing a violent man leaves her home she has ‘deliberately made herself homeless’. this rule is bollocks. What if your landlord is perving on you and you have to leave? or the house is full of junkies?

      a girl I used to know said her friend was perved on by one of the lecturers who had a reputation for it, anyway, her friend couldn’t stand it and dropped out of uni as a result, and then they said she left voluntarily so they asked for all the money back. She was not up to testifying, so just wanted to leave quietly and the guy had really messed up her head, so she didn’t know if she’d be any good in court. instead she was made to look like the criminal and had not even made an accusation against him. the perv got to retire on full pay with no marks against his name. I later found out both my female classmates were perved on by the same guy. what a lech. I didn’t know him as the girls went to his class and the rest of us went to a different class. Finally my friend admitted to having been perved on too. she then had a breakdown and dropped out of uni. it wasn’t all the perv’s fault but he was quite a big factor in it.

      If you are on benefits usually there are landlords who DON’T want you to get a job, as their paperwork states that you are unemployed. So getting a job, even a crap job, could get you evicted. And you lose points towards getting council or housing association properties via ‘being deprived’. If you get one they can evict you for getting a job.

      • @something survived how ironic that is..being homeless for having a job..which messes up the whole tory ethic entirely…i wonder if H&F council are aware of this factor?

  17. @Johhny Void so H&F tory councillors are writing to SCHAPPS complaining about councils not giving priority to ‘working’ people…and probbly letting all those feckless idle homeless getting homes..how awful..

  18. http://www.guardian.co.uk/housing-network/2012/feb/07/location-localism-homeless-families-shelter

    Location, location: how localism is shunting homeless families out

    Government guidance should prevent councils from exporting the problem of homelessness to cheaper, poorer areas

    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2011/20/section/149/enacted

    Status:This is the original version (as it was originally enacted)

    .149 Duties to homeless persons: further amendments(1)The Housing Act 1996 is amended as follows.
    (2)In section 188 after subsection (1) insert—
    “(1A)But if the local housing authority have reason to believe that the duty under section 193(2) may apply in relation to an applicant in the circumstances referred to in section 195A(1), they shall secure that accommodation is available for the applicant’s occupation pending a decision of the kind referred to in subsection (1) regardless of whether the applicant has a priority need.”
    (3)In section 195—
    (a)omit subsection (3A), and
    (b)in subsection (4B) for “(3A) to” substitute “(4) and”.
    (4)After section 195 insert—
    “195ARe-application after private rented sector offer(1)If within two years beginning with the date on which an applicant accepts an offer under section 193(7AA) (private rented sector offer), the applicant re-applies for accommodation, or for assistance in obtaining accommodation, and the local housing authority—
    (a)is satisfied that the applicant is homeless and eligible for assistance, and
    (b)is not satisfied that the applicant became homeless intentionally,
    the duty under section 193(2) applies regardless of whether the applicant has a priority need.
    (2)For the purpose of subsection (1), an applicant in respect of whom a valid notice under section 21 of the Housing Act 1988 (orders for possession on expiry or termination of assured shorthold tenancy) has been given is to be treated as homeless from the date on which that notice expires.

  19. http://www.guardian.co.uk/housing-network/2011/jun/17/localism-and-rise-in-homelessness

    The localism bill plans to reduce the rising number of homeless people by giving local authorities more flexibility, but plans to implement fixed-term tenancies on social housing have already been flagged as problematic. Under the new system, local councils could offer set-length renewable contracts with a minimum of two years – tenants could then be evicted at the end of their contracts if their personal circumstances have improved.

    The government argues that the system will open a revolving door of social tenants and should free up housing stock for those who need it most, including the homeless. But a recent report from Heriot-Watt University revealed the true likely outcome of a fixed-term tenancy system by studying the scheme’s effectiveness abroad.

    The report examines an Australian model used in New South Wales and found that fewer than 1% of fixed-term tenancies had actually been terminated by the scheme – a complete reversal of what the government hopes to achieve by freeing up housing stock for the most vulnerable.

    Fixed-term tenancies could also prove costly, as landlords would be forced to undertake lengthy resident reviews every two years. For a government pushing aggressively for reduced unemployment figures, the scheme could become a disincentive for tenants who do not wish to move every two years as the result of an improved income.

    In one of the many contradictions of the bill, tenants who improve their own financial situation could actually make their standard of living worsen, and tenants holding on to their homes will only narrow opportunities for those already made homeless.

    Most worrying for the housing sector is a proposal that removes the right
    of homeless people to reject single offers of short-term accommodation in the private sector. The aim is to reduce homelessness figures and relieve the pressure on councils, which currently have a duty to house homeless applicants if they turn down an offer on a private rented home. Councils could outsource this duty under the localism bill.

    There are deep concerns that those with the greatest needs – those struggling with addiction and mental health problems, victims of domestic abuse and families with young children – will not have their requirements met by widespread substandard accommodation and unsympathetic landlords who have the power to increase rents and terminate contracts.

    Repeat evictions and failed tenancies could also lead homeless people to be considered as intentionally homeless, completely removing their entitlement to support.

    AND H&F councillors write to Schapps complaining that councils are not doing enough to re house working people..and instead helping the ‘idle’..

  20. heres another e petition:
    http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/6182

    Restore Workhouses

    Responsible department: Department for Work and Pensions

    Restore Workhouses for the welfare dependant. A condition of receiving any Welfare Benefit for a period in excess of 12 months should be relocation to a workhouse type secure premises where paid work at a minimum wage must be undertaken. The “Any Work Test” which is already established should be applied to determine the capability of inmates but regardless of ability or disability all should carry out some work in order to pay for their upkeep. Tower blocks and unused government buildings including military camps with appropriate security could be used to house those claiming benefits freeing up housing for the working population contributing to the national economy. Those few claimants receiving Out Relief because they cannot be housed due to lack of accomodation should only receive Food Vouchers and not be paid in cash.

    Number of signatures:
    17
    Created by:
    David Johnson
    Closing:
    08/08/2012 14:00

    “FOOD VOUCHERS” and “freeing up housing for the working population contributing to the national economy.”

    Funny how these ‘not very popular’ petitions seem to be actually happening , weird that eh??

    • something survived...

      what a fascist git.

      Okay, what about families? kids? partners with jobs? caring responsibilities? college? cultural activities? the fact we are human beings?

      ‘Petition to deprive the poor of oxygen,
      By Count Arthur Knobcheese
      -The paupers breathe and this is offensive so should be stopped at once…’

      • @something survived…actually the part about that petition caught my eye was ‘food vouchers’ and ‘freeing up housing for workers’ which oddly enough is going ahead..

  21. Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    here we go ..anything the boss says dont fit …fuck this..

  22. Pingback: Work For Free Or Lose Your Home Say Hammersmith and Fulham Council | the void

  23. Can I point you at the campaign trying to save the Queen Caroline Estate in Hammersmith and Fulham?

    http://handsoffqc.blogspot.co.uk/

    • @DICK L..i read that its truely shocking..btw i posted documents going between SCHAPPS and H&F tories..it was stuff about localism and how tory councillor was furious that other councils were not complying with the localism act which was to prioritise those who ‘contributed to soceity’ and crap about homelessness was self inflicted and those who were homeless were ;intentionallyl’ and that the policy of helping homeless needed to be ‘reframed’..sadly some comments i read on item to do with H&F were supportive pretty much ‘we dont want them oiks in our back yard to devalue our property prices..sad and sick,,,

  24. Thanks Bob. No oiks is about right. I heard that the word “illiterates’ had been used at one point. It’s a tissue of lies and spin from the council but this is the future of social housing. There are plenty of very desirable sites in our cities with these bloody illterates and oiks taking all the best real estate. The petition about the workhouses would be laughable if it wasn’t so scary.

  25. Pingback: Low Paid Workers Will Pay The Price of the Benefit Cap | the void

  26. We’re also seeing the destruction of the West Kensington Estate, to make way for “luxury” housing – Dave Hill has covered it well here: http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/davehillblog+earls-court-project

    Residents were balloted over the development and over 70% responded in the negative – yet the Tories still went ahead and put out a press release stating that most were in favour. Residents have tried to take control of the estate themselves, under legislation brought in under the Tories, but it seems that the Conservatives are very picky about the sort of ‘communities’ they like.

    I grew up on the estate, and my gran still lives there. The entire area (which I still live in) is set to be a building site for twenty years, and at the end of it those residents that have remained will find themselves in glass-and-concrete towers with less room than they have now and surrounded by empty, multi-million pound apartments.

    Meanwhile, the new “high street” envisaged for the development will end up costing the business of the wonderful market on North End Road – there’s already enough boarded up shops along there. Back when I was a kid we had a Marks and a Barber’s department store there.

    The rest of the borough isn’t faring much better – Shepherd’s Bush Market, another real street market, is set to be ‘redeveloped’ into a middle-class ideal of a market, complete with ‘performance spaces’ (whatever they are!) and no doubt places to sip a fucking latte. Meanwhile, above the market they are set to build a tower of, you guessed it, ‘luxury’ flats which will necessitate the compulsory purchase and demolition of the shops either side, including a world-famous fabric shop and the historic pie and mash shop that featured in Quadrophenia.

    Over at Riverside Studios in Hammersmith, where I used to attend a community drama group for local kids, there’s set to be more demolition. Though the Queen Caroline estate seems to have escaped the Tories’ wrath, the Studios themselves will be bulldozed and rebuilt with more ‘luxury’ flats above them. Presumably to match the hideous “Fulham Reach” development just next door (min. price of a flat – a cool million).

    Nearby, at the town hall, the cinema still looks set to be demolished (along with the home for the blind) so more luxury flats can be built.

    Do you see where this borough is going?

  27. Reblogged this on stewilko's Blog and commented:
    Disgusting and disturbing u

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s