Monday, 22 November 2010

Speculation over Housing Tenancy Changes...

Being a Tenant of a Social Landlord, this is of significant interest on how the Landlords and Community structures will work upon proposals implementation.
I noticed ONE glaring Guardian statement that was made yesterday, that wasn't included in the governments statements. Read on...

The Guardian Said Yesterday:

Councils are to be given powers to evict or transfer new tenants after as little as two years if their financial circumstances improve, under plans to be unveiled tomorrow.
The proposals would also allow councils greater freedoms to give social housing to people with a strong local connection to the area where they live. In some cases councils are also likely to give preference to the poor in work, as opposed to the unemployed.
The plans are being billed as a way of putting immigrants to the back of waiting lists, although they will still be given a right to accommodation if homeless. Labour claims it had already introduced the local connection rule.
The chief reform, which will end lifetime security in council housing, is likely to be divisive within the coalition.
David Cameron had said in the summer he wanted to end life tenancies for council homes to make way for contracts of five or 10 years for new tenants.
But the period floated by Cameron is now going to be cut back to just two years, so tenants whose financial circumstances have improved could be evicted with six months notice to leave.
At present, people given council homes are awarded an indefinite "secure tenancy" after a 12-month trial.
The danger with the policy is that it will work as a disincentive for a tenant to find well-paid work, since they will lose tenancy.
But Grant Shapps, the housing minster, argues that council homes are an under-used asset, being taken up often by those not in need.
Shelter said tonight the two-year tenancy showed naivity about how quickly people can get back on their feet, and claimed it was the latest in a long line of housing reforms that are beginning to feel like deliberate attacks on council tenants.
The shakeup represents the biggest set of changes to council homes for 30 years, and apparently flies in the face of protests from Simon Hughes, the Liberal Democrat deputy leader.
He told a meeting of the Defend Council Housing at Westminster last month: "The last thing we want is more insecurity. You can't say it builds up community cohesion to threaten the last bit of security in tenants' lives. People and communities need that security."
But the reforms are strongly supported by the Lib Dem minister in the department of communities, Andrew Stunnell. He argues there are 5 million people on council house waiting lists, and current policies have not worked.
Shapps will also end the right of a council house tenant to 
hand the property over to a member of their family when they 
die.
According to figures obtained from the department of communities under the Freedom of Information Act, it is estimated that in 2007-08 there was a cumulative total of around 90,000 successor tenants still living in the accommodation after the death of the original tenant. Of these 90,000, 40,000 took over the tenancy after 1997.
Shapps also plans to give councils powers to reject applications from anyone also applying for a home from another council to stop multiple applications.
In other reforms, councils and housing associations will also be able to charge rent of up to 80% of the market rate so that they can raise money to buy new properties.
The changes that apply to England are planned to come into force next year, but would only have a gradual impact since they apply only to new tenancies.
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Which is all well and good if you believe that this wont harm 
communities. 
The official Press Release TODAY from Grant Schapps says 
the following:
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New council and social housing tenants in England will not necessarily keep their homes for life, housing minister Grant Shapps has said.
He said normal tenancy agreements would be for five, 10, 20 years or even a lifetime, but local organisations should have the freedom to see what worked in their areas.
He is expected to outline the details of his proposals to MPs.
Mr Shapps stressed that his proposals would not affect existing tenants. He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "We need to start to resolve some of the problems, build more homes and actually help people.
"What we are creating is a new form of tenancy and affordable rent which is going to be significantly more protected than the private rented sector. There's no reason why a home in future should always be the home for life. You don't get that in the private sector."
He went on: "The norm is very likely to be quite a significant-length tenancy, five, 10, 20 years or a lifetime." The most vulnerable will be protected under the reforms, he said.
Mr Shapps spoke of the need for reform of the system to help an estimated five million people on the waiting list for social housing.
"The need for reform is just overwhelming, there has been a sort of... a lazy consensus in this country which has led to fewer affordable homes being created," he told BBC Breakfast.
"A system where the waiting lists have just doubled over the last 13 years and people are just sitting back and saying 'well, let's have more of the same'. If we do, we will have waiting lists double again."
Prime Minister David Cameron has already said he wants an end to council tenancies for life and the introduction of fixed-term contracts of "five or 10 years".

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