Right to Buy, Discrimination?

Aphra

War Hero
Most Local Authorities abrogated their housing stock when the Decent Homes Standard (DHS) was mooted, simply because they didn't have, and couldn't get, the funding to bring the, in some cases, hundreds of thousands of properties up to the DHS.

In most cases, an Arms-Length Management Company (ALMO) was created and, after consultation, housing stock transferred. These ALMO's generally became de facto Housing Associations but all were social landlords. As Housing Associations they were able to apply for grants from the government and from the EU to improve the housing stock to meet the DHS.

Housing Associations may offer the Right to Acquire, which runs along similar lines to Right to Buy but some, mainly those like the Joseph Rowntree Foundation or similar charitable housing providers don't. It's right to say that legacy Housing Associations generally do still offer RTB in the accepted sense.

In terms of discrimination, it could be said that armed services personnel have more support available to them than the average person of the same age would have. I'm thinking here of RBL, SSAFA, Regimental Associations and the numerous other ex-service charities.

@Queensman is quite right, as a licensee, armed services personnel have no right to buy or acquire their service accommodation, nor do they gain transferrable qualifying years towards RTB housing. How would that work? Would personnel in Single accommodation on base be able to gain qualifying years or only those in 'married' quarters? Would the accommodation have to be in the UK/Commonwealth or would anywhere else also qualify? Are you then into the situation where anyone who serves for any length of time is also earning qualifying years, no matter where they live while serving? How would other services be able to find parity? Would police, fire service, ambulance crews, etc etc not also have as good a case to be given what would be preferential treatment? I know some occupations get that already in London and other large cities with shared ownership schemes and the like but would it work elsewhere? Why would, say, a police officer still living at home with parents not also gain qualifying years?

Unfortunately, RTB deprived the country of hundreds of thousands of properties which could have been available to rent. Even more unfortunately, single people without disabilities are very much at the bottom of the priority list when it comes to housing need. Don't fall for the tabloid version where 19 year old Stacey with two kids gets a 3 bed semi with gardens and a garage from the Council. These days, she's far more likely to be 'housed' in B&B accommodation 'temporarily' until a suitable property becomes available, and that may take years and not be in the area, town or even county that she wants.

There's a dearth of single person accommodation exacerbated by the so called Bedroom Tax. My Housing Association has plenty of 2 bedroom flats but few 1 bedroom ones so the option for a single person downsizing just isn't there. And bear in mind that, if unemployed and claiming Local Housing Allowance (rent rebate) the guidelines state that a single person up to age 35, without disabilities would be expected to accept shared accommodation such as a flat/house share. Not something everyone would want to do.

Housing Associations are, in a small way, building new social housing stock but it in no way meets demand. You may know that all new private housing developments in England have to have a proportion of 'affordable' housing to meet Planning guidelines but whether it really is affordable depends very much on who buys, then lets those properties. Most are sold to private landlords who can of course increase rents to more profitable levels.

I don't disagree that the armed services are in many ways a special case but would argue that the limited social housing we have should be allocated, as it currently is, on the basis of need, and a fit, healthy young person leaving the services with a job lined up will have no difficulty finding a place to rent. They should also, if they wish, apply for social housing but must accept that they may wait years (decades in some London Boroughs) to be offered a place.

The simplistic answer would be to stop RTB altogether and build more social housing. I can't see any electable party putting that in its manifesto though.
 
Not necessarily - Link
Unless I'm missing something, that link says you need to be a council tenant.

"Right to Buy allows most council tenants to buy their council home"

and:

"Find out if you’re eligible for Right to Buy

I am a council tenant (or) I was a council tenant when my home was sold to my current landlord"
 
Unless I'm missing something, that link says you need to be a council tenant.

"Right to Buy allows most council tenants to buy their council home"

and:

"Find out if you’re eligible for Right to Buy

I am a council tenant (or) I was a council tenant when my home was sold to my current landlord"

  • you’ve had a public sector landlord (for example, a council, housing association or NHS trust) for 3 years - it does not have to be 3 years in a row
I have no idea what tenants the NHS trust have though :)
 

Aphra

War Hero
  • you’ve had a public sector landlord (for example, a council, housing association or NHS trust) for 3 years - it does not have to be 3 years in a row
I have no idea what tenants the NHS trust have though :)
Not many actual tenants since the 1980's when Regional Health Authorities were responsible for disposing of NHS land and property declared surplus to requirements. That included former hospitals and associated land, former clinic premises and huge numbers of houses which had been allocated as staff accommodation as well as the former nurses accommodation adjacent to most large hospitals. The tenancy agreements then were effectively 'excluded occupier' or tied accommodation agreements so for example termination of employment would result in loss of accommodation which was rather more easy to enforce then.

Although a Crown agency not compelled to follow RTB legislation, it was in reality an easy way for RHA's to meet government targets to divest of often old and unmodernised properties for relatively little cost so RTB guidelines and discounts were adopted. I, personally, drafted and completed the conveyancing on just over £6million worth of property in a 3 year period. This included several smaller hospitals (one with the added difficulty of having several TB carrying deceased horses buried in the land), numerous residential properties (for example an entire crescent of post-war brick built semi's which were originally RAF married quarters).

There was also some truly special property, for example an entirely unmodernised farmhouse and land which had been part of Beatrix Potter's land holding which was bequeathed to the nation and allocated to the NHS upon its inception. The female tenant had steadfastly refused all attempts by the NHS to provide her with electricity, an indoor flushing toilet and septic tank or a boiler for hot water. These refusals all made in letters beautifully hand written by the lady and apologetic in tone for being a bother but reiterating her preference for an earth closet and distrust of boilers as dangerous alchemy. She eventually passed away and the cost of refurbishment would have been astronomical, although the property was immaculately clean and tidy.

As far as I can tell, the occupancy agreements for NHS accommodation nowadays is more like that for student halls of residence; qualifying employment is a requirement and no tenancy rights are conferred. Quite right too, otherwise you'd have a nightmare trying to evict junior doctors or whatever who had failed their internship but refused to leave the subsidised city centre flat their previous employment had provided.

So, not much of an issue these days as the only residential property the NHS owns seems to be flats in hospitals or otherwise unsuitable for disposal under RTB, whatever the legislation says.
 
I am not suggesting they jump any sort of queue (well maybeI am?). I am suggesting that if they meets all the criteria of someone who is in a council house and has the right to buy, are they being discriminated against?

They could be in a council house and leave it to join the Army, then struggle to get any accommodation when they leave 4/5 years later, never mind one they have a tight to buy 3 years after occupying it?
Are you basically saying that the Army hasn't prepared you for life in Civvie Street? Welcome to the real world.
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
Why would, say, a police officer still living at home with parents not also gain qualifying years?
They do provided they apply to join the waiting list. I put both of my sons on the waiting list despite them living at home. Its the only way to ensure the council knows you exist.
 

Aphra

War Hero
They do provided they apply to join the waiting list. I put both of my sons on the waiting list despite them living at home. Its the only way to ensure the council knows you exist.
Yes of course but I read the question by @CAARPS as being that armed services personnel should be able to join the list upon leaving service and gain additional points and 'qualifying years' towards the discount offered in Right to Buy, which was why I raised the point about other services also having the same advantage.
 

anglo

LE
Yes of course but I read the question by @CAARPS as being that armed services personnel should be able to join the list upon leaving service and gain additional points and 'qualifying years' towards the discount offered in Right to Buy, which was why I raised the point about other services also having the same advantage.
If you're moving to Cornwall, and you're not on pension credit, you will never get a council
house. Thus, you will never get the right to buy, and that goes for most councils/housing ass now
I reckon.
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
Yes of course but I read the question by @CAARPS as being that armed services personnel should be able to join the list upon leaving service and gain additional points and 'qualifying years' towards the discount offered in Right to Buy, which was why I raised the point about other services also having the same advantage.
I know but there’s nothing stopping service personnel from joining the queue before leaving either
 

Aphra

War Hero
If you're moving to Cornwall, and you're not on pension credit, you will never get a council
house. Thus, you will never get the right to buy, and that goes for most councils/housing ass now
I reckon.
Yes, my sister lives there (in the house she owns) and her friend, born and raised in Cawsand/Kingsand had great luck when her late partner died a couple of years ago and his children wanted her out of the house so they could sell it. Sister's friend was able to get a very nice little one bedroom Council flat in an older people development but frankly, as a woman in her early 80's I doubt there was much competition from the local older population for the first floor, no lift, flat. She's as fit as fire though and, as she's done her whole life, swims in the sea every morning.

She's well aware of how lucky she is and even though she's now got a new chap in tow, she's not leaving her flat, even for his lovely sea-view bungalow. Yes, she's a slim, very attractive and vivacious woman. No, no pics will be forthcoming.
 

Aphra

War Hero
I know but there’s nothing stopping service personnel from joining the queue before leaving either
I can think of a couple of things that could be problematic:

First, that the prospective tenant might not be available for an in-person viewing, verification of ID and tenancy sign up. That might be mitigated by some sort of statement from the service that Pte Bloggs is the person applying and meets the criteria. Pte Bloggs would still potentially have to take the property 'blind' because the logistics of getting time off to view might not be practicable if he's/she's abroad/otherwise unable to physically get there. HA's don't like to leave property unoccupied (void) for any length of time.

Second, even when a tenancy is offered and begins, most social housing providers have rules regarding leaving property unoccupied. Mine insisted on a Housing Officer visiting the property about 6 weeks after I took possession so they could check that I was actually living there. I'd left a relationship with next to nothing, so I was a bit worried that, although I'd redecorated and had new carpets laid, cooker and washing machine installed, the single armchair and the bed being the only furniture might indicate I wasn't actually resident there full time. Fortunately, she understood the difficulties of my situation so it wasn't a problem.

My neighbour didn't have such a straightforward case though. He'd lived in his flat for many years when he got the opportunity to go to, I think, Afghanistan with the TA. The HA took some convincing because they don't usually permit tenants to leave property unoccupied for more than 3 weeks at a time, barring hospital admissions. They told us it was for fear of squatters moving in. He managed to convince them that with his girlfriend, mother and I all keyholders keeping an eye on the place, that wasn't a realistic likelihood.

I absolutely agree that young recruits who want to return to their home area should register early but I can't see how the issues above could be mitigated to the HA's satisfaction.
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
I enrolled my lads on the council list online, very simple as they won’t need accom unless something drastic changes and that’s when you start the interview process and get emergency housing
 

Mbongwe

War Hero
What's interesting with London council housing lists is that eligibility is predominantly based on which borough you've spent the last five years in, meaning that if you spent the first 40 years of your life in Lambeth but then two years in Brent and three years in Newham, you won't qualify to get on any borough's housing list...
 

anglo

LE
I enrolled my lads on the council list online, very simple as they won’t need accom unless something drastic changes and that’s when you start the interview process and get emergency housing
That won't work down here {Cornwall} you must bid for at least two properties a year,
or you get taken off the housing list.
Not as though there are many houses you would be eligible to get, but you must bid all the same.
The rules change often,
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
That won't work down here {Cornwall} you must bid for at least two properties a year,
or you get taken off the housing list.
Not as though there are many houses you would be eligible to get, but you must bid all the same.
The rules change often,
Thanks Cornwall is a special basket case my Mums place should be used to house a family but until they get a permanent residential place for her it will probably remain empty
 
Are you basically saying that the Army hasn't prepared you for life in Civvie Street? Welcome to the real world.

F*cking “real world” I have seen more of the “real world” in the last 39 years to make your average civvies toes curl in their suburban sleep ^~

Nah I am basically asking a question, seen as we do have a bit of a problem with homeless ex Forces, not all of who are at the forefront of educational achievers or nice family homes when they join.

My pension before I get out of bed in the morning, is circa £16,000 above the average annual salary and over the last 4 decades I have put measures in place to ensure that I will ‘manage’.

But unlike me the Army isn’t for everyone. Some kids get off their Arrse, get out of their sink estates and try something different. They subsequently find the Army isn’t for them (it’s not for everyone), do the minimum time and find themselves back where they came from, minus accommodation.

I raised a question for debate and got some cracking responses, unfortunately some people just can’t help themselves, can they ^~
 
I know but there’s nothing stopping service personnel from joining the queue before leaving either

I joined my council queue in 1984. If they still have a record of me, I would fully expect them to laugh in my face if I tried to claim some sort of need :) :)
 

anglo

LE
Yes, my sister lives there (in the house she owns) and her friend, born and raised in Cawsand/Kingsand had great luck when her late partner died a couple of years ago and his children wanted her out of the house so they could sell it. Sister's friend was able to get a very nice little one bedroom Council flat in an older people development but frankly, as a woman in her early 80's I doubt there was much competition from the local older population for the first floor, no lift, flat. She's as fit as fire though and, as she's done her whole life, swims in the sea every morning.

She's well aware of how lucky she is and even though she's now got a new chap in tow, she's not leaving her flat, even for his lovely sea-view bungalow. Yes, she's a slim, very attractive and vivacious woman. No, no pics will be forthcoming.
There is a one-bedroom bungalow in St Mawgan, the criteria is,

1}Over 55 years of age,
2} homeless,
If no homeless apply, still #1 and,
3} disabled, body or sight.

135 people have applied for it, as of yesterday, it will be near 200 bids on Monday when the bidding stops,
that's because it's near the coast, there is a one flat in Truro with 4 bids.
 
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