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Which goes largely to prove my point, Sweets.

The shortage of affordable housing is being created by buy to rent buying up all the cheaper stuff.

Who are in their turn pushing rents up, which is then being subsidised by the taxpayer.

And all these lovely council houses you want would be paid for and subsidized by the poor old taxpayer?

By all means let housing associations buy property, NOT councils, and give people a decent roof, preferably on a shared ownership basis, whereby they buy a bit each year. Give people a real stake and it won't be a ghetto: the druggies and the nasties will be driven out because people will care. And the druggies will be forced into real rehab and the nasties will have to learn to behave or end up in a tent in a field.

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Wooly, that may be one reason, but its not the only one......there are several villages near here which have plenty of weekend homes in them, that doesn't help either.

A friend of mine lost her husband ( who although past retirement age was still working) suddenly a few months ago. They have rented their house for many years, privately, but now she finds the government help for her is limited to £600 per month, the rent is £1150. The powers that be aren't interested as she is 'adequately' housed so she has had to resort to selling what possessions she can...but soon she'll have nothing of value left.

Even this situation has, so far, not got her any assistance, just being passed from department to department with no practical help or frankly even a sympathetic word.
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RH, not meaning to be unsympathetic but when we retired we could not afford to continue living in SE England and therefore sold up and moved to Lincolnshire where things are cheaper - the cloth has to be cut to suit.
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The difficulty with buy to lets is that those are the properties which ought to be being bought by first time buyers. The government is making things worse in that it's making rentals more expensive than they ought to be by paying housing benefit at too high a rate, giving buy to let owners renturns in excess of 10% especially in poorer areas. If housing benefit was reduced in those parts of the country where there is a high proportion of rented housing, these landlords would have to reduce the rents they are charging, or else would find the investment less attractive and leave the houses to be bought by owner occupiers. 
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[quote user="Pommier"]The government is making things worse in that it's making rentals more expensive than they ought to be by paying housing benefit at too high a rate, giving buy to let owners renturns in excess of 10% especially in poorer areas. [/quote]

IIRC, LHA is now (since April 2011) the 30th percentile of the rent for that size of property for the area. Many private sector landlords do not take LHA-funded tenants.

[quote user="Pommier"]If housing benefit was reduced in those parts of the country where there is a high proportion of rented housing, these landlords would have to reduce the rents they are charging, or else would find the investment less attractive and leave the houses to be bought by owner occupiers. [/quote]

In effect, this is already happening - however, particularly in poorer areas, where property values are NOT going up much, owner-occupier locals still aren't buying.

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[quote user="Pommier"]The difficulty with buy to lets is that those are the properties which ought to be being bought by first time buyers. The government is making things worse in that it's making rentals more expensive than they ought to be by paying housing benefit at too high a rate, giving buy to let owners renturns in excess of 10% especially in poorer areas. If housing benefit was reduced in those parts of the country where there is a high proportion of rented housing, these landlords would have to reduce the rents they are charging, or else would find the investment less attractive and leave the houses to be bought by owner occupiers. [/quote]

I haven't followed the ins-and-outs of this very closely, as it doesn't affect me directly, but I was of the understanding that there used to be more of a problem because if no housing was available through the local authority, families were within their rights to find privately available rented accommodation and then get the local authority to foot the bill: hence the furore in the Daily Wail when someone (of foreign extraction, too, so doubly potent for the newspaper) managed to get Camden council to pay their rent on a swanky place in St John's Wood because the council couldn't offer suitable accommodation. I think that this "loophole" has been, or is in the process of being closed. In my neck of the woods, it would appear to be well nigh impossible for anyone reliant on housing benefit to rent from a private landlord. The house opposite ours, a fairly average (for this area) 4 bed semi was snapped up within days of being put on the rental market at an eye-watering £2500 per month. Mind you, the target market in this area is often professionals or families being subsidised wholly or partly by their employer on a relocation package. Nevertheless, there are plenty of buy-to-lets round here which would never, ever have been sold to first-time buyers even if the buy-to-let landlords hadn't bought them. There's also a captive student market down the road in Egham, home of London University's Royal Holloway College. You should see the rents that are being charged to students. Buying a property to rent to students in any University town is a license to print money, and judging from our second son's experience of this in Reading, you can let a property with rats, dodgy electrics and in a pretty nasty condition for ridiculously high rents, make it a HMO  and cram five or six students into a 3 bedroom house. Private (i.e. non-student) tenants are also therefore less attractive to landlords than students, as a long-term tenant will be more demanding and produce lower returns.

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[quote user="Pommier"]The government is making things worse in that it's making rentals more expensive than they ought to be by paying housing benefit at too high a rate, giving buy to let owners renturns in excess of 10% especially in poorer areas.[/quote]

Well I am not sure where 10% comes from as the average is around 6 or 7% going up to nearly 8% (well so close you might as well say 8%). Getting above 8% is not the norm and 10% well you would have to be incredibly lucky these days. Buying to let as an investment is often done using loans, why use your own money when you can use somebody elses. That said they still offer a better return than putting your money in a savings account.

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[quote user="Quillan"]

[quote user="Pommier"]The government is making things worse in that it's making rentals more expensive than they ought to be by paying housing benefit at too high a rate, giving buy to let owners renturns in excess of 10% especially in poorer areas.[/quote]

Well I am not sure where 10% comes from as the average is around 6 or 7% going up to nearly 8% (well so close you might as well say 8%). Getting above 8% is not the norm and 10% well you would have to be incredibly lucky these days. Buying to let as an investment is often done using loans, why use your own money when you can use somebody elses. That said they still offer a better return than putting your money in a savings account.

[/quote]

In large parts of SE England, you'd be lucky to be getting 4-5% if you are buying now. And that's GROSS: before maintenance etc.

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[quote user="PaulT"]RH, not meaning to be unsympathetic but when we retired we could not afford to continue living in SE England and therefore sold up and moved to Lincolnshire where things are cheaper - the cloth has to be cut to suit.[/quote]

I would agree, however there are two of you. Just what would be achieved by a 65 year old widow moving away from family and friends who might in a few years be a support?

In fact my friend has looked at moving to a cheaper area, but when you are on benefit its not that easy.
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[quote user="Pommier"]The difficulty with buy to lets is that those are the properties which ought to be being bought by first time buyers. The government is making things worse in that it's making rentals more expensive than they ought to be by paying housing benefit at too high a rate, giving buy to let owners renturns in excess of 10% especially in poorer areas. If housing benefit was reduced in those parts of the country where there is a high proportion of rented housing, these landlords would have to reduce the rents they are charging, or else would find the investment less attractive and leave the houses to be bought by owner occupiers. [/quote] Perhaps you'd like to try and find accommodation for my friend in this area on what the government allow, oh and if you live in a cheaper area your housing benefit goes down accordingly...... If housing benefit was reduced where on earth would people go...because other friends of mine sold their buy to let when the council changed the parameters....even less housing available to let....
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[quote user="Russethouse"][quote user="Pommier"]The difficulty with buy to lets is that those are the properties which ought to be being bought by first time buyers. The government is making things worse in that it's making rentals more expensive than they ought to be by paying housing benefit at too high a rate, giving buy to let owners renturns in excess of 10% especially in poorer areas. If housing benefit was reduced in those parts of the country where there is a high proportion of rented housing, these landlords would have to reduce the rents they are charging, or else would find the investment less attractive and leave the houses to be bought by owner occupiers. [/quote]

Perhaps you'd like to try and find accommodation for my friend in this area on what the government allow, oh and if you live in a cheaper area your housing benefit goes down accordingly......

If housing benefit was reduced where on earth would people go...because other friends of mine sold their buy to let when the council changed the parameters....even less housing available to let....[/quote]My sympathies to your widowed friend. What a horrid situation for anyone to fetch up in.

IMO the root cause of the problem is the shortage of affordable housing  in the UK especially in the SE. I see no easy or quick solution to this problem  especially with the current austerity. Surely it isa basic human right to have a decent place to live in.

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Hindsight is a wonderful thing but it was an obvious folly not to allow the funds from council house sales in the 80's and 90's to go into building replacement affordable housing stock.

As a solution to the current housing shortage the government should be building affordable rental properties on brownfield sites via either LA's or Housing Associations. This would boost the construction industry and the economy in general. It's all very cutting spending but by this government's own admission it will be several more years before the UK economy has any decent growth.

In addition the obsession with owning your own home has to end with renting not seen as the poor man's choice.
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[quote user="DraytonBoy"]Hindsight is a wonderful thing but it was an obvious folly not to allow the funds from council house sales in the 80's and 90's to go into building replacement affordable housing stock.

As a solution to the current housing shortage the government should be building affordable rental properties on brownfield sites via either LA's or Housing Associations. This would boost the construction industry and the economy in general. It's all very cutting spending but by this government's own admission it will be several more years before the UK economy has any decent growth.

In addition the obsession with owning your own home has to end with renting not seen as the poor man's choice.[/quote]

Interesting you should say that. For the last umpteen years, one of our closest friends has been employed by one of the UK's major house building companies. His role is to acquire - mostly brownfield -sites for the construction of housing. It is part of the requirement of such acquisitions that a proportion of the housing stock built should be affordable housing. AFAIK, it's been a requirement since 1996. In fact, whilst househunting, I've stumbled across a number of new (or relatively new) developments where there are houses costing well in excess of £500K sitting side by side with affordable housing, built on brownfield sites.The government itself doesn't build houses, of course. It just imposes requirements on private builders to ensure that they comply. The proportion of affordable housing required on any development is governed by the overall value of the development.

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[quote user="Russethouse"][quote user="PaulT"]RH, not meaning to be unsympathetic but when we retired we could not afford to continue living in SE England and therefore sold up and moved to Lincolnshire where things are cheaper - the cloth has to be cut to suit.[/quote] I would agree, however there are two of you. Just what would be achieved by a 65 year old widow moving away from family and friends who might in a few years be a support? In fact my friend has looked at moving to a cheaper area, but when you are on benefit its not that easy.[/quote]

I do not see what difference there being two of us is. Neither of us are of state retirement age and my OH only receives a small occupational pension.

Some of those who are living in rented housing in the desirable parts of London for which the rent is several thousand pounds per month and until recently all paid by the LA say that is where they need to live. However, others, who are not living off of the state cannot afford to live in those sorts of places and to my mind it is very fair that payments are now capped.

The harsh reality of a 65 year old widow moving away is that she would be somewhere where rents can be afforded. There is no guarantee that she will require support from family and friends in a few years time - they could provide that now by letting her live with them now.

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[quote user="Russethouse"]So who pays the rent when people retire? My feeling is we are making a time bomb where all the people who can't afford the greater deposits required now will be a burden on the state in 30 to 40 years time......[/quote]

Ah, the political ploy, do things today and let those who come along later pick up the pieces.

The building of hospitals using PFI is just such a thing. Hospital trusts now find that the rent payments are so high that in some cases they are no longer economically viable.

But some people have adopted the way of governments - do not think about tomorrow. I vividly remember the words of one of two people coming up for retirement, doing the same job and hence pay when I started work, and I quote:

'Because he has pi55ed his money up against the wall all his life when he retires he will get all sorts of handouts whereas I have been careful and saved all my life will get nothing'.

The government is now putting emphasis on people having non state pensions and hopefully this will make a difference.

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[quote user="PaulT"]

[quote user="Russethouse"][quote user="PaulT"]RH, not meaning to be unsympathetic but when we retired we could not afford to continue living in SE England and therefore sold up and moved to Lincolnshire where things are cheaper - the cloth has to be cut to suit.[/quote] I would agree, however there are two of you. Just what would be achieved by a 65 year old widow moving away from family and friends who might in a few years be a support? In fact my friend has looked at moving to a cheaper area, but when you are on benefit its not that easy.[/quote]

I do not see what difference there being two of us is. Neither of us are of state retirement age and my OH only receives a small occupational pension.

Some of those who are living in rented housing in the desirable parts of London for which the rent is several thousand pounds per month and until recently all paid by the LA say that is where they need to live. However, others, who are not living off of the state cannot afford to live in those sorts of places and to my mind it is very fair that payments are now capped.

The harsh reality of a 65 year old widow moving away is that she would be somewhere where rents can be afforded. There is no guarantee that she will require support from family and friends in a few years time - they could provide that now by letting her live with them now.

[/quote] Well the very obvious difference is that you have each other. In addition as each local authority only pays rent allowance at the rate for their area she may be no better off. We've already seen the social effects of Norman Tebbits get on your bike attitude....lets not extend that to pensioners.
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It's interesting, isn't it.  On the one hand, there's something to be said about people moving away from London to rural Lincolnshire, but the caveat is that it's probably an option best suited to those who do not need to find work. Perhaps that also extends to not needing to find friends, or companionship: much more difficult in some rural areas, as people living in France have also discovered.

For people of working age with young children, I can see the arguments for them 'needing' to live in a certain place. Children settled in schools, access to a family network for childcare (another area where the word prefix 'affordable' has also become practically an oxymoron) and not least, access to jobs, or at least access to a better chance of employment.

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I was just wondering RH why the husband was still working even though he was retired? Was it part time work to keep him occupied, he simple liked working and having something to do or did he have to work to pay the bills (namely the rent)? Did he have a private pension as well as a state one?
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 He kept working to pay the bills, he had a chequered employment history and was self employed for the latter years at least.....he was a bit of a dreamer, something was always going to turn up...and often it did, enough to keep him out of trouble anyway......

His lack of thought as to the future for his wife (despite it being pointed out) has made it very difficult to grieve.....

Betty, I agree, my OH still works and my father worked, part time, until he was 76, because he enjoyed it and his talents were appreciated by his employer. (Or maybe my father just wanted to get away from my mother for a few hours a day, which is entirely possible [;-)] )

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[quote user="Russethouse"]

 He kept working to pay the bills, he had a chequered employment history and was self employed for the latter years at least.....he was a bit of a dreamer, something was always going to turn up...and often it did, enough to keep him out of trouble anyway......

His lack of thought as to the future for his wife (despite it being pointed out) has made it very difficult to grieve.....

[/quote]

So this is another case of the difference between my two ex-colleagues and another person who, by the sound of it has metaphorically pi55ed his money up the wall and now expects the state, i.e. the taxpayer to bail out his wife.

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I can understand why you say that, but in fact he was very hard working. A couple of times he had his own businesses and was an employer, but those businesses ultimately were not successful. His fault was being over optimistic, not being lazy, and I suspect he was not alone in that.

The fact is that he paid in all his life, which is more than some do, and now his widow needs some help, which is not forthcoming.

Housing is not the only area where people who seem to contribute less get more, my mother had to spend all of her savings before getting help. In addition the care agencies are not paid particularly well by local authorities and charge private clients more to make up the shortfall, so if you have tried to make provision you are obliged to pay twice to help those unable or unwilling to help themselves.
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And as we are now talking about rents, I'll bring this round to LBF![:D]

There had been talk that the government wanted to reduce rents, including on private properties. And today it was announced that they were going to get the Prefets to work out a maximum rent per area and then the rents cannot go above that for a basic let. Extras could bump up the rent, legally, ie a proper balcony or garden, or furnished property.

Needless to say that many property owners are against this, but affordable housing in France is hard to find, and this will help.

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