The rude health & flagrant dishonesty of housing associations

UK housing associations are not charitable and benevolent and riddled with social purpose: They are scheming liars who rip off the social tenant which they do in spades!

You would be forgiven in thinking the above is the start of a wild polemic yet it is not.  It a statement of the obvious and only conclusion from the facts.  There is no ulterior motive from me and frankly I am sick and tired of reporting how dishonest housing associations are in their known lies which makes me read like an apologist for the far more honest private landlord!

Anyone who vaguely knows me knows I am passionate about what social housing could and should be and I feel dirty in being a housing professional and reporting the fact that housing association (and some council) landlords are grubby money grabbers relentlessly shafting the financially marginalised and thus vulnerable social tenant.

Last week I came across a report from Unite the Union referencing the credit ratings agency Moodys and how Moodys report the financial health of housing associations.


You can see why the union is using this for wage increase purposes obviously yet my purpose is simply the facts as found by Moodys which I have highlighted.

  • A 15.6% increase in surpluses – at a time of moan moan moan over the alleged and ethereal 1% imposed rent cut that has increased actual rental income by £1.45 billion to housing associations (see here)
  • A 6.6% cut in staffing costs – the many redundancies housing associations have made citing the ethereal 1% cut as justification
  • Operating margins at 29% – which is ‘significantly higher’ than private housing developers one  of whom Persimmon recently awarded its CEO a £128 million bonus!

Be in no doubt housing associations are in rude financial health and I further reference this Inside Housing article from last week which stated housing associations have made a 14% cut in repairs to social tenants and yes you’ve guessed it from the same errant premise of the 1% rent reduction that sees £1.73 billion more in rental income!

It is unheard of for me to quote scripture but as it is Christmas time 1 Timothy 6:10 springs to mind to oh so correctly state what housing associations have become :

For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

The relentless pursuit of more rent money and relentless shafting of the social tenant!

All social landlords councils but especially housing associations have been overtly pursuing the love of increased money and in doing so (a) they have created huge sorrows including their continued existence and (b) they have been overtly dishonest in seeking to cover this up. And of course they have erred from the faith and social purpose as the term it chooses to use.

  1. From perennially increasing rents way above inflation on often the most vulnerable the social landlords have clearly pursued more money.  No pun intended but precisely why do housing associations see above inflation increases in rents as their God-given right?
  2. When the Government stopped giving them ‘subsidy’ they charged the tenant even more with the affordable (sic) rent model to (more than) make up this shortfall.
  3. Then Government imposed an alleged 1% rent reduction which saw these same social landlords increase their rent by £1.731 billion.
  4. Then social landlords lobbied intensely for a return to inflation busting rent increases which the same Government proposed to allow (subject to consultation) yet those increases will mean the most financially disadvantaged prospective and typical social housing customer is barred from renting on affordability grounds revealing this loss of faith (and business stupidity to boot!)

Yet housing associations cry poverty and scream social purpose with every glossy PR announcement which is delusional and known lies from them.  They also did not give a flying fig for the social tenant and are wholly devoid of any claimed social purpose or ethos as the abovefacts reveal.

They adopt the tell a lie often enough and people believe it to be fact strategy and ever so successfully as the facts above reveal.  Snake oil salesman have nothing on housing associations as known deceivers.  Only this morning another brainwashed social housing professional tweeted in reply to a similar post to this and said:

It’s fair to hold social landlords to account for rent levels but worth noting that for many social landlords all ‘profit’ goes towards supply of new housing. Ok ok not social rents currently which is another problem… but that is not a contribution the PRS makes..

Where is this claimed reinvestment?  It is not in increased new housing or on repairs to upgrade existing housing and it is not in higher staff wages is it? The above facts prove this.  It is only in housing association’s rudely increased ‘profits’ or surpluses to be correct.

The PRS does not reinvest?  So how come they have fuelled a buy-to-let boom and developed 2.5 million more housing units since 2000 which is 150,000 or so per year and 100,000 more per year than the highest ever housing association output then?  That fact is recorded in the English Housing Survey which you can see here (pdf) and is only for England so the UK position will be higher still.  The private landlord reinvests far more than the social landlord is a shameful reality as the pesky numbers reveal!

You see what I mean about reading like a private landlord apologist now don’t you – which is necessary to expose the prevailing myth of the inculcated social housing professional! The myth that social landlords reinvest and that private landlords do not sees a factual reality of all the evidence pointing to the reverse of that mythical posit!

The private landlord is honest and transparently admits that the profit motive is what drives them and they are commercially oriented.  Yet housing associations, who are correctly termed PRIVATE Registered Providers, do all they can to deny they are the exact same and their model too is all about screwing the tenant for as much as they can get out of them.  Housing associations are dishonest and disingenuous if they claim otherwise.




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