Pensioners unwanted by HA landlords – Structural housing poverty emerges!

Why do English housing associations have 56,000 fewer sheltered housing properties today than they did in 2011? Housing for older persons has reduced by 18% since 2011 and boy is the proverbial going to hit the fan!


How can the demographic time-bomb which sees more pensioners and more pensioner housing need also sees  housing associations reducing their housing provision for older persons by 18%?

The answer is housing association greed and abandonment of any semblance of HAs being social landlords.  Housing associations deserve their correct name of private registered providers (PRP) as the facts show they are abjectly commercial and asocial landlords and the opposite of what they deceitfully claim to be.

  • In 2011 PRPs had 320,846 sheltered housing properties in England and this  fell dramatically to 264,594 by 2018 – a fall of 56,252 and almost 18%!
  • In 2011 12.7% of all English PRP properties were sheltered housing and by 2018 that percentage fell to just 9.4%.
  • Do you know that English PRPs now own and manage more shared ownership properties than sheltered housing properties?  266,157 shared ownership ‘products’ and 9.5% of all housing association properties are shared ownership properties.
  • From 2011 to 2018 English PRPs increased their shared ownership properties by 59,824 while their sheltered housing properties fell by 56,252!

HAs have made their priority clear  in filthy lucre over housing need of older persons and these PRPs will seek to cite government policy as explanation and the Tory government wholly forgot sheltered housing tenants claim housing benefit when designing UC as ‘explanation.’ There is some validity in that yet it is still a choice of housing associations to tell the pensioner to UC off which is what the facts reveal PRPs have done and still a wholesale abandonment of the pensioner and social purpose by housing associations. Filthy lucre over older persons housing need.

Universal Credit forgot totally about all forms of supported housing – which includes much of sheltered housing –  when designing UC and from 2011 to 2018 the government tried to cover up this huge error with the LHA maxima cap policy to seek to cap housing benefit in sheltered and supported housing.  In doing so the government made sheltered housing a financial risk too far for housing association bottom lines which does account, in part, for the dramatic fall in HA owned sheltered housing.

Yet however much that can be used as explanation by it can never be excuse for HAs, these purportedly social landlords, abandoning housing for older persons, abandoning social purpose and adopting a crass commercial route which is what housing associations have done.  That is not and never can be called social housing

I have no figures for council landlords and their sheltered housing proportion yet HAs have 72% of what we term social housing in England with 2.8 out of 3.9 million properties so the huge EIGHTEEN PER CENT reduction in sheltered housing properties and abandonment of the pensioner is a very real issue and problem and one that is getting worse by the day, week, month and year.  The Conservative policy of threatening the revenue funding older persons housing by its incompetent UC policy that was then exacerbated by the LHA Maxima Cap policy for seven years till it was abandoned is a major cause of what has now become yet another structural housing crisis of a lack of social housing for older people.  Arses and elbows and crass commercialism over social purpose describe.

  1. How soon will we see homeless hostels specifically for pensioners? 
  2. How soon will we see pensioner rough sleepers?

Those are two questions I thought I would never write yet however distasteful they are regrettably they have now become valid and pertinent questions due to the combination of Tory government policies and the commercial and asocial response of English housing associations to them in prioritising their bottom lines and abandoning the pensioner!

There is also calls this week for housing associations to be regulated by local authorities, and no doubt this will lead to arguments for housing associations to be nationalised and councils taking back control of the circa 1.6 million former council and thus public sector houses they transferred to housing associations and the private sector.  Not before time but the urgency and tet the most important point is the indisputable factual data which shows just how much housing for older persons has reduced by the so-called social landlords of HAs / PRPs who account for 72% of English social housing.

We frequently see reports of pensioner food poverty, pensioner heating poverty yet never do we read about pensioner housing poverty – which is what we now have in England due to asocial landlord greed and has already become a structural problem that has gone unseen – a point substantiated as no projection of future housing need the UK needs includes or mentions more sheltered  housign for older persons

The impacts of the 18% fall in older persons housing by social (sic) landlords will be and are horrific and that factual data matters and requires urgent dissemination and awareness at the highest political tables.  I could detail literally scores of areas this chronic older persons housing shortfall will impact upon and scores more areas I have yet to think about.  However, this data, these facts are not out there being discussed at all. I leave you with the official data below which has passed by the mainstream media and older persons lobbies and Uncle Tom Cobleigh and all and remind that this data comes from HAs to government. It is the facts by their own private asocial hands …

table3sdr 201718


Notes and comments for housing actors and politicians:

I make no comment on HOW official figures reveal that there are 56,000 sheltered fewer older persons housing properties owned by PRPs in England.  It could be that the properties have been ‘repurposed’ into housing for other client groups such as working single persons, a form of gentrification and greater income for PRPs, a better bottom line use of stock … or not.  There are no answers either way that can be given for this 18% reduction as nobody outside of housing associations regulates any such activity and we have and always have had a regulatory deficit.

The only thing that is known and is factual data is the 56,000 reduction over this 7 year period and it is not any statistical aberration or rejigging.  Housing association landlords (PRPs) have said and with absolute validity that the UC incompetence that led to the LHA Maxima Cap policy threat did mean new sheltered housing projects were shelved (and other forms of supported housing too!) Of that there is no doubt.

The apparent increase in other supported housing units this data shows could be and I wstrongly argue to be is reclassification not new build or conversions as the same LHA Maxima Cap threat borne out of the crass incompetence of UC design ignoring all forms of supported housing applied there too.  All that is known is we have 56,000 fewer sheltered housing properties … and the consequences of that are horrific for the housing of older persons in a safe, secure and affordable home.

I am more concerned both personally and professionally of these horrendous impacts than in slating housing associations yet there is no doubt that HAs – more correctly and aptly called PRPs – have chosen the bottom line route over the housing need of older persons route and whatever % of blame should be accorded to them for that is of far less concern than the impacts this will have.

Receently I have criticised all estimates of housing need as being focused on number alone and all of them have no detail on WHO the country needs to build for.  My detailed arguments reveal that the UK needs to build 100,000+ 1 bed properties at a social rent level just for single homeless persons of working age still hold yet now need that 1 bed number of social housing properties at a social rent level needs to be added to for pensioners / older persons.  This makes a mockery of eg the Shelter Commission Report which says the UK needs 155,000 new properties per year and 3.1 million new properties over 20 years for all renting and ownership ‘client groups’ as a total aggregate figure – just as it does for ALL other new housing need estimates too.

UK housing actors be they landlords, house builders and politicians are severely deluded and crassly incompetent in their claimed estimates of new net housing property need and the so-called UK Housing Crisis that all of them talk of and discuss needs an urgent rethink and scrapping of all that has gone before.  New housing supply needs to focus on WHO needs more housing supply not some pissing in the wind total figure – that WHO includes older persons housing as a chronic urgent need as these facts show and hopefully because it reveals how the acutely politically sensitive older persons groups (and votes) are, then something will be done because of that.

It really is time to wake up and smell the coffee!



4 thoughts on “Pensioners unwanted by HA landlords – Structural housing poverty emerges!”

  1. Dear Anonymous,

    You regrettably typify the so-called social landlord in so many typical respects.

    Firstly – you use the term “so-called data and statistics” – when the same data and statistics is official data provided by housing associations to the regulator in SDR. There is nothing ‘so-called’ about it!

    Secondly, such ‘attack the messenger’ tactics of the housing professional who steadfastly refuses to believe the undeniable and irrefutable facts is all too typical of the sector

    Thirdly, you say that this is changing dynamics of older persons housing to explain the 18% fall in it since 2011 citing the move from Cat 1 or Cat 2 sheltered to extra care. That process began way before 2011 and cannot explain this huge reduction of 56,000 properties in England alone and just by HAs in England. Further, as you will be aware many extra care developments were shelved due to the threat of the LHA (Maxima) Cap between 2011 and 2018 so in any case those not one-for-one reductions did NOT take place because extra care developments did not get built.

    Fourth, you give local authorities far more powers than they have in saying you were forced to change by LA dictat – and of course even if this did happen you could (a) say no to them and (b) it means you are one of the 1 in 5 HAs who do develop and thus your views only represent the 20% of HA provider who actually do develop any housing at all.

    Fifth, you also hugely assume that the dynamics of your locale apply across the whole of England – the projection of your HAs circumstances must be the same in all English locales which is truly absurd yet regrettably all too typical of the sector. Is the housing need for sheltered (or any other client group) the same in London as it is in Hull, the same in one part of London from another part of London or even the same need and dynamic across every part of any individual London borough? Of course it isn’t yet you presume it is by projecting your sheltered dynamics and which appear to be within one local authority of 341 LAs in England by your wording to be replicated in all the other 340!

    Sixth and importantly following that point, England has 341 LAs and within each one there will be at least 3 different ‘markets’ each having their own housing variables and dynamics and you ignore this by seeing the Old Kent Road being the same as Mayfair or Park Lane in a perverse Monopoly view. It also means that 341 x 3 or over one thousand different sheltered housing markets exist across England and the ONLY way to make sense of and be aware of the direction of travel – the 18% and 56,000 reduction in older persons social housing number at a time when all admit that we need more social housing for older persons – is to use the national (England) official figures.

    Depersonalising my response, your reply is all too typical of the social housing professional – a view of this is not happening in my neck of the woods so it cannot be happening across England or the UK or whatever area of wider comparison used. The sector has to stop this ridiculous line of defence to any form of criticism however constructive or objective as the national official figures show without ANY doubt. It, the sector, needs to wake up and smell the coffee and the sector needs hugely increased scrutiny of the national picture to avoid the huge surprise that the 18% fall and 56k reduction has seen. Yet when the response is attack the messenger and don’t admit or even contemplate fact on a national scale it just reveals that there is NO housing ‘sector’ but just as rag, tag and bobtail of individual landlords who are content to live in the localised housing bubble and believe it to be reality that happens everywhere else


  2. Sweeping statements that aren’t always true I’m afraid to point out.

    I work in a social landlord and we have been required by the local authority to reduce our sheltered stock by upto 20% as they want to remodel and increase the number of new build extra care type older person accommodation. This is not a one for one approach. We also have sheltered accommodation that is in low demand, not being where older people now want to live.

    Not an issue over profit or older people being unwelcomed in our organisation, just a case of the organisation having to adjust to changing environments and pressure from older people and our local stakeholders.

    Perhaps speak to more providers rather than jump to conclusions through your reliance on ‘so called data’ and ‘statistics’ which often needs to be put in context. Sadly many of your arguments are undermined by the lack of connection to reality.


  3. It’s not only shelter housing Joe, I live in a flat within a small block; until 3 year ago (I think) the properties were designated for 55 and older /disabled. Now they are let to anyone and we have families living in accommodation too small for their needs, and people in need of extra support left abandoned. We older / disabled tenants are now living with the noise and social issues associated; I understand social housing is limited but…


  4. Social Housing ‘Regulation’ ( sic ) is a joke, – meanwhile, incessant regulation on small-scale private landlords providing much-needed accommodation is forcing up rental prices.
    What a pigs-ear the government are making of Housing !


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