The £0.6 billion added yearly cost of affordable (sic) rent by ersatz social landlords

Affordable?

Official figures released last week reveal English housing associations secured £0.6 billion in additional yearly rental income by choosing to operate the affordable rent regime over the social rent model. Almost 290,000 English HA tenancies each were £40 per week more than the social rent level to accrue with some £604 million more in rent charged and received.

The data reveals the average social rent level of £92.84 across England and an average affordable (sic) rent level of £132.86 per week

This is enough in revenue subsidy alone to deliver 12,000 new social rent level homes each with £50,000 of revenue subsidy recycled into capital subsidy yet just a third of that number were built at 4,240.

The affordable (sic) rent regime penalises the most vulnerable housing tenant by charging 43% more than in the social rent model and fails to meet its principal political aim of giving housing associations more in subsidy to develop more and much needed genuinely affordable properties.

The affordable (sic) rent regime also has a systemic and perverse financial incentive for social (sic) landlords to evict existing tenants paying just the social rent level of rent so they can be replaced the next week with the 43% higher affordable (sic) rent model and which is quantified at this £604 million per year.

£0.6 billion per year more in rental income is one hell of a financial incentive for English housing associations to evict the SR tenants and replaces with AR tenants and sees these ersatz social landlords live up to their correct name of PRIVATE Registered Providers the name given by the Regulator of Social Housing who calls council landlords as just Registered Providers.

The affordable (sic) rent level is set at 80% of gross market rent and it has always been the case that where Local Housing Allowance (LHA) reflects 79% or less of gross market rent that PRP and RP landlords would receive more in housing benefit than the private landlord can receive in the maximum LHA – and all AR properties can receive 100% of rent paid by housing benefits which includes Universal Credit housing cost element.

What the official facts and irrefutable data reveal is:

  1. The affordable rent regime is not affordable
  2. The affordable rent regime is not the same as social rent yet often conflated
  3. The affordable rent regime is a cash cow for ersatz social landlords
  4. The affordable rent regime sees social (sic) landlords receive more in housing benefit than the private landlord can receive
  5. The affordable rent regime does NOT see the extra rent received be recycled into more new social housing properties by ‘social’ landlords.

These are just some of the aspects of the affordable (sic) rent regime but what of its impacts and consequences?

Homelessness is greatly disadvantaged by the AR regime.

The huge official SDR dataset reveals (as it has done for many years) that PRP landlords in Liverpool for example can receive more in housing benefit than PRS landlords there can receive in maximum LHA and Liverpool is one of three Housing First large scale pilot areas which sees the homeless-escape property being the 1 bed social housing property as that is what the much hyped Housing First model is 100% dependent upon.

PRP landlords in Liverpool (which has no RP landlord) can and do choose to allocate their very scarce 1 bed properties to the lowest risk tenants as why would they take the risk of allocating to the highest risk and complex need rough sleeper HF client for £74 per week in average social rent when then can receive between £95 to £106 per week for the lowest risk tenant in affordable rent which the official SDR figures reveal? [The max 1 bed LHA in Liverpool is £90.90 pw]

28% to 43% more in rent for allocating to a much lower risk tenant is what the affordable rent regime manifests and the AR regime and policy is seen to fundamentally work against the Housing First theory and model. It is bad enough that Liverpool has just 16% of its SRS housing stock being the 1 bed when the English average is 25% of all housing stock meaning Liverpool has on average 2 one-bed SRS properties for every 3 in the average English locale 0 again another SDR fact known for decades – without the AR regime fundamentally working against the 1-bed homeless-escape properties needed for the Housing First model or indeed the hostel resettlement model.

Current government housing and homeless policy means the right-hand does not know what the left-hand is doing and is also increasing the practise of No DSS within social housing by allowing the 43% higher AR rent level meaning far more applicants are hit with a housing benefit cut by the overall benefit cap policy so far more benefit-households are refused social housing in the first place.

We still see social housing lobbies, homeless lobbies, the Labour Party and even left-wing homeless and housing activists calling for more affordable housing believing this means social rent when it does not and means 43% higher rents on average. Those same actors still focus on the nasty PRS while ignoring the nasty and ersatz social landlords called Private Registered Providers and whose PR propagandist arms have seemingly higher budgets than its repairs departments to propagate the myth of being social and imbued with charitable social ethos and purpose.

The irrefutable facts of the yearly huge official SDR dataset which is provided by the social rented sector landlords themselves do not support that social purpose or ethos and only support ever greater commercial focus of ersatz landlords hiding behind the label of social and living up to their correct PRIVATE Registered Provider name.

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The huge SDR dataset can be sourced here and released 26 October 2021

Rough sleeping numbers DOUBLE under Finland’s Housing First

UK Housing First advocates laud this model for reducing rough sleeper numbers in Finland and cite this as why the UK must adopt the HF model yet the number of rough sleepers in Finland more than doubled from 2018 to 2019 and in 2020 increased further to see Finland’s rough sleeper number now back where it was a decade ago in 2011.

The significance of Finland is the vociferous UK lobby for the Housing First model always cite Finland as the epitome of success in reducing rough sleeper numbers. It hasn’t worked. The UK has a huge number of HF advocates who promote the HF model in absurdist hyperbole akin to a cult with a smattering of anti-vaxxer thrown in as they refuse to accept either logic or fact and who … conveniently … forget to mention that rough sleeper numbers in Finland have more than doubled in official figures from the Finnish government ARA department.

Ten years ago in 2011 Finland had 1,221 yearly rough sleepers which fell to 512 in 2018 and now in 2020 is 1,210 and a simple chart below from the official ARA figures reveals this:

Official Finnish Data

Crisis, other homeless lobbies and both the Conservatives and Labour have the Housing First model as policy and have long stated that as it works in Finland it therefore must work in the UK which is a crass non-sequitur; as is to say that Finland has massively reduced homelessness therefore that must be down to the Housing First model given the HF model ONLY addresses (some but not all) single homeless households and does not apply to homeless families with children and at best can only address single homelessness not family homelessness.

As I posted here last week even if the Housing First model is fully scaled up to its 16,450 finite capacity and works at 100% efficiency it will only cater for 0.5% of all yearly homeless persons in England and not be operable for the other 99.5% of homeless persons in England.

The HF model can never end homelessness and in England its finite capacity called for by Crisis and the CSJ think tank will only deal with 10% of rough sleepers at a support only cost of £150m per year that would mean £1.5 billion in support funding would be needed just for the Housing First model to cater for just the roofless rough sleeper number in England with the rent cost being additional to that. Those figures also assume no increase in roofless rough sleepers caused by Brexit, the pandemic arrears to eviction to homeless pathway or the recession that England is currently experiencing.

CSJ Close to Home report authored by Crisis senior policy officer Sarah Rowe

In almost 30 years of working in homelessness I fully support the aims of the Housing First model to make housing a (legal and) human right which it isn’t and to see every single homeless person and cohort who needs support to escape homelessness be guaranteed a right to help them escape it. Support and support funding is 100% discretionary and not a right at all in England and never has been. That needs to change just to try to end single homelessness yet just the cost of that and only for England’s rough sleepers would come to the circa £1.5 billion pa figure I mention above and extended to all single homeless cohorts would be a minimum of £5 billion per year just for support funding.

When the Tories policy says they will end rough sleeping by 2024 they are talking through their hat. When Crisis, Homeless Link and other homeless lobbies say we can end homelessness they too are talking through their hat whilst sitting on their elbows. When the Labour Party adopts the Housing First model as policy we see the shadow housing secretary Lucy Powell talking out of her hat and so does Andy Burnham, Steve Rotheram and Andy Street the three metro mayors in whose areas the Housing First pilots are ongoing.

Whilst Crisis still provides the secretariat for the APPG Homeless committee we will see no scrutiny of the panacea they claim the Housing First model to be. While social (sic) landlords offer up just 11,000 of the 1 bed SRS properties per year (in official CORE data 2019/20) which the Housing First model is entirely dependent upon as these are the only permanent and unconditional properties that the model can use with these two central tenets then the HF model is an inevitable failure and Cloud Cuckoo Land reality in England.

Whilst the great and the good of the social rented sector such as CIH, NHF, Shelter and others assert that England only needs 90k to 130k new SRS properties of all shapes and sizes when it needs that number alone of 1 bed SRS properties at the social rent model just to stop single homelessness increasing … never mind reducing then single homelessness cohorts whether rough sleeper, hostel dweller, care leaver, prison leaver or single women in domestic abuse refuges are well and truly shafted.

When the official data in the English Housing Survey 2018/19 published July 2020 says England has a further 463,000 single homeless individuals who sofa surf in 386,000 homes of other persons each year and that over 92% of them are unknown to local councils (Annex Table 1.19) then every local authority homeless strategy written by every English council is not worth the paper it is written on as 427,000 single homeless sofa surfers rehousing needs are a factor not considered in them. And while Crisis assert England has just 71,400 total yearly sofa surfers when the EHS official data including the 155,000 homeless sofa surfing households with children are included England has circa 850,000 homeless men, women and children who ‘sofa surf’ we find and in official data published by government that England has 12 times the number of homeless sofa surfers than Crisis estimate.

EHS 2018/19 official data on homeless ‘sofa surfers’

If you think that England can ever end homelessness when its leading actors pay scant regard even to official data and fact as to the scale of homelessness then you may as well believe that the Housing First model will end homelessness and probably believe that drinking bleach will cure Covid-19 too!

Just how low can social (sic) landlord propaganda go?

There can be surely nothing more redolent of the faux-social nature of ‘social’ landlords than Magenta Living (the former Wirral MBC council housing) seeking kudos and acclaim for rehousing ten (10) former single homeless persons in 40 months!

WTF is ‘social purpose’ supposed to mean when self-congratulating oneself for rehousing 1 homeless person every 4 months is purported good practice and worthy of praise!!! It is like claiming Mussolini was a good chap and worthy of praise for making the trains run on time (a myth anyway) and ignoring the rest of his actions.

However it gets far worse than this when we barely scratch the surface as the rehousing of just 1 former homeless (and not necessarily roofless rough sleeper) every 4 months was for single homeless persons who attracted a lot more money to pay for their support under the Housing First model and LCR pilot – support funding that is not available ordinarily for the 150,000 minimum single homeless persons England has each year as the support funding (on top of the rent) is entirely 100% discretionary. So 1 every 4 months but only if there is additional funding .. how very ‘social’ of you Magenta Living!!

Let’s look at the Magenta tweet seeking kudos and acclaim

Ten in total since the LCR pilot began in May 2018 over 3 years ago and woop woop with a 100% sustainability rate! I shall decode this for you so you can see this is propaganda that Goebbels would be proud of, as presumably would his pal Benito Mussolini be too!

How many single homeless persons, whether rough sleepers or homeless hostel dwellers did Magenta Living had to choose these ten persons from over the best part of three and a half years?

Wirral has at least 200 single homeless hostel dwellers at any point in time and all need and qualify for a one-bedded property to escape their homeless hostel state. So lets say the average length of stay in a hostel is six months there for illustration purposes and that is 400 single homeless hostel dwellers per year which equates to 1400 single homeless hostel dwellers in Wirral which Magenta Living could have rehoused in the three and a half year time frame.

They rehoused 10 or put another way did NOT rehouse and end the state of single homelessness for 99.993% of single hostel dwellers in Wirral over this time with the Housing First offer.

Dearie me and I was believing the Housing First hype that a house is provided firstly AND on an unconditional basis … which Magenta Living incredulously seek to assert in their news release referenced in the tweet above.

So offering a home FIRST from their 13000 or so properties is reduced to 3 per year. Hmm! Magenta own and manage the majority of all social housing in Wirral (over 60% of all SRS housing) by virtue of being gifted all of the former council housing there so the relevance is there for all to see for this monopolistic social (ahem) landlord.

In rehousing this tiny number you can rest assured that Magenta Living have cherry-picked these 10 persons since May 2018 very very carefully. This is an all too regrettable issue in all claims for the Housing First model in the LCR pilot of which Magenta Living is part and the other two large-scale HF pilots in Manchester and the West Midlands.

The Housing First model and theory is as its name suggests to rehouse ALL single homeless persons firstly and on an unconditional basis which clearly excludes cherry-picking and is an issue right across the UK as this theory is unobtainable hogwash (and any other euphemism for absolute total unworkable bullshit!) Yet Magenta choose to see and promote this acute and extreme subjective selectivity as the Ronseal position doing what it says on the tin!

In the Scottish Government large-scale Housing First pilot it took an average of 149 days to find a suitable one-bedded property so calling it Housing FIRST is a chronic misnomer. It also revealed in Edinburgh that 77% of Housing First ‘customers’ were not roofless rough sleepers at all but were housed immediately prior to Housign First ‘acceptance.’

The English large-scale pilots had a purported evaluation report a month ago which revealed it could take up to a year to actually find a ‘Housing First (sic)’ one-bedded property and this tome of a report never stated any average time or any other material data to be evaluated at all in any of the three large-scale pilot areas of which Magenta Living is part of the LCR large-scale pilot. In short the Housing First model and theory anywhere in the UK or worldwide is nothing but a sham that cannot reduce homelessness let alone end or solve it

However what we have here apart from the sham and charade that is Housing First is just how low those we call social landlords go to assert they are social and imbued with social purpose and all other examples of the word social used as adjective. Magenta Living is far from alone in this and their example here is unfortunately standard practice and commonplace propagandist claim that mirrors the vast majority of social (sic) landlords when it comes to rehousing homeless persons.

The CORE official data for 2019/20 revealing England’s SRS landlords offered up just 11,106 rehousing properties to all “single homeless” cohorts when England has a minimum of 150,000 single homeless households per year! The claimed ‘social’ landlords at best meet just 7% of the yearly single homeless rehousing demand.

Social in relation to housing or landlord means housing and rehousing those with the greatest housing need and who cannot afford to rent privately or to buy. This is the definitive absolute of the social housing concept that is the housing welfare safety net … and here we see a large housing association in a very privileged and monopolistic position seeking acclaim for rehousing 1 homeless person every 4 fucking months and even then they are extremely cherry-picked and only as they come with support funding under HF which is ordinarily not available to non Housing First single homeless persons and those cherry-picked numbers represent less than a tenth of one per cent of the single homeless cohort they could have rehoused from their Wirral locale.

Is that decoded enough for you now all you social (sic) housing apologists who profess repeatedly that you will always house those most in housing need because you are ‘social?’

An article here states that Wirral MBC took in 774 roofless rough sleepers during the Everyone In initiative (8 months out of this 40 month time frame) Magenta Living who own and manage the vast majority of social housing in Wirral took in and rehoused 10 persons (which I assume to be former immediate roofless rough sleepers as their news releases only alludes to this but doesn’t state they were) or 1.3% of them despite having 60%+ of all social housing in the borough.

How truly ‘social’ and truly life-changing eh! What on Earth would the ‘unhoused’ ever do without such magnanimous Private Registered Providers to give housing associations their correct name such as Magenta Living.

We are truly blessed with such social purpose and social ethos that oozes out of every pore of Magenta Living and its staff aren’t we?

Can we all please stand on our doorsteps and bang a pan for them every Thursday evening at 8pm do you think so as to express our never ending gratitude for the heroism they so meekly seek in the humility of their news releases?

X

Universal Credit pays £10.68 per day

If you are single aged 25 to 67 Universal Credit pays £10.68 per day to cover your council tax, water rates, gas, electricity, travel costs, clothing and food.

That assumes your rent is paid in full which it often is not and any top-up to rent needs to come from this £10.68 per day as well, as does the mobile phone or internet contract cost you need to receive Universal Credit in the first place.

This is the amount after the £20 per week and £2.86 per day ‘cut’ is applied and the Tories must be delighted the political narrative is only about whether the £20 per week is a cut or not rather than its adequacy or poverty creation.

£10.68 per day.

End.

“Social” landlords house 17% fewer households pa. Any wonder we have a “housing crisis!?”

In official data for the full year BEFORE the pandemic social landlords were housing 17% fewer households each year than they were 5 years before.

The official CORE data for the first 6 months of the 2020/21 year then saw a further 40% drop in the number of households accommodated by the social rented sector

Facts such as these are irrefutable, inescapable and regularly overlooked as they prove the shit has hit the fan for efficacy of the social housing model in which social (sic) landlords like to claim they will always house those in housing need.

The official CORE data which forms the chart above reveals from 2007 to 2016 that English SRS landlords housed 383k new households pa reducing to 317k pa in the four years preceding the pandemic and 17% fewer households received social housing each year.

NB: The 187k figure for 2020/21 is a projection based on a 40% reduction in SRS lettings for the half year of April to September 2020 when 75k lettings occurred and due to the eviction ban being in essence a new lettings ban as I said and predicted here back in July 2020

The average duration of a social housing tenancy in England increased from an average of 129 months (10 years 8 months) over the 2007-2016 period to an average of 157 months (13 years and 1 month) at the end of 2019/20 and ahead of the pandemic impact and policies such as the eviction ban.

The longer the SRS tenant stays in a property the fewer new SRS properties that become available each year. The dramatic increased in the length of a SRS tenancy in England from under 11 years to over 13 years and in such as short space of time obviously means housing waiting lists increase and also obviates fewer properties being available each year to rehouse those who are homeless or in other housing / rehousing need.

Apologies reader for stating the bloody obvious yet it is the bloody obvious that has not been discussed or considered or even mentioned in any of the thousands of articles about what has become known as the “Housing Crisis” – a term bandied about regularly by SRS landlords and lobbies yet never defined.

In 2007 England’s social landlords offered up 19,000 properties to the CORE data category of “single homeless” which fell to just 11,000 in 2019/20 – a massive 42% reduction in rehousing the many single homeless cohorts such as rough sleepers, hostel dwellers and single childless women from domestic abuse refuges as just one manifestation of this data. Another is that 46% and almost half of all households on LA waiting lists are there with entitlement to a one-bedded property only and number 529,000 households of an individual or couple.

Both of these evidence a massive and chronic shortfall in England’s social rented housing stock of the one-bedded property for those below sheltered housing age which further evidences that the council and HA landlords who make up England’s SRS never bothered to build them in the 60 years of relative capital subsidy aplenty up until 2010 and reflecting the fact that single households had the barest of legal right to a social housing property.

The “Housing Crisis” that we have in England’s social rented sector is never defined as to what the need is for new SRS housing and whom it will be for if the funding is found by government. The repeated calls to “just build more bloody social / council houses” is inane superficial nonsense as while there is no doubt England needs more SRS proeprtie at the social rent level we need to look at real objective housing need and not at more properties of any size or type that only bolster SRS landlord profits such as the £6bn+ that England’s housing associations have made for the last four year

Instead the SRS itself deliberately avoids detail as the housing need is clearly for the one-bedded property for those of below sheltered housing age and England needs in excess of 100,000 x the one-bedded property per year at the social rent level.

Instead of using fact to determine housing need and chronic undersupply we have very vocal mouthpieces for the Housing First model which is entirely predicated on the one-bedded unconditional (that is SRS) property being immediately available when those properties do not exist in the SRS making the zealous clamour for the Housing First model as bound to fail and otiose.

The clamour for the Housing First model is laughable as the one-bedded SRS properties the model is entirely dependent upon simply do not exist. You cannot house somebody firstly when the houses are not there can you? Even the large scale Housing First pilots were bound to fail before they began as the Liverpool City Region has just 16% of its SRS stock being the one-bedded property when the English average is 26%.

How can the Housing First model ever possibly work in the Liverpool City Region when it has 40% fewer of the one-bedded properties the voraciously hyperbolised Housing First model critically requires to even attempt to work!

The SRS and its many lobbies choose to ignore irrefutable housing facts such as the CORE data mentioned above and carry on lobbying with superficial campaigns with pithy superficial slogans riddles with myth and assumption. While these SRS housing and homeless lobbies are allowed to get away with ignoring fact and advocating assumption and myth the crisis of housing need worsens and becomes ever more systemic and ever more structural a crisis that is ever more impossible to address.

In summary when the Social Rented Sector is allowed to ignore housing fact it consciously ignores any definition of housing need and England’s SRS and its multitude of lobbies have been allowed to ignore housing fact and housing need for far too long and themselves y their own subjectivity and discrimination have played a massive part in what we now call the “Housing Crisis.” More social housing is meaningless when it is owned and managed by increasingly asocial landlord types.

How ‘social’ housing to become NO JOB NO SOCIAL HOUSING in 3 years maximum

The £20 per week and £86 per month which is £1040 per year cut to Universal Credit is bad isn’t it? It creates poverty and so on … Then what about the £182 per month and £2,184 per year cut to housing benefit for social housing tenants by 2024/25? This is more than double the UC cut and yet nobody bats an eyelid.

Explanation

Chart 1 below gives a starting point of the current financial year of 2021/22 where the council or HA tenant is charged a monthly rent of £500 and all of that £500 is covered by housing benefit or Universal Credit Housing Cost Element (HB/UCHCE) and the Overall Benefit Cap policy does not affect the SRS household in receipt of HB / UCHCE.

Next financial year from April 2022 to March 2023 social housing rents will increase by the rent formula of CPI+1% based on the CPI rate of September 2021. IF this is the same as the August 2021 CPI rate of 3.2% then social rented sector rents will increase by 4.2% from next April.

In April 2022 the current £500 pcm SRS rent level will increase by 4.2% to £521 pcm as shown. IF all other subsistence level benefits increase by CPI of 3.2% AND IF the overall benefit cap level remains a constant and both of these are the norm then the maximum housing benefit (HB/UCHCE) that can be paid to the same household in the same SRS property reduces from £500 pcm today to £463 pcm as shown on the chart. The rent is £521 per month and max housing benefit is £463 so the SRS household will need to find this £58 per calendar month rent shortfall from their other subsistence level benefits.

The chart shows the same process of 3.2% CPI for the next 10 years and by 2031/32 this process which is how the overall benefit cap works will see a monthly SRS rent of £754 per month yet a maximum housing benefit payable of just £68 per month leaving the housing benefit dependent tenant to find £686 each month over and above the maximum housing benefit to keep a roof over their head.

Chart 1

However, lets say that this 3.2% CPI is an aberrant figure and just a one-off 4.2% SRS rent increase in 2022/23. Let’s look at what would happen if CPI inflation returns to its 2% level that government still set as a target and I look at this in Chart 2 below.

Chart 2

As you can see the same principle happens only to a lesser extent and prolonged yet still INEVITABLY SO even if CPI inflation returns to 2% for 2023 and beyond when a rent top-up of £139 per month will be needed from the benefit tenant.

By 2024/25 the SRS household will find the rent of £500 today has increased to £553 per month and the maximum housing benefit of £500 today will have reduced to £414 for a shortfall of £139 per month and £1,568 per year for the housing benefit dependent tenant.

IF the 3.2% CPI inflation rate is aberrant – which it is – and it returns to its usual and targeted 2% for every subsequent year we see that the manifestation of CPI+1% SRS rent rises in ten years time is a rent of £680 per month yet just £228 being the maximum payable in housing benefit for a monthly shortfall of £458 and a yearly housing benefit shortfall of £5,486 when today there is ZERO shortfall!

The CPI+1% rent formula applies from now until 2024 and even if CPI inflation does return to average 2% by September 2022 which determines the 2023/24 SRS rent increase and remains at that 2% inflation level it still means that the social rented sector of council and housing association landlords is a housing benefit tenant NO GO ZONE by the end of this parliament.

Note well it means all existing housing benefit dependent households in social housing will be evicted as they slide rapidly down the arrears to eviction to homeless slope AND it further means that no housing benefit dependent tenant will get any of the 300,000 SRS properties that become available each year (the prospective SRS tenant) is excluded from getting a council or housing association property.

What we today still (absurdly) call social housing will be dead as a Dodo by the end of this parliament and due directly to the idiotic demands of the so-called social rented sector for inflation busting rent increases year on year. Increases that these incompetent innumerates believe are divorced from the social policy reality of the overall benefit cap policy which creates a SRS landlord strategy of pay your ever-increasing rent else bugger off and which no doubt the SRS apologists will try to defend as social purpose!

In the few short years when council and housing association properties become not just No DSS but NO JOB NO SOCIAL HOUSING will these incompetent innumerates wonder why the government and all subsequent governments of any political hue will no longer give the social rented sector a penny in capital subsidy! The ONLY rationale for ANY government to give SRS landlords capital subsidy is to accommodate those hosueholds who cannot afford private renting or buying their own property so when these incompetent innumerate and ultra-commercially focused idiots make any definition of ‘social’ housing and ‘social’ purpose to be wholly unaffordable to the housing benefit dependent household they are shooting themselves in the foot with a cannon aren’t they!?

In short and very pithy language the government WILL adopt the position of if you won’t house the benefit tenant then SRS landlords can go and f**k themselves if they expect government to give them capital subsidy! IF government does this – and why wouldn’t they as they do not benefit from this – then the greedy b*stard social landlords will only have themselves to blame wont they!?

The very simple charts above dictate that the innumerate idiots of the social rented sector have to abandon their demands for inflation-busting rent rises each year for their OWN survival … which they can wrap up and sell as if they actually care about the lot of the social tenant

SRS SLUMLORDS will carry on abusing tenants with impunity

Yesterday, Sunday 12 September 2021 ITV broadcast the squalor in the SOCIAL rented sector and this in-depth six months in the making documentary could yet won’t be seminal and the beginning of a realistic factual consideration of what we misterm as ‘social’ housing.

I say ‘could be’ with good reason and with strong evidence as ITV News has broadcast a series of videos over recent months on the squalor within the social rented sector (SRS) which has seen SRS leaders remaining firmly in denial mode and the official Regulator of Social Housing (RSH) conclude that the abuse imposed on social tenants is nothing to be concerned about.

A slumlord is a slumlord whether they are a private or a ‘social’ landlord.

The not fit for human habitation conditions that SLUMLORD Clarion Housing Association forced upon tenants has not even seen the regulator give Clarion, the UK’s largest housing association, a slap on the wrist and exposes that there is no effective regulation of SRS squalor and SRS slumlord operations

The chief executive of the National Housing Federation, Kate Henderson has, with outrageous shame, tenant disregard and contempt, in response said that only 5% of SRS properties have black mould and which is less than in the private rented sector seeking to downplay and excuse these unfit for human habitation SRS properties of its SLUMLORD members.

5% of the SRS properties in England is 220,000 properties typically accommodating 2.3 persons so some half a million men, women and children are subjected to abuse by social landlords and Kate Henderson of the NHF is arguing that this is acceptable on the basis this is less than the abuse perpetrated by private rented sector landlords!

I set out not to swear in this post but HALF A FUCKING MILLION men, women and children in social (sic) housing in England are being abused by their purportedly social landlord!

Note well the 5% figure is just for those and those recorded as having black mould and just one of many abuse and health and safety issues. The ITV News broadcasts have revealed ceilings collapsing, rat and mice infestations, chronic water leaks next to electrical appliances and also water leaks revealing the water and mould is contaminated with faecal matter – and these are just some of the squalor issues before we even get to the cladding scandal that sees tenants and leaseholders living in properties wrapped in combustible material.

I have no doubt that the extremely criticism averse SRS landlords will adopt a narrative of these shit hole properties being the exception and a tiny percentage of all social housing following the shameful ‘only 5%’ lead of Kate Henderson of the National Housing Federation yet each 1% of SRS property squalor is 100,000 men, women and children forced to endure such squalor.

The same SRS is busying itself with net zero carbon endeavours and not net zero squalor and while we have SRS squalor we cannot have net zero carbon

This squalor has not happened overnight but as has been ongoing fro many years as one of the ITV News broadcasts highlighted Clarion Housing Group the UK’s largest housing association landlord operating SLUMLORD properties in LB Bromley which they have known about since 2015 and will not address until 2028 – a 13-year duration of abuse and for which one tenant revealed they rent at £1300 per month for a 3 bed flat.

As a relevant aside can you imagine a private landlord getting away with a SLUMLORD property for 13 years? The PRS landlord would been hauled into court fined and even banned from being a landlord yet that never happens with the so-called ‘social’ landlord. So, in addition to a lack of regulation we also see a lack of legal redress as social landlords asses are not hauled into court and fined or even banned which is the case with private slumlord squalor. This duration of abuse further highlights the huge inequitable state of rented housing in England and an issue that has not to date been picked up by ITV News broadcasts or commentary upon them.

A slumlord is a slumlord whether they are a private or a ‘social’ landlord.

Another nuance also not picked up by ITV News is the aforementioned £1300 pcm and £300 per week rent of the Clarion ‘shit hole’ properties. It means Clarion are charging the property at the perversely misnamed ‘affordable rent’ level (AR) which is also the deliberate choice of Clarion as these properties are not new-build properties since 2011 when AR began and thus Clarion has converted them from the traditional social rent (SR) level of rent which in London averages just £133 per week in official figures (2019/20) which is just £577 per calendar month … YET Clarion Housing Group has chosen to increase by 230% to the absurdly stated affordable rent of £1300 each month.

This says so much doesn’t it about Clarion Housing Group and their acutely commercial bent and focus and just as much about Kate Henderson the chief executive of the National Housing Federation defending such overtly commercial practises and especially when the 230% rent increase was by choice of a ‘social’ (sic) landlord and for a known shit hole property.

What the above facts show is the SLUMLORD practises of SRS landlords and precisely what they do not want you to know and which they seek to defend by outrageous arguments of just 5% being severe black mould and starting a very eclectic narrative that deflects away from increasing the rent on a shit hole property by 230%.

Last week saw the yearly CIH conference – a social landlord get together for a three day junket of ritual backslapping – at which the shadow housing secretary Lucy Powell, herself a private landlord gave a keynote speech which is directly relevant to the issue of SRS squalor.

An article in Inside Housing takes this up:

Speaking at the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) Housing 2021 conference in Manchester today, Lucy Powell, who took over as shadow housing secretary from Thangam Debbonaire in May this year, said that landlords that house housing benefit claimants should not simply be given rental income “with no strings attached” in the future, noting that the Labour Party is considering action to address this.“On housing benefits we spend a huge amount every year, most of which goes to the private rented sector, and we ask nothing in return from that money,” she said. “We are going to be looking at tenants in the private rental sector. There is a lot more we can do about landlord licensing and landlord registration schemes.”

This hugely errant basis of MOST housing benefit goes to the PRS which is a myth I first exposed back in 2011 and goes back even further to 2008 when the official housing benefit by landlord data was first published. In short, SRS landlords have received billions more in housing benefit every year since 2008 than PRS landlords receive in housing benefit. In fact English housing associations alone have received more in housing benefit than PRS landlords every year since 2008 before we look at housing benefit received by council landlords! The housing benefit bill is circa £25 billion per year of which £10.5 billion goes to HAs, £9.2 billion goes to private landlords and £5.3 billion goes to council landlords.

As well as this Lucy Powell / Labour Party basis and premise being hopelessly false and a LIE does this “no strings attached” receipt of housing benefit proposal also apply to social housing SLUMLORDS? Will Labour seek to much more strongly license or even ban so-called ‘social’ landlords for operating shit hole properties or limit this just to PRS landlords!?

A slumlord is a slumlord whether they are a private or a ‘social’ landlord Lucy Powell

The 5% of SRS properties with severe damp and black mould figure has been known long before Daniel Hewitt’s series of broadcasts yet nobody in the SRS or government has done anything about the minimum half a million men, women and children being allowed to live in squalor in social housing properties.

It is abusive that this de facto abuse of social housing tenants has been allowed to fester, has been swept under the carpet and go unaddressed yet it also characterises the long-standing false assumption that private landlords are the only perpetrators of squalor and that social housing has no squalor because it is owned and managed by social landlords who are beneficent and imbued with social purpose … blah, blah, blah!

A slumlord is a slumlord whether they are a private or a ‘social’ landlord.

The current Tory government have done nothing about this squalor and the Labour Party are creating policy based on the myth that squalor is only a private landlord issue and the myth that social landlords do not operate as slumlords with their ‘no strings attached’ housing benefit plan, that will be quickly aborted because it means that social landlords will have to be more closely regulated and potentially banned from receipt of housing benefit.

In summary, the social tenant is being shafted yet again as if banning a slumlord from being a landlord is policy intent, which it undoubtedly should be, then good luck in banning Clarion Housing Group the UK’s largest landlord of any type from operating as a landlord as it will never happen!

What the Daniel Hewitt broadcasts has done is expose that the social rented sector has slumlords who can carry on being slumlords with immunity and impunity as there are no systems in place to sanction the SRS slumlord and never have been. The official Regulator of Social Housing (RSH) says it has no authority to even speak with social tenants affected and abused by squalor and other SRS slumlord practises!

The propaganda of private landlord bad / social landlord good has held sway for decades and is promoted daily by the SRS landlords and lobbies and the national media which has given the social tenant no legal or other effective redress against squalor and slumlord practises of purportedly social landlords.

This is what the ITV News and Daniel Hewitt’s team broadcasts SHOULD change yet I doubt they will.

It should be the case legally that a tenant can withhold rent for abusive and dangerous housing conditions and that such tenants should get compensation payments for the abuse they suffer from slumlords. It should be the case that housing benefit and other taxpayer monies is not paid to ALL slumlords and that ALL slumlords should be banned from operating as landlords and that regulatory and legal systems are put in place to prevent landlords from inflicting abuse.

Nothing will change and we will carry on with a system that sees the tenant of a private landlord be able to get redress (after a tortuous process) yet the tenant of a social landlord cannot get any redress from squalor and abuse the landlord imposes.

Welcome to ‘social’ housing Lucy Powell. Have a drink from your poisoned chalice

This morning was the first CIH national conference appearance of Lucy Powell the shadow housing minister and, oh dear, what a shambles it was with the same old LIES trotted out along with wiff-waff that would make Boris Johnson envious by Lucy Powell as she sought to preach to the converted.

The above is a definitive LIE that is easily proven to be a LIE as housing associations alone receive a greater total amount in housing benefit and its UC equivalent than private landlords receive and this has been the case since official HB data first reported the housing benefit by landlord type in 2008.

In 2011 I reported on this at the time when the Conservative-led coalition was seeking to reduce the overall housing benefit spend by almost £2 billion per year with its ‘welfare reform’ policies such as bedroom tax, overall benefit cap and others and in 2008. I wrote then:

The overall HB cost in November 2008 was £16.7bn and the PRS received in total £5.523bn per year consisting of 1,054,810 claimants each on average receiving £100.53. The remaining £11.2bn consisting of 1,493,080 council tenants claiming HB at an average of £65.23, 54% less than PRS, and 1.616,290 HA tenants receiving £71.73 on average, or 40% less cost to public purse than a private tenant.

In 2008 PRS landlords received £5.523 billion in housing benefit when housing association landlords received £6.05 billion per year and council landlords £5.13 billion per year. This myth that Lucy Powell asserted today that private landlords receive most of the billions that is spend out on housing benefit is a myth that has been easily disproved for 13 years.

Lucy Powell went much further than this lie and implied that private landlords get housing benefit for renting out shit holes and this would somehow change under a Labour government with the inference was this would change just for private landlords and not for what we misterm as social landlords. It is clear Lucy Powell wants to sweep under the carpet the shit hole social properties revealed in the ITV News broadcasts just as her social landlord audience wants us all to unsee what we have seen in those ITV News broadcasts!

ALL governments should seek to rid rented housing of ALL landlords who operate abusive shit hole properties!!

Here we have yet another Labour shadow housing minister automatically accepting the tired old private landlord bad and public landlord good proposition and without even bothering to check that the irrefutable facts since 2008 of housing benefit receipt by landlord type make her assertions a lie and oft-stated myth and mean she can have no credibility at all with anyone of the 6 million voters in the social rented sector or anyone with any interest in the social housing key concept of it being about housing need.

In England the SRS rehouses a tiny single figure percentage of single homeless households and offers up just 2% of its housing to women who have fled domestic violence and abuse.

Will Lucy Powell seek to do anything about this appalling neglect of real housing need by purportedly social landlords or will she just accept the hollow platitudes of SRS landlords who regularly develop fur coat and no knickers / all talk and no action campaigns on homeless, domestic abuse and all other housing need issues?

Will Lucy Powell even question why English housing associations do not use their £6 billion+ per annum profits to develop 75,000 new homes each year at the only genuinely affordable social rent level with £80,000 per property in what HAs like to call surplus which can ONLY be called surplus if it is reinvested in property? Or will Lucy Powell allow England’s housing associations to carry on believing in this housing version of trickle-down economics that creates these markedly increased profits from while never developing more than 5,000 new social rent houses per year in the last four years when they have been making these profits? English housing associations have made enough in profit in the last four years (£6bn+ pa) to develop 300,000 new SRS properties at the social rent level yet they have not managed 20,000 in that time.

When Lucy Powell says the following you have your answer …

Will ABBA do a new version of “Money, Money, Money?”

The National Housing Federation, the umbrella lobby for England’s housing associations asserts £78k subsidy per property at the social rent level is needed for each new property and I round this up to £80k per property to get the 75,000 yearly new social rent properties that £6 billion profits or surplus generates.

Lucy Powell also mentioned the Everyone In scheme which again evidences her chronic ignorance of basic facts when she says:

“remarkable” indeed! – in its SRS failure!

It was only remarkable as it gave vast revenue and profit to private hotels and B&Bs used that would otherwise be closed due to the pandemic and even more remarkable that England’s purportedly social rented sector could NOT provide. It is clearly too much for Lucy Powell to state 37,000 rough sleepers were taken in during the first eight months and correlate this with the fact that England’s SRS landlords provide just 11,106 rehousing properties per year to ALL single homeless groups.

To then add the circa 100,000 in England’s 40,000 or so homeless hostel rooms each year who also need a 1 bed permanent property to escape homelessness as well as one-third or more of women who have fled to refuges and are childless and thus another single homeless household group requiring a 1 bed property or to throw in the 529,000 on council waiting lists for a 1 bed property even before mentioning the 386,000 single homeless households who ‘sofa surf’ in someone else’s home each year for Lucy Powell to give any sort of consideration needed to what she just as flippantly as the SRS refer to as “the Housing Crisis.”

Lucy Powell will be well received by England’s social rented sector as she is just as negligent and averse to factual data as they choose to be while they are warmly patting themselves on their backs and professing to care about homelessness and domestic abuse and any other facet of real (re)housing need.

Like all shadow housing ministers and all housing ministers since 2010 Lucy Powell has in one speech revealed she and the Labour Party and not just the government are chronically ignorant of rented housing facts and what factual data means and manifests. I will give her a while to look at the overall most critical data of housing tenure across England which has always meant that ANY policy on housing, homelessness or other related issue plays out differently interregionally and intraregionally noting her region the North West of England has just 3.6% and 81,000 of all its 3.2 million properties being council housing when London’s 3.5 million properties have 5 times as much council housing at 411,000.

England Housing Tenure 2019/20 (EHS)

EHS data 2020 on England’s housign tenure by region

Welcome to England’s truly perverse housing market Lucy Powell and perhaps your Labour Party that is seeking to shed huge amounts of its workers should engage at least 1 person who can look at the facts of the housing issue that is your brief? I know, what an outrageous suggestion that is eh!

Have you asked your shadow cabinet colleague Ed Miliband if he is still in favour of right to buy as he stated in his 2011 Labour conference speech as leader when he also praised this Thatcher policy as being right? You say you as yet have no policy or view on RTB …. hmm! You can also ask him why as part of the independent Shelter report he said England needs 90,000 new SRS housing units per year when those darn pesky facts reveal it needs well over 100,000 new 1 bedded properties at social rent alone just to rehouse the single homeless households that the Tory-created systems generate each year in ever growing numbers in those pesky welfare reform policies you never voted against and your party has never publicly condemned. Could you ask another of your cabinet colleagues in Rachel Reeves, the shadow chancellor no less and the one you will have to persuade for the money for new housing if she still holds the following views?

The glorious former Shadow DWP Minister
Miliband & Starmer Labour

Oh dear oh dear oh dear. Perhaps you could also ask Rachel Reeves shadow treasury team how many more new social housing units you will need for the additional homeless numbers created by the £86 pcm UC cut that will see existing SRS tenants on that very slippery arrears to eviction to homeless slope they are on? Did nobody in the audience ask your view on the 30 year demand of the G15 housing associations for inflation-busting rents that will see all of the social rented sector become a housing benefit claimant no go zone within 5 years and SRS homeless numbers increase stratospherically and need another even bigger ‘remarkable’ need for Everyone In and ever greater private sector profits being generated as you refuse to see what is in front of your face with the current social rented sector whom you pandered to today …

Welcome to ‘social’ housing Lucy Powell!!

The “Starts at Home” incompetent innumerates

The social rented sector has its annual “Starts at Home” day today when it celebrates what supported housing achieves which on the surface nothing wrong with that except the usual no more than a few dozen human interest stories alluding to represent the reality for some 700,000 who live in supported housing.

A cherry-picking of stories to allude to the overall picture is par for the course and is always an illusion and frankly a PR con trick. Yet the real bugbear is the chronic innumeracy of the demand for support funding….

The innumerate £1.6bn of support funding

The £1.6 billion per year is the central government funding for support called “Supporting People” at the point when the ring fence was removed in 2008/09 which if index-linked to CPI inflation would then have been £2.1 billion per year on its original 2003 figure of £1.8 billion per year.

In short the innumerate SRS is calling for support funding that is over £200 million per year LESS than it was in 2003. Further if we index link the original £1.8 billion pa it comes to £2.62 billion per year today. Moreover, the UK has almost 15% more population in 2021 than in 2003 [68.3m : 59.5m and 14.79%] which strongly suggests the same 14.79% more persons would require support that in turn means the support funding level would need to be £3.01 billion per year and almost double the innumerate demand of £1.6bn.

In essence the ‘great and the good’ of supported housing are saying the vulnerable who require support are worth £1.5 billion per year LESS than they were worth in 2003 some 18 years ago!!

The same ‘great and good’ are saying vulnerable persons who require housing-related support are worth some £30 million per week less than they were 18 years ago in 2003 … and the original £1.8 billion per year was fundamentally inadequate in the first place and could and should have been much higher if it reflected the housing support need back then.

In 2005/06 the Audit Commission asserted that other budgets notably social services and health saved £1.68 for every £1 paid out in support funding which would save £5.06 billion on adult social and health care is the £3.01 billion was paid by government. On the day the media is rife with what taxes are going to be raised to pay for adult social care this more than £2 billion saving realised by paying out £3.01 billion in housing-related support which has and always had a huge preventative agenda in delaying or preventing more costly and more disempowering residential care, the ‘great and good’ of “Starts at Home” have missed a significant trick in NOT selling the benefits of supported housing.

This is all too typical of the social rented sector. We see the same SRS demand capital subsidy funding for 90 – 130,000 new homes per year yet they never say for whom or any other benefit to government. The fact England alone needs at least 100,000 more 1 bedded properties each year to allow the supported housing hostel and refuge system alone to function efficiently is a case in point.

Demands of the “just give us more bloody money” type without stating why or whom this will help and without any benefits of these monetary demands being explained or rationalised to any government only reveals how much the ‘great and the good’ of the social rented sector actually do care for the lot of the housing (bricks and mortar) vulnerable and the housing (support) vulnerable!

In conclusion, the “Starts at Home” incompetent innumerates need to get their own house in order before their demands to put the housing and support vulnerable persons houses and lives in order!

The ‘experts’ LIE that England can end homelessness by wearing innumerate rose-tinted glasses

IF anyone or any organisation says or claims that we can end homelessness in England they are lying to you and lying to themselves …

If England had 100 single homeless persons each year it would need 100 1-bedded properties each year to allow single homeless persons to escape homelessness. This is so simple an equation that even all political, housing and homeless ‘experts’ can understand its simplicity and fact.

England however has not less than 150,000 single homeless households each and every year so England needs to provide 150,000 one-bedded properties each year and just to single homeless households.

Official housing data (CORE) reveals England’s council and housing associations between them provided just 11,106 one-bedded properties to single homeless households in 2019/20 and meeting just 7% of the yearly need, you begin to realise the structural problem which means England will never end, never solve and highly probable not even reduce homeless numbers any time soon.

Yet day after day we see social housing professionals claim Everyone In was success and/or it showed rooflessness can be solved with political will and funding … and that all rough sleepers temporarily housed in temporary housing should be given permanent rehousing.

That latter demand – permanent rehousing – shows chronic ignorance of the facts and context of social housing provision which is the only permanent housing available yet it cannot meet well over 90% of the single homeless demand and because the SRS has never built for the housing need of single persons which is further exemplified in the fact 46% of those on waiting lists and 529,000 are there for the one-bedded property.

Housing and homeless ‘experts’ don THE most rose-tinted glasses when they look in the mirror and they refuse to accept the irrefutable facts such as CORE data which they themselves supply!

The 11k one-bedded SRS supply in 2019/20 compares to 13k in 2015/16 and 19k in 2007/08 (*1 below) so this is a worrying trend and a further hardening of the structural problem of a chronic one-bedded social housing shortage in England.

IF anyone or any organisation says or claims that we can end homelessness in England they are lying to you and lying to themselves … QED

________________________

Correction *1original wrongly stated 2008/09

Here is the Key Findings section of the Moving On report from Crisis in 2017 stating 200,000 single homeless in England per annum and SRS landlords providing just 13,000 properties pa to all single homeless groups …

Moving On: Improving Access to Housing for Single Homeless People in England (2017)

05.10.2017

Moving On is a report produced by Crisis studying the scale of single homelessness in England and the barriers single homeless people face accessing social housing. This study has been produced to inform a wider programme of work being carried out by Crisis to improve the availability of homes that single homeless people can afford in both the social and private rented sectors.

Strange how Crisis as purported homeless ‘experts’ now deny their own figures and claim just 16,450 rough sleepers over three years or circa 5,500 per year ONLY need support to transition from street to be able to sustain a tenancy in their collusion (same Crisis author who was seconded) with Centre for Social Justice think tank set up by Iain Duncan Smith report “Close to Home” in 20211