Pay MORE to Stay – Ain’t nothing going on but the rent

Housing Associations will come all over Gwen Guthrie and screw their tenants for an additional £411 million in rent in 2017/18…

aint nothing

Housing Associations will not provide any more services for this £411 million yet they will coin it in because of the Pay to Stay policy in the budget.

Of course every tenant pays to stay in any case else they would be evicted so this is in fact Pay MORE to Stay and specifically (assuming it is workable – see below) when a social tenant household outside of London earns more than £30,000 per year their current social rent is increased to market rent.  In London it is £40,000 per year and again for a household / benefit unit.

Household / Benefit Unit?

Two members of a couple, married or not, is a benefit unit and ‘household’for this purpose. If they have an adult son working he is his own benefit unit and not part of the household.

Move from social rent to market rent?

A couple in London could be paying £140 per week to rent a 3 bed property and if they go over the £40,000 wage then the social landlord can charge them £600 per week or whatever the market rent is in that part of London.

In Liverpool and a couple earning £30,000 which if both are working 39 hours per week in 2017 when Osborne’s “living wage” (sic) will be £7.70 per hour  and this harebrained plan starts, then they will see their 3 bed social rent property go from £92 per week to £150 per week.

That is how this Pay MORE to Stay plan is supposed to work.

So the £411 million extra for housing associations?

If the social landlord is a council then the additional rent charged will go straight to Osborne at the Treasury and not to the council landlord. HOWEVER if the social (sic) landlord is a housing association then THEY keep all of the extra charged in rent and nothing goes to HM Treasury!!!

In an article in 24Dash we see Tony Stacey Chair (I think still?) of Placeshapers which says:

“Firstly, what didn’t happen? Young people between 21 and 25 will not have their entitlement to housing support removed. The rumour that our tenants would have to pay the first 10% of their housing benefit has not materialised. There are no plans to claw back from housing associations the additional income generated from ‘pay to stay’.

The £411 million bit?

Housing Associations represent 53% of all social landlords hence council (and quasi-council) landlords are 47%.

In the budget data we see that Osborne says this will save the government £365 million in 2017/18 which can only mean Osborne is expecting an additional £356 million from council landlords charging this extra rent in pay MORE to stay.

That means that if councils extra rent received from pay MORE to stay is £365m then Housing Associations will be charging and receiving an additional £411.6 million from this pay MORE to stay policy.

How many affected?

The figures being bandied about all seem to say this pay MORE to stay issue will only affect 34,000 households at about £70 per week – which is a crock (surprise surprise!)

The £365 million per year from council landlords alone is of course £1m per day or £70 million per week which at £70 per week extra figure is 100,000 council tenants alone!!

The £411.6 million from housing associations at £70 per week equates to a further 112,767 households thus making 212,767 households in total – a tad more than the 34,000 households affected figure doing the rounds!!

Problems?

The problems with this policy working in a practical sense are numerous and without any cynicism this is a policy largely to incentivise social tenants to take up the right to buy as the increased rents will be far more than a normal mortgage least of all a massively smaller mortgage with the right to buy bung.

Got to have a J O B if you want your R T B … nothing going up but the rent

Social landlords do NOT have tenants earnings data and they have no lawful way of finding this out.

If your landlords wants to know you and/or your household earnings level and even if they ask you to tick anyone of a number of boxes saying

(a) £15k – £20k ;

(b) £20k – £30K;

(c) £30k to £40k;

(d) £40k to £50k…et cetera

Then tell them to sling their hook!

Interestingly and I doubt in this case connected to this I have just seen on Facebook a tenant letter from a new housing officer saying it is our policy to visit every property every two years and photograph rooms (eh?) and we need to verify that the tenant on the tenancy is actually living there for which we need to see a ….WAGE SLIP!

All tenants need to be aware of such potential devices being used and earnings data boxes can seem not to be out of place in a  tenant satisfaction survey with the chance to win an iPad or £200 in Marks & Spencer vouchers and the like!!  can’t they?

Tell your social landlord to get to f..k if they either demand entry into a property – as quite a number did in the early days of the bedroom tax claiming it to be their right as owners of the property! –  or do not mention entry is at your discretion in any letters or conversations and if they ever ask about your wage levels at all then by all means be polite but be very assertive and forceful in your refusal dear tenant.

This is just a heads up and as yet there is no evidence of dirty tricks by landlords but all tenants do need to guard against them and know their rights.  Social landlords now do have to check the immigration status of tenants – a further perverse and unworkable policy and largely for the private rented sector where new migrants massively outnumber those in social housing.

PS – What a fantastic bass line and for an eighties tune too!

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7 thoughts on “Pay MORE to Stay – Ain’t nothing going on but the rent

  1. At the end of the day, folks have signed a tenancy agreement with an amount stating the rent. They have never given agreement to have their income checked – all they have agreed is to pay the rent. New tenancies would have to be drawn up and then changed again if the circumstances were to alter. Also HAs would have to make sure their properties were up to market rent standard, which many aren’t.

  2. I’m not too sure that I will be affected by this. I live with my brother who rents a council flat in Brighton. Both our incomes amount to about £31k before tax. I rang our local council last week for clarification. They had no idea about the Pay to Stay policy (incredible!) but they were able to quote a market value of £859 pcm for my brother’s one bedroom council flat. This has shocked us as at present we pay £320 rent pcm.
    Will me and my brother be classed as separate households as the article above indicates ? If not, one of us would have to cut our working hours to get below the 30k or I may have to leave my brother’s to avoid him losing the subsidy which may necessitate the need for me to claim housing benefit . This policy is driven by ideology and spite.

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