What is a Council House?

Jun 29th, 2005, 10:04 AM
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yeadonite, all "estates" are not former or current council houses. In the UK, subdivisions are called estates.
Barbara is offline  
Jun 29th, 2005, 10:24 AM
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Stellarossa, MK2, et al, perhaps it's true that the people in subsidized housing in the UK (and the U.S.) don't take care of the property, but that's not automatically the case everywhere.
We lived in central Germany, in a very nice neighborhood, with fairly expensive homes. Just off one of the main streets was a striking modern 4 story apartment building. Well decorated and the residents kept their own apartments spotless, with flowers on their balconies. We used to walk by it on the way to our favorite bakery and occasionally got a peek into some of the apartments--they were well constructed with adequately spacious rooms, hardwood floors, nice kitchens, etc. We asked our German relatives how much the apartments sold for--they burst out laughing and said the building was the local council housing. The residents did not bring crime to the neighborhood, the building was attractive, not an eyesore, and was impeccably maintained by both the staff and residents.
We have a relative living in subsidized housing in a small development in a Connecticut town. The residents take very good care of "their" property and have not caused any problems for their well-heeled neighbors.
BTilke is offline  
Jun 29th, 2005, 10:31 AM
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thanks for the clarification
yeadonite is offline  
Jun 29th, 2005, 03:15 PM
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My husband grew up in a council house, and his estate has always been very nicely kept by the people who live there. Many people now own their houses, but not all--maybe 60%.
Ann41 is offline  
Jun 29th, 2005, 03:21 PM
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Tony - Yeah my slave name was John before registration - Seattle.
Gardyloo is online now  
Jun 29th, 2005, 04:47 PM
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John? Seattle? Did you live in Edinburgh way back?
Stellarossa is offline  
Jun 29th, 2005, 04:53 PM
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Gardyloo is online now  
Jul 2nd, 2005, 12:08 PM
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I have been watching this thread with interest. So many people, so much almost right information- with the exception of doonhamer who is right onthe button.

I was the Leader of a rural Council (pre re-organisation) and I have been the principal solicitor for a Housing Association for 15 years, off and on.

Councils (in Scotland; you must remember we have different systems north ans outh of the Border; and thta in Northern Ireland there was/is a thing called the Northern Ireland Housing Executive which could have givn lesons to Mayor Daley) were/ are given, not money to build houses, but consent to borrow money to build houses. Housing was/is sacrosanct and was/is dealt with in a different budget to all other services.

Separately they were/are given a revenue grant every year to subsidise the cost of provision and maintenance of those houses. The gap between the cost and the grant was/is the amount they have to raise in rent (and sometimes, service charges).

Then along came the not late but very lamented Iron Lady. The capital consent went down, the grant did not keep pace with inflation, housing authorities were OBLIGED to house the homeless,a nd she went about introducing a whole series of social reforms to ensur that there were many more homeless than before. Oh, and she made the Councils sell their houses to the sitting tenants with discounts of up to 60% of their value.

Obviously the best houses, in the best locations, and often the newest houses (with the largest amount of debt outstanding on them) went first. Every house sold left the Council with more debt per remaining housing unit than the sale before:- so the rents had to go up to cover the repayments.

In Scotland, over 70% of housing was Council Housing pre 1979. I don't know the exact figure now, but it must be somewhere about 45%, I'd think.

Can anyone see the receipe for disaster in all this?

Some Councils have sold some or all of their stock to housing associations, a) so they can use the money from the sale to improve the stock they have left and b) to stop the houses being sold at a discount- you can't take away the right to buy from someone who has it by this mechanism, but if a new tenant is introduced by a chairtable Housing Association (and some aren't charitable and do not benefit from this exemption), then the new tenant can't acquire it, thus saving the house for the social housing sector.

Councils meantime MUST allocate their stock on the basis of the housing need of the applicants. If someone is poor, they may be more likely to be in housing need, but that is not a given. And if they are poor, then they will be entitled to a particular form of means tested benefit, which helps to pay the rent.

Even that is massive simplification of the system.
sheila is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2005, 12:18 PM
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This sentence worries me: "Then along came the not late but very lamented Iron Lady."
I don't know anyone who laments her passing. Or is this super-dry British humour?
gertie3751 is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2005, 12:28 PM
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Good summary, Sheila, but as you say there are layers within strata to this subject. One abiding commonality between UK and US social housing efforts is the persistence of national-level public policy that frames housing as a shelter, rather than an incomes, issue. Sell it off, make it cheaper, lower the rent, help first-time homebuyers, fine. But helping people get jobs or income support so that their housing is affordable because they have money to pay the economic cost of it, well, now that's heresy. It's baffled me since Ted Heath and Milhous were making noise about "affordable" housing on their respective sides of the Atlantic.
Gardyloo is online now  
Jul 2nd, 2005, 12:34 PM
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She's lamented by me...things were much better then!

m_kingdom2 is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2005, 12:35 PM
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Margaret Thatcher's not dead yet.

I was subject to a constantly complaining bus driver on the National Express (I can't entirely blame him as it seems he did have legitimate work-related concerns related to health, safety, and general comfort) actually did lament that Thatcher wasn't in power anymore. He said something like this: "When Maggie Thatcher was in power, I could always afford to take a holiday. No longer." His contention, if I understood him correctly, was that Blair and Labour had destroyed the economy.

So whether the above is dry humour or not, I don't know, but many do indeed lament that Thatcher is no longer on the political scene.
WillTravel is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2005, 12:40 PM
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I KNOW she's not dead, and I lament almost everything she did.

And I'm NOT a Socialist, for the avoidance of doubt.
sheila is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2005, 12:43 PM
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m kingdom2. WillTravel:
gertie3751 is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2005, 01:22 PM
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One way they could alleviate 3rd world poverty is to wait until she dies, then charge 5GPB a go for people to dance on her grave.

Although admittedly our current "Socialist" prime minister is doing things that Thatcher wouldn't dreamed about.

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