Thursday, January 17, 2008

The high cost of 'affordable housing' and issues of property rights

The way certain things can happen all in one day can be somewhat uncanny.

First, mum and dad received the monthly rental cheque from the tenant in a cottage they own.

The rent cheque was $350 for the month, which isn't much considering the place is worth around $350,000.

Now, the tenant has been there for years, but under UK law, rent rises have to be agreed via the local council for such 'long hold' tenancies.

Thanks to this, the private rental market almost disappeared until in the Thatcher years when the law changed to allow market rents for new, 'shorthold' tenancies. Existing tenancies kept the right to keep the rents low at their old rates.

But if a landlord cannot get sufficient return, then there is less money for repairs, etc.

Naturally, my parents are keen on the elderly tenant moving on, say into council accomodation, which would be more suitable. But the tenant does not want to move and under UK law, there is nothing my parents can do about it.

But whose house is it anyway? Shouldn't the property owner be free to do what they want?

If the tenant needs subsidised accomodation, shouldn't that be the responsibility of local or central government, rather than my parents being out of pocket?

My parents are quite elderly themselves and they would surely welcome a more market rent, around 4 times they currently receive, to supplement their pension.

That is the issue. If government prevents you from using you property the way you see fit, saying in charging a market rent. Then shouldn't they compensate the landowner, either by paying the landlord, or better still, offering extra rental assistance to the tenant so they can afford market rents, and the tenant can make a more rational decision about where they live. After all, there is just the one tenant and this is a 2 bedroom property that a family might need.

Just by coincidence , I went to a meeting of the village parish council tonight.

Last year, my parents bought a field in the village for my brother and myself.

The local council has since produced its district plan for the next 20 years or so and part of the field has been proposed, by them, for what they define as 'affordable housing'.

Now, Iam unsure yet of what constitutes affordable housing, but I believe you have to live locally and may also have to be in a certain low-paid profession to be able to buy/rent such property.

Now, the village where my parents live is quite pleasant and very expensive.

Terrace homes cost around $500,000 and are very unaffordable for young people.

But why is this so?

Surely, it is the restrictions imposed by government, be it central and local, against development , the supply of building land and housing, that makes housing so unaffordable.

If we were able to develop the whole field and sell the properties on the open market, which is proposed for half the homes on another site in the village, then surely enough extra homes would be available in the village to make all of them 'affordable.'!!!

And surely, if the developer of the other field has to set aside half of his land for so-called 'affordable housing' won't he then have to increase house prices further on his 'open market' houses to recoup his losses made with the 'affordable housing.?'.

Just one other thing. Some of the villagers like to take their dogs and sometimes their horses for walks in 'my' field. My Brother's wife put a sign up in the field saying the field had been sprayed and they should not take their animals on it. Now, the parish council is to look at how many people use our field for their walks. Now, we have recently received the title deeds and there are no public footpaths, bridleways or any kind of public access recorded. It is private land.

Of course, to those who want to walk their dogs and horses on our land, we have a solution. Obviously , my brother can take his own dogs and horses for a crap on their front lawn!


Seamonkey Madness said...

"Some of the villagers like to take their dogs and sometimes their horses for walks in 'my' field."

Fucking ramblers!

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

Build a fence and charge admission. Let off some thunder flashes outside the old codger's bedroom at night and pray for a fatal heart attack.

Seán said...

That is certainly a pity about your parents rental property, especially as they are getting on a bit now and a fair rent would be a useful supplement to their pension. No doubt some previous Labour govt figured landlord = rich, tenant = poor, and implemented law that unfairly sided with their perceived voter base.