Defend the lifetime tenancy
Prime Minister, David Cameron has outlined his intention to scrap lifetime homes for new social housing tenants. New tenancies should be offered only for periods of five to ten years, he proposed, to enable best use to be made of limited housing stock.
Leeds Tenants Federation believes that housing is a basic human need and that providing homes should not be left to the private market. It is the role of the public sector to provide affordable housing to ensure the basics of life for all citizens.
We do not accept that social housing should be only for the most vulnerable people and only for a short time, protecting them when they are in crisis. This is because we believe that everyone should have access to a good quality affordable and secure home.
We do not believe that the private market is the best way of allocating housing. When housing is left to the market some people go without shelter while others live in palaces. In any case the idea that social housing is a welfare benefit and that tenants are 'dependent' is laughable. Home ownership receives more public subsidy than social renting (see Hills 2007).
Suggestions that security of tenure should be withdrawn from social housing tenants have been circulating for the last two years, as the affordability crisis deepens, and the supply of new housing drops. Viewed as getting the best use from a dwindling amount of affordable homes, the idea is also based on an assertion that social housing tenants are dependent on the state.
Yet government-funded studies have confirmed that security of tenure is the most valuable aspect of social housing. Having a secure home provides tenants with an incentive to take on the low paid insecure jobs that are all that's available in the recession.
Security of tenure was confirmed for council tenants in the 1980 Housing Act and for housing association tenants, through the assured tenancy, in 1989. The concept that a council house was a home for life was key to the Right to Buy legislation that enabled sitting tenants to buy the home they had paid for in rent.
What We Say