14 November 2008
By Neil Merrick
Housing association leaders have joined council tenants in condemning proposals to end the right of people in social housing to a lifetime tenancy.
The proposals, made to ministers last month by the Chartered Institute of Housing, were instantly dismissed by Defend Council Housing, which represents tenants and trade unions.
This week the National Housing Federation joined in the opposition, claiming that it was wrong to link the right to a home to a tenant's financial circumstances.
According to the CIH, tenants who rent from councils or housing associations should in future have their tenancies reviewed if they find work. Options might include buying a home, renting privately or, if they earn significant sums, paying more rent to their social landlord.
But David Orr, chief executive of the NHF, said people would not seek jobs if they had to continually prove they were poor to remain in their homes.
'This proposal could lead to the “ghettoisation” of low-income groups and undermine the drive to build sustainable mixed-income communities,' he added.
Alan Walter, chair of DCH, said it was wrong to take away secure tenancies won by council tenants 40 years ago. 'This is yet another attempt to stigmatise council housing as housing of last resort,' he added.
Richard Capie, director of policy at the CIH, said reform was needed to expand the number of homes available for rent.
The institute's proposals, which would apply only to new tenants, are being considered by the Department for Communities and Local Government ahead of a housing green paper, due in early 2009.