The Chartered Institute of Housing’s concerns that housing associations will replace sold-off social housing with new builds available on forms of tenure that are more lucrative for them and more expensive for potential residents (Report, 17 August) is borne out by developments that are already happening.
Family Mosaic redeveloped the Queen Elizabeth Children’s Hospital in Hackney Road, London. 116 of the flats were for private sale, 24 for shared ownership and only 48 for what is called “affordable” rent. This trend away from the original purpose of philanthropic housing associations to conventional residential property development is seen across the whole sector, and has been accelerated by the reduction in rents paid by social housing tenants enforced by the Welfare Reform Act.
Where council flats have been bought, they are now owned by absentee landlords who let them at full market rent. To recreate this aspect of the housing crisis in housing association communities would be doubly wrong.
• Zoe Williams (Homelessness: it’s a very Tory kind of scandal, Opinion, 14 August) is right to link homelessness to the government’s failed housing policies. However, there is another link in the chain to be investigated.
The bedroom tax has forced many single people out of their homes. While there may be an issue of under-occupation, unfortunately there is also a shortage of alternative single bedroom accommodation in the social housing sector, and single people on low incomes have few choices.
The private sector has responded by converting properties into houses of multiple occupation (HMOs). This is a worrying development bringing back memories of the Rachmanism of the 1960s and 70s.
The situation is compounded by austerity measures in the social sector and cuts generally, as Zoe explained. The situation of single people affected by the bedroom tax would be a good topic for further reporting.
Bill and Sue Halsall
• Is this the same bunch of Tories promising a “new deal” for tenants “to beef up regulation to empower residents” (The Tories have proved they are not serious about reform of social housing, Editorial, 16 August) the same lot who did so much to abolish security of tenure?
Nigel de Gruchy
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