Housing Association tenant Lizzie Spring is part of a national network of tenants, housing organisations and politicians who write and campaign for decent homes for all.
Lizzie will post a series of bite sized explanations on how the new Housing Act affects social housing tenants and their neighbours.
The Housing Act was recently passed but much of it will not come into effect till 2017. It will affect existing tenants and people hoping for social housing in most communities.
Many tenants are really worried about “Pay to Stay” so let’s start with that.
Tenants with household incomes over £31,000 (£40,000 in London) face rent rises. Many people, including the House of Lords objected to this “fine on working people” and managed to soften it. Now it will be a gradual rise, with people paying about £3 a week more for every £1,000 over these annual incomes.
It will be calculated from the total income of the two highest earners in the home. “Income” includes wages, pensions and student loans, but not Housing Benefit, Disability Living Allowance or Universal Credit.
Another welcome concession campaigners have won, is that grown up sons and daughters living at home, will only have their income counted if they are on the tenancy agreement.
Housing Associations can choose not to introduce Pay to Stay. My Housing Association has already told us it won’t do so. Ask yours where they stand?
But Councils must implement it.
Means testing is difficult to do, unpopular and can cost more than rent rises bring in.
The extra rent will go into ‘deficit reduction’ not investment in more social homes. Your council may want to challenge it all - so it’s worth asking your Tenants Association to join forces with them, if you can.
Views expressed here are those of the author and not necessarily shared by HomeSwapper or Housing Partners Ltd.