Friday, January 30, 2009

Tim Leunig on giving tenants the right to move

From Comment is Free:
Council and housing association tenants get little choice over where they live and are rarely able to move: many are in properties that do not suit their individual needs and preferences.
This can and should change. In a paper published today, The Right to Move, Policy Exchange argues that social tenants should have the right to move, the right to require their landlord to sell their current home and use the money to buy a place chosen by the tenant.
The new property would be owned by the landlord, and rented out as before. Tenants would be better off: they would get to live in a house of their choice.
The value of the landlord's portfolio does not change – only its location. Of course, if a Lambeth tenant moves to Croydon, Lambeth will need to subcontract the maintenance to Croydon, but this is hardly difficult.
My heart is certainly with Tim on this proposal. I can still recall the horror on the faces of the Tory councillors when we proposed allowing council tenants to choose which colour their front door was painted. Their view that "we do far too much for these people already" is reflected in some of the comments to Tim's article.

My only worry is giving one council the responsibility of maintaining a property that belong to another. Neither would have much incentive to see that the work was done promptly or properly. Children in the care system who are sent to live in another part of the country have often fared particularly badly for similar reasons.


dreamingspire said...

All part of the failure by the public sector to adjust to the combination of the realities of life and the local consequences of central govt and EU policies and legislation. But right at the centre there is now a philosophy of 'do it better', so local govt take note. And Lib Dems take note as well, because experience of the last few years in my area and nearby areas is that Lid Dems do not anywhere near adequately prepare themselves to actually run local govt.

Anonymous said...

Completely and utterly barking. It produces not so much a burden for life. Ultimately it only creates a freedom to move through the mechanisms of the state and so is no better than soviet Russia. People are not empowered if the only mechanism for empowerement is through state bureaucracy.

Anonymous said...

You are kidding, surely? Forcing landlords to sell up and buy 'a place chosen by the tenant'. Shall we also have the landlord re-invest the rent on a new car (of the tenants chosen colour and make, of course) and perhaps we can also give them gift vouchers to Harrods while we are at it?

In the real world, with real people, we generally start off in a flat we can afford, in an area we don't like. We then work harder and save, to get a better house in an area we do like. Some of us work years to end up in our 'chosen' home.

And you people blamed bankers for the ills of the world.....