Housing: The Homeless, the Renter and the Owner

February 8, 2017 OPINION/NEWS

AFP photo



Hazel Speed



The UK Government yesterday put forward a White Paper relating to Housing Issues.


As far as one can determine this is a soup mix of various ingredients – a dash of this, a sprinkling of that, a peppering of emulating systems from other countries a few pinches of verbiage salt – but no meat. Does that smell good to you as the pot is stirred?


Taking politics out of these issues helps best to determine the key aspects which any Party or Government should be tackling and with great urgency and priority.





I have written before of the shame that as a Country we, in the UK, permit the necessity of any man, woman or child to sleep rough whilst the rest of us have a warm shelter, bed and safety along with toilet, washing facilities, change of clothes, food and many with jobs.


Rough sleepers often have other concerns too in that they may be mentally ill (whether prior to, or because of rough sleeping). Others are alcoholics and need professional help, and further, many similar homeless people could be drug addicts, some elderly, and the very young at risk to pimps or slavery touts.





If one can find ‘and’ secure some type of rented accommodation then tenancies may be short or a Landlord will use unscrupulous methods to squeeze more rent within or without legal confines. Standards of properties and areas of housing are also limited. There are good and caring Landlords and very bad ones more like the former popular TV Comedy “Rigsby“.


It is not a laughing matter to have a bad landlord when they know in Law they only have to do the basic things for tenants or to the property they rent.


‘Multiples or Buy-to-Lets’ are totally abhorrent. Why should there be commercial Landlords who buy and own hundreds of properties. This is no more than Corporate House-Slave Trading.


‘Private Owners Multiples’ the same. It should be One person/Family one house to live in – none to own and rent another or others.





The above two categories apply here as well as in the renting sector.


People are alive today who have never earned enough to buy a home, and they never will, through no fault of their own. They may work in a sector which is commendable and altruistic, but low pay.


Then there are others who work or worked in environments which enabled not only purchase of their own homes but that of secondary homes to rent out. Again, this is totally abhorrent to many on ideological grounds.

The former Council-owned housing of decades ago pre Thatcher and when they first were built and introduced were excellent. Everyone had the same fair rent and the homes themselves were quality for their day and age. There were also options to swap locations with others.


Lastly, one word on Charities and Protected Tenancies.


I know the following to be true.


Charities do a lot to help rough sleepers yet I know of one which almost made an older person homeless by selling the Charity owned-to-rent property above the head of a protected tenant (after 30 years of renting in a couple of their properties with their then Family who were elderly and inevitably died) thus putting the surviving person, then a pensioner themselves, on the brink of homelessness.


This was because the Landlord-Charity Owner auctioned the property with sitting tenant and the rented house (technically someone’s ‘home’), went into the realms of commercial property from Charity Peppercorn Rent Ownership, contrary to terms and conditions of renting via accepted verbal tenancy within law. Legally and historically for all those decades, and said having been confirmed in writing at point of sale a few years back.


Only the Council’s assistance with the extortionate increase in the new Corporate Commercial rent cost (and the tenant’s ongoing fight to keep rights) has stopped the elderly tenant from sleeping rough or being uprooted into sub-standard emergency housing.


Depending on an individual, such alternative imposed housing might have been refused in favour of rough sleeping no doubt, as to uproot an elderly person often can hasten their ability to cope and take away their will to live.


To even have a Peppercorn Rent means a legal agreement was entered into and usually is for life in lieu of an important service or employment for a working life, regarding which substandard payment is given by way of any commensurate salary for working years with a Charity in this case, so it is really a valuable commodity for life and pensioned years as it was legally earned as part of a wage.


Some occupations and vocations can be demanding in terms and conditions plus regular moves of residency and such instances generate or generated in recompense a protected tenancy agreement.


Ironically, if one day people like that are made homeless and choose to give up and sleep rough it would be perversely ironic if, whilst they cuddled next to a hedge one night to sleep only to be awoken to have that same Charity offering them a cup of soup, and perhaps telling them they could help to find them a home – who knows, stranger things have happened.


Charities remain protected purely because they are Charities and as such really are the tacit social worker supplementary arm of any Government of the day.


No bad news or stories will ever be published or put before any Select Committees if a Charity is at fault.


One person/Family, one house whether owned or rented – that is a start, then we need to take a look at land ownership by whom and do they need it, can houses be built on that land.


What happens when we run out of land?






Hazel Speed

Photo (c) Hazel Speed – used by kind permision to Tuck Magazine

Hazel Speed is a Philosopher, Writer, and Artist with various creative projects at differing stages of development. Her flaship project is an animation which has produced a film short: www.thepinkprofessor.com. She has also written an E-novel, ‘Just Suppose…!‘ which is available via the attached link.

Art sites: www.candystoreart.comwww.terrificart.comwww.artbadges.co.uk.


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