I have a serious problem with this fixed-term tenancy idea, which is this: It’s all very well saying that tenants on fixed, five-year tenancies will still have the right to buy their council homes, but if it takes families in London 31 years of renting before they can save enough to actually buy a house for themselves, it is unrealistic to expect anyone else to be able to buy a house in less than one-sixth of that time. This is therefore a betrayal of Margaret Thatcher’s ideal – that, one day, everyone in Britain would own their own home. Since that betrayal appears to be part of the Localism Act, it is ironic that her own Party has now managed to stab her in the back, twice.
Last week Tamworth Herald (4th October) reported Tamworth Borough Council’s announcement of the end to security of tenure for Tamworth council house tenants. Of course, this exact phrase was not used; an end to ‘lifetime tenures’ is how it was described. Security of tenure was introduced because unscrupulous councils in the 1970’s were threatening tenant’s rights campaigners with summary eviction. This will remove that security from anybody who has a complaint against and is housed by the council. And this is one of many reasons why this new ‘fixed term’ tenancy should be opposed.
Other reasons include families constantly being moved around as their structure changes; the knock on effect of these moves are loss of social cohesion and support networks, essential for neighbourhoods to develop a sense of self worth, essential if we want tenants to take pride in their homes and surroundings; the upheaval is detrimental…
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