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Get out of your house
Old 10-25-2011, 12:18 PM   #1
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Get out of your house

Anyone heard about these bedroom blockers in the U.K. who appear outraged that older pensioners have homes with too many bedrooms and they want to see them pushed to downsize to make room for younger generation. I'm not sure if this is another derivative to OWS where there unhappy that some folks have too much money. I suppose next they will be demanding free room and board

Over-60 bedroom blockers 'should be taxed out of their homes' | Mail Online

I wonder if they have been knocking on Alan's door?
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Old 10-25-2011, 12:44 PM   #2
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I'm not extremely familiar with UK housing, but they mention council housing and housing associations, which I believe roughly equate to "public housing" in the US (no stigma intended). If that is the case and these oldsters are consuming too much house, then I can understand the motivation to right size the provision of their housing. I guess implicit in this understanding is that there are no assumed vested rights to public housing in UK.

In the US I don't believe people think they "own" or have a permanent right to possess their particular public housing unit. There may be an entitlement mentality among some that "housing is a human right" and they deserve to live in something, but not necessarily the same unit forever (which would equate to ownership at least for a life estate).
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Old 10-25-2011, 12:47 PM   #3
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Amazing!

I think that (at least in the U.S.) there is a substantial fraction of retirees who would love to downsize, but are waiting for the housing market to recover. When it does, this may end up being a non-problem.
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Old 10-25-2011, 12:52 PM   #4
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In the US I don't believe people think they "own" or have a permanent right to possess their particular public housing unit. There may be an entitlement mentality among some that "housing is a human right" and they deserve to live in something, but not necessarily the same unit forever (which would equate to ownership at least for a life estate).
Redistribution of wealth, why not redistribution of housing??
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Old 10-25-2011, 12:54 PM   #5
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In the early 60s there was a tremendous housing shortage in Europe. When I visited Denmark I learned that a retiree could exchange housing in a continuing care retirement community for the rest of their life by vacating a family sized apartment. I visited a couple of those communities around Copenhagen, they were comparable to the nicest in the USA today.

If a person lives in supported housing and the # of occupants changes I believe that the housing authority should be able to require the occupant(s) to move. One way to accomplish that is to raise the rent if the resident(s) refuse to move without good cause.
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Old 10-25-2011, 12:58 PM   #6
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I told DW about the possibility that we would have "shared housing", based upon our three unused BR's.

I suggested three (or more) women, of legal age. She had other ideas ...
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Old 10-25-2011, 03:57 PM   #7
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I'm not extremely familiar with UK housing, but they mention council housing and housing associations, which I believe roughly equate to "public housing" in the US (no stigma intended). If that is the case and these oldsters are consuming too much house, then I can understand the motivation to right size the provision of their housing. I guess implicit in this understanding is that there are no assumed vested rights to public housing in UK.

In the US I don't believe people think they "own" or have a permanent right to possess their particular public housing unit. There may be an entitlement mentality among some that "housing is a human right" and they deserve to live in something, but not necessarily the same unit forever (which would equate to ownership at least for a life estate).
You have it wrong... council taxes are like property taxes here... these are privately owned homes they are talking about... not public housing.
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Old 10-25-2011, 04:13 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by FUEGO View Post
I'm not extremely familiar with UK housing, but they mention council housing and housing associations, which I believe roughly equate to "public housing" in the US (no stigma intended). If that is the case and these oldsters are consuming too much house, then I can understand the motivation to right size the provision of their housing. I guess implicit in this understanding is that there are no assumed vested rights to public housing in UK.

In the US I don't believe people think they "own" or have a permanent right to possess their particular public housing unit. There may be an entitlement mentality among some that "housing is a human right" and they deserve to live in something, but not necessarily the same unit forever (which would equate to ownership at least for a life estate).
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You have it wrong... council taxes are like property taxes here... these are privately owned homes they are talking about... not public housing.
TP has is it correct. This is not about subsidized housing, but about private home owners.

I listened to a discussion about it on the BBC. There is a big shortage of affordable housing in the country, and the UK is many decades away from countries like the USA where there are many private companies who build to rent. Rental accomodation - houses and apartments (called flats in the UK) are nearly all council (public) owned, plus a small number of private individuals. When we tell folks in England that we live in an apartment they think we are "slumming it". The concept of luxury apartment complexes with leisure facilities etc is simply not in most folks minds.

When we spent 7 months in the UK this year we had to pay council taxes, which is the equivalent to property taxes in the US except it applies to the occupier of the property, not the owner. Our 3 bed house was in "Band D" so we had to pay x / year council tax.
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Old 10-25-2011, 04:14 PM   #9
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One of the things I find interesting is they did not mention the cost of housing over there.... in London, it is more expensive to buy a place than in NYC... at least when I was there over a decade ago...

I don't think the prices have come down that much compared to income...
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Old 10-25-2011, 04:53 PM   #10
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One of the things I find interesting is they did not mention the cost of housing over there.... in London, it is more expensive to buy a place than in NYC... at least when I was there over a decade ago...

I don't think the prices have come down that much compared to income...
Absolutely, the prices in London are still sky-high, and one of the additional problems in folks finding homes is that the requirements for getting a mortgage are much more restrictive - more in line with how it was 20 years ago. House prices in most parts of the country have come down, although we sold FIL's house in Cheshire in 2010 for a very nice price, and it sold within a day of going on the market.

I also heard that now that the average size of dwelling that a young family live in is 88 sq. m. (947 sq ft).

I recall that when we lived in Scotland, in 1985, in a new 3-bed house with 2 small children, the area was 1,000 sq ft so I personally don't see see much change there.
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Old 10-25-2011, 05:06 PM   #11
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I also heard that now that the average size of dwelling that a young family live in is 88 sq. m. (947 sq ft).
After our daughter was born, my ex and I bought our very first house. It was MUCH larger than that - - 968 sq ft.

Oddly, we did just fine. Since we only had one child, one of the three bedrooms was never used except for storage and we kept the door shut always. We had 1.5 baths. Our daughter loved calling the full bathroom HER bathroom, laughingly. She remembered the rental before this, which had only one bathroom for all three of us.

Sure, I live in a larger house now since I can afford to do so, but 968 sq ft was perfectly fine for a starter house for a young family. Far from being a hardship, at the time we felt like it was a huge step up and something that anyone would envy.
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Old 10-25-2011, 06:12 PM   #12
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TP has is it correct. This is not about subsidized housing, but about private home owners.

I listened to a discussion about it on the BBC. There is a big shortage of affordable housing in the country, and the UK is many decades away from countries like the USA where there are many private companies who build to rent. Rental accomodation - houses and apartments (called flats in the UK) are nearly all council (public) owned, plus a small number of private individuals. When we tell folks in England that we live in an apartment they think we are "slumming it". The concept of luxury apartment complexes with leisure facilities etc is simply not in most folks minds.

When we spent 7 months in the UK this year we had to pay council taxes, which is the equivalent to property taxes in the US except it applies to the occupier of the property, not the owner. Our 3 bed house was in "Band D" so we had to pay x / year council tax.
So council owned houses and apartments are publicly owned? Like public housing in the US?

It sounded like public housing in UK was much more common than in the US. Maybe that is why private developers aren't competing by building rental apartments/flats. I know domestically there are a lot of major companies whose sole line of business is developing rental apartments and they do pretty well. Some are set up as REITs.
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Old 10-25-2011, 06:26 PM   #13
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Reminds me of the scene in Dr. Zhivago, when he returns from the war to find all the people living in his house.
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Old 10-25-2011, 06:54 PM   #14
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So council owned houses and apartments are publicly owned? Like public housing in the US?

It sounded like public housing in UK was much more common than in the US. Maybe that is why private developers aren't competing by building rental apartments/flats. I know domestically there are a lot of major companies whose sole line of business is developing rental apartments and they do pretty well. Some are set up as REITs.
Yes, a council estate is like a project housing development in the USA. To qualify for a council house you must undergo means testing. Certainly in the past, council houses were much more common than today. Starting in the 80's many council houses were offered to their tenants for purchase. You could tell when someone bought their council house as the first thing they did was change the colour scheme and/or change the front door. My parents bought theirs in the early 90's.

Since there used to be plenty of council houses, and a big push for private ownership over the last 30 years, you are probably correct that there was no market for private developers to build rental housing.
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Old 10-25-2011, 07:03 PM   #15
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I'm not sure this is relevent, since I don't know the UK's opinion on free markets and private ownership. But has anyone considered maybe offering these old people enough money for their homes to make it worthwhile for them to move out and downsize? I didn't see that mentioned in the article.
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Old 10-25-2011, 07:27 PM   #16
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I'm not sure this is relevent, since I don't know the UK's opinion on free markets and private ownership. But has anyone considered maybe offering these old people enough money for their homes to make it worthwhile for them to move out and downsize? I didn't see that mentioned in the article.
This report is only a suggestion from a non-governmental think-tank that came out this week. I expect there will soon be other suggestions to solve the housing problem from other think-tanks.

Quote:
The call comes from the Intergenerational Foundation, a left-leaning think-tank that aims to 'promote fairness between generations'.
The article in The Mail quoted above says it is backed by Labour, who are out of power at present (they were in power for 13 years up to 2010 so it is fair to say they should take much of the blame for the decline in available housing). If they say in their manifesto prior to the next election that they are going to follow this advice they will lose a lot of votes as many retired folks like to have extra bedrooms for visitors and the like.

Currently the UK government is making lots of cuts in public expenditure, so offering money to folks for them to leave their homes is not going to happen in this administration.
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Old 10-26-2011, 10:01 AM   #17
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Alan,

Maybe you can shed some light on this... I was never quite sure of this and did not get a good answer when I asked people over there....

I lived in a flat that was rented by my company... but it was 'owned/rented' by someone else... I would check out the prices etc. of other flats around me and the prices were pretty high.... but they would say '700 years left on the lease'... some were are low as 100 years or so...

When I asked, I was told that they were owned by some royal or other 'noble' etc. and they were leased out with long term leases up to 999 years... I do not know if you have to pay a monthly payment for this or not... but when you 'bought' a house, all you did was buy the lease...

Now, me being me.... I asked, 'what happens when the lease runs out?'... IOW, if a lease only has 50 years or less on it, why would I want to buy it for a high price and then get kicked out in 50 years... they said there was an auto renewal.... OK.. then at what rate This would seem to mean that you are paying something monthly....

As I said, I never quite understood how you owned something... note: I was only in London when I was doing this, so who knows about the rest of the country....
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Old 10-26-2011, 11:16 AM   #18
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Seniors down size in the US when they are tired of maintaining, cleaning, a large house, or they want to sell and purchase a less expensive home. Why aren't seniors in the UK behaving similarly?

I don't think the government needs to spend money on this issue or get particularly pushy, they need to look at constraints on mobility.
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Old 10-26-2011, 11:58 AM   #19
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In general, people in Europe don't move as readily as people do in the US. They tend to become attached to their home in a way few Americans can relate.

Looking at the seniors in my family:

My mom lives in what was the family city home (4 bedrooms)
My dad lives in what was the family vacation home (4 bedrooms)
My paternal grandparents lived until their death in their family home (5 bedrooms)
My maternal grandparents lived until their death in their family home (3 bedrooms)
All my aunts and uncles still live in their family home (3-4 bedrooms)

I think it would be unthinkable for any of them to move elsewhere.
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Old 10-26-2011, 12:16 PM   #20
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Seniors down size in the US when they are tired of maintaining, cleaning, a large house, or they want to sell and purchase a less expensive home. Why aren't seniors in the UK behaving similarly?

I don't think the government needs to spend money on this issue or get particularly pushy, they need to look at constraints on mobility.

The other thing is location.... if your flat is within 50 meters of the tube station, you do not want to move where you are 1 mile from one...

Also, the size of a flat is SMALL compared to the US... I had a 2 BR flat that was probably 700 sf... my mom is living in a 1 BR condo that is 950 sf.... who has more space Just because you are in a 2 or 3 BR home does not mean you are in a big place... just that you have 'extra rooms' that somebody thinks is going unused...
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