Archive for June 2004
I have always thought council houses should not be sold. Once they go into the private sector, they seldom return to public ownership. There will always be a people who through choice or circumstance will require council housing. If the only houses being built are private, and council houses continue to be sold, we shall end up back to the bad old days of private landlords and tenant abuse. And don’t kid yourself that that couldn’t happen again. Whether there are laws to protect tenants or not, there will always be landlords willing to flout the law and terrify tenants into subservience.
But I am part idealist, part realist. My ideal of plentiful council housing which cannot legally be sold is unlikely to be accepted by the majority. Often it is the first step on the property ladder. (Why people are so obsessed with owning houses is beyond me!) And I have to accept that people have ideals and dreams that are diametrically opposed to mine. Much as I would like them to agree with me, most won’t and short of revolution I have to accept that.
So I have a suggestion that might be workable. It’s not a new idea, and I didn’t think it up. Why not 99 year leases? Or whatever length of time can be agreed as reasonable? Then, when this lease is up, if there is a need to return the house to council stock, let’s use it for the less fortunate. A time could also be set for the house to stay in public ownership before it becomes available for long-term leasing.