According to President John F. Kennedy, “Dante once said that the hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in a period of moral crisis maintain their neutrality” (which doesn’t say a lot for neutrality).
It is essential however to Citizens Advice. The advice we provide and the campaigning we do is independent and impartial. This is particularly important during the General Election campaign, whatever the injustice we feel may be attached to a pledge made by a political party
Citizens Advice Waverley is currently campaigning in three areas. Housing and Homelessness, Welfare Reform and Health and Social Care. All of these areas have a particular relevance locally.
Take Housing, or more especially the private rented sector. ‘Letting With Confidence’ is seeking to increase the number of private sector properties accessible to tenants on Housing Benefit. The private rented sector provides the only option for many people who cannot afford to buy homes in Waverley. The Waverley Borough Council website makes the point explicitly.
Due to a shortage of Council or Housing Association homes in the Waverley area, there are far more households seeking homes than are available. You may have to think about alternative housing options, like renting privately or staying at home with your family for longer than you had intended.
There is another way of getting on to the property ladder – for a few people. If you are fortunate enough to have secured a tenancy in a council house you may have the right to buy the house in which you are living at a discounted price. The Right to Buy is already available to
– secure tenants of local authorities and non-charitable housing associations,
– assured tenants of registered providers (housing associations) who moved with their homes from a local authority to a housing association as part of a stock transfer.
If you are struggling to pay the rent for a privately rented flat or cannot secure a tenancy because you can’t raise the deposit or simply because you are receiving housing benefit, you might not think that selling social housing is a good idea under any circumstances. Social housing tenants who qualify for Right to Buy will have been paying subsidised rents for five years and might be able to buy for up to £70,000 below market value. Imagine private landlords being forced to offer the same deal for their tenants.
You do not have the Right to Buy if your home:
– is particularly suitable for occupation by elderly persons, taking into account its location, size, design, heating system and other features, and
– was let to you for occupation by a person aged 60 or over, whether they were the tenant or not; and
– was first let (to you or someone else) before 1 January 1990.