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Government wants tenants in old people’s homes

Government wants tenants in old people’s homes

by Michelle McGagh Feb 27, 2013 at 16:11

The government has confirmed plans to place council tenants in the homes of older people going into residential care, in an attempt to boost Britain's housing stock.

Current plans for long term care reform would leave a number of properties empty and local authorities are discussing whether the empty properties could be used to house council tenants in their boroughs.

A source with links to Westminster said the idea was being discussed at a ‘high level of government’ and that ‘it was being considered’ as a way to improve social housing stocks.

‘It is difficult to oppose it in the situation where you have homeless people and housing sitting empty,’ he said.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Health, which is overseeing the care reforms, confirmed that it was considering a scheme that would allow elderly people to rent out their property, or even sell it, when they go into care but no details have been set out and any scheme would ‘be entirely voluntary’.

The discussions come after the government has confirmed that along with a £75,000 cap on care and an increase in the means-test threshold to £123,000, no older person will be forced to sell their home to pay for care.

Instead, from 2015, local authorities will offer loans – called a deferred payment scheme (DPS) – using the property as collateral which will be paid back on the death of the homeowner.

The government is keen to use current care reforms to help boost the stock of social housing in the UK.

Councils have been tasked with reducing the number of empty homes in their local areas, but allowing people to keep homes empty after the owners go into care ‘means more empty homes which goes against policy’, said the spokeswoman.

The source said that there was a stumbling block in the government’s plan over who would pay for the maintenance of any private property with social housing tenants.

A private landlord with council tenants is responsible for the upkeep of the property and for any repairs needed, but if the homeowner is in care they would be unable to respond to tenant requests.

‘There is a question about how you maintain the properties which is a big issue because who is responsible for maintaining it?’ said the source.

Each year 40,000 people who are not entitled to state help sell their homes to pay for care and the DPS is designed to prevent this from happening. There is already a loan scheme similar to the DPS run by some councils although the loans are interest free and under the DPS interest would be levied. The rate of interest is yet to be determined and it is unclear whether the rate will be set by the local authority or by the government.

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Comments  (39)

  • Martin Drew: 

    I am not sure what the problem is with maintenance, there are plenty of agents who offer a full management service. Whilst I agree that it is daft to have houses sitting around empty (and they will still need maintenance) I think that when the time comes for me to be put in a home I would rather have my home rented in the private sector than being handed to the council for so called social tenants.

    16:44 on 27 February 2013

  • Anonymous 1: 

    This idea sounds good in principle, but as ever, the devil will be in the detail. If the person in residential care has appointed appropriate attorneys, they can speak on behalf of that person, but could, in the absence of forcing legislation, simply refuse to go along with the plan.

    Where there are no attorneys, the first problem is trespass, and eventually the dreadful prospect of nec vi, nec clam, nec precario acquistion after 12 years, in extreme cases. To avoid this, the legislation must in my view give the local authority a right of compulsory agency landlord status, giving power to constitute the tenants as bona fide council tenants, making the local authority lawfully resposible for maintanance. As agents of the incapacitated owner, they would have to account to him or her by whatever meams were possible, and if thought right such accounting might allow the authority to reclaim from rent its maintenance outgoings.

    16:49 on 27 February 2013

  • A Sick SIPP Owner: 

    So - break a hip, and get 'taken' into care after you are delivered home by taxi (between 8pm & 10pm - discount time as commuter business is done, and pub-out time is awaited) or maybe a 'free volunteer'

    from the hospital 'patch-em-up-&-ship-em-out" unit a week later.

    And the next thing that happens is 'your council' installs a version of 'squatters' but with legal rights into your home allowing them to use your furniture, bedding, food - play footie and let the dogs run loose in your garden - where you have your 'memories in the form of the odd £5,00 of mature shrubs, and plants.

    Ah! - no - they can't be left your furniture as that won't be suitably fire-proof' and safety checked.

    So then, what's the chances of you getting home from the temporary (a month while you recover mobility) stay in the 'care facility'

    Never mind - you can get the council to replace the carpets, and floors - heating system, electrics, furniture repair the holes in the walls and redecorate as well as redoing the garden with mature plants - so it at leastlooks something similar to what it was when you tripped over the 3" deep hole in the pavement where the paving slab broke up in the 2012 spring freeze-up.

    And - yes I know a 'landlord' who rented out a house while he went abroad for a job - 1 month's rent, £3000 court and legal fees, and 9 months later when he got repossession, not even the joists were left!

    Still, at least his job abroad included accommodation in a hotel.

    Still - the council will pay up right away - er, they will, won't they

    16:52 on 27 February 2013

  • ALANR: 

    Yet another kick for prudence and another win for the immigrant /scrounger

    16:55 on 27 February 2013

  • Ian Phillips: 

    I'd rather set fire to mine..............b****y cheek whatever crazy scheme will be suggested next, voluntary? yeh, right!............better go and finish that pint of milk in my fridge before some smartass decides it should be taken for the starving!

    Oh, by the way, there's already a DPS scheme but nobody can get it because the Councils haven't got any money to lend out.....where are the funds going to come from this time?


    17:01 on 27 February 2013

  • A Sick SIPP Owner: 


    Please enough of the immigrant slurring, many of them just want to work -

    Ask (freedom of information act) how many qualified experienced and english speaking doctors are not allowed to work by the immigration service rules

    17:08 on 27 February 2013

  • dogdays: 

    What a fool I have been. I have slaved all my life to buy my own home and have enough to live in retirement. What I should have done was get a council house, spend all my money on booze, fags, holidays, and new cars every year. Then when I get past it they would put me and the dear wife in a home and keep us. Damn,damn,damn.yet again I have missed the boat!

    17:11 on 27 February 2013

  • Bruce Kay: 

    I agree with Ian Philips and would sooner burn it to the ground.

    17:18 on 27 February 2013

  • Jack Belfitt: 

    It seems a good idea. All that is required is for a proper commercial valuation of the house be made and when agreed for it to be purchased by the government and the sum realised paid to the owner! Job done! I am of course presuming that idea floated is honourable and that it is not just an intended appropriation (theft) on the part of the 'Authorities'!

    17:23 on 27 February 2013

  • A Sick SIPP Owner: 

    I've been told I should appologise for mentioning the Freedom of information act, as providing the information will exceed the 'cost limit'. £600 for central government and Parliament.

    Those considering burning their property should remember that arson is a crime, and doing such may get then sent to prison for an appreciable period.

    Then again, they'll probably get assigned community service, as putting them in prision would mean evicting, sorry releasing someone, such as a fund manager who had defrauded pension funds of several hundred million pounds, from an open prision to make room for the pensioner who wouldn't pay their parking fine to be moved from the secure prision to make space for the arsonist.

    17:35 on 27 February 2013

  • Anonymous 2: 


    Yawn - It is ironic that you put "Immigrant" and "Scrounger" in the same context.

    I'm surrounded by "Immigrants" where I work, and ALL of them are in the top 10% of earners in the UK. I guess that they earn more than you (1 in 10 probability) yet you put them in the context of "Scroungers"?

    Maybe thinking about the problem rationally will help solve it. How about this? Why doesn’t the government just build more houses instead of these elaborate schemes? Maybe that is too rational. Or maybe it is because the self-interested NIMBY’s (MPs and the people that vote for them) will complain that it will drive down the value of their homes.

    17:37 on 27 February 2013

  • ms simpson: 

    If councils wish to do this , may I suggest the following:

    1.A bond equivalent to 3 months rent to be paid to the house owner; and to be properly protected as required at present; with a penalty equal to 3 months rent if not complied with;

    2.ALL contents removed and stored-- at the council`s expense for the duration.

    3.The council to undertake to restore, repair, clean and renew the house and (if applicable) the garden.

    4. Legislation to prevent the council from charging the owner of property ANY fees/ charges.

    5. Should the original owner die, the above will also apply to the person(s) inheriting the property.

    17:37 on 27 February 2013

  • easy life: 

    The sooner the Government realises that it should be spending less of our money rather than finding ways to extract more from us the better off the country will be.

    No I know its not going to happen because the majority of the population are net receivers from our tax system so it would be like turkeys voting for Christmas. This is exactly what is happening in Italy, of course they are voting against austerity measures because the majority of the population are receivers. just raise taxes so the few left pay more, opps they have all gone!

    17:41 on 27 February 2013

  • john edwards: 

    Todays reality.....An elderly aunt fell and was moved to hospital..later to a care home where she fell out of bed..no bed guards...a safety precaution we are told...her broken hip operated on within hours.. back in care home...£625 a week.

    Letter from social care...as her total assets including her bungalow exceed £23,250 house must be sold...the will help her costs by taking out a charge on her property at 1% interest above Bank rate until property sold.

    25 years to buy it and around 5 years care home fees (index linked plus?) to lose it.

    I have decided to now spend money...ironically it will mostly go to non British based businesses.

    17:44 on 27 February 2013

  • Ivor Nestegg: 

    Since when did a Conservative govt give a toss about "the stock of social housing"? This sounds more like something that Attlee might have dreamed up.

    No, David, stop letting the Lib / Dem tail wag the Conservative dog and start defending the property owners, who elect you, from legalized theft by the State!

    17:51 on 27 February 2013

  • Gerry O'Kane: 

    Don't know why I struggle to work, save and own a home when some git on the council books gets my house..,.. As with others I'd burn it down first. I've helped everyone long enough by paying taxes but finding as a self-employed person I am not entitled to any social security benefits... Screw the lot of them.

    18:05 on 27 February 2013

  • Anonymous 3: 

    I've not seen such a poor show of comments on here in a while, they added nothing. I think we hit an eleven on the wandering ramblings scale. Well, that's time I'll never get back...

    18:08 on 27 February 2013

  • David Phan: 

    Not all council tennents are immigrants or scroungers or alcoholics.

    More affordable housing is the answer.

    The scheme is ludicrous where, to put it politely, going into long term care is basically Heaven's waiting room. Once in Heaven the house will belong to the Trustees.

    If the loacal autority agree to maintain the property then it may work and put the owner at ease but if not then the property will just depriciate.

    18:13 on 27 February 2013

  • A Sick SIPP Owner: 

    Re council providing more housing - wasn't it a Conservative government who introduced the 'right-to-buy' with discounts, and then stopped the councils using even the reduced amount they got for those properties to build/buy new ones.

    @ms simpson,

    maybe that's a starting point; add to that list:

    Paying a 'commercial' rent to the home owner.

    Maintaining a full property, contents and liability insurance on the assets.

    Guaranteeing return of the property (within 2 calendar months) of the property unoccupied and fixed-up, should the (new) owner be capable of returning to the property, or wishing to sell it.

    The council will be allowed to buy the property at an appropriate valuation set by local and national estate agents as a vacant - no chain sale.

    OR - is the intention to be to permenantly acquire the property for the council - to then be sold off at a discount under the 'right-to-buy'

    Then consider the situation of someone I know:

    They have a detached property with about an acre of grounds.

    In the grounds they have a number of mature shrubs and trees - Magnolias, Walnut, Sweet Chestnut, a mix of fruit trees, including a variety of apples including some with trunks over 12" diameter trained over many years as bowl shaped floored tree-houses so they are picked from inside the 'bowl'.

    So - if they are not properly treated and maintained how are the council to reinstate the garden.

    And - yes the owner would like to build a granny-annex to live in with their sons family taking over the main house, but the council won't let them build.

    Selling, or deeding the property involves substantial tax - capital gains, inheritance and deprivation of assets considerations.

    Would you like to estimate how long it would take the council to facilitate the sale of the property to someone who is allowed to build new homes in the grounds.

    So there would need to be indemnity against any losses that did actually occur/ materialise, or could be attributable as gains that were not achieved due to the council take-over/management of the property.

    As in the property wasn't sold to a different developer because there were council placed tenants in it!

    18:28 on 27 February 2013

  • Firefly: 

    Been out to buy the petrol!

    20:30 on 27 February 2013

  • Observer: 

    For the house owner there is no protection, no matter what anybody says or does.

    There is no peice of paper that will offer any protection.

    To quote a famous line in a famous film "paper burns".

    Every since the council housing system was destroyed by M Thatcher, its been donw hill all the way.

    The more governmant, local or other wise, invented, the more its easy to see they cant find their arse with both hands.

    21:44 on 27 February 2013

  • Peter Wilkinson: 

    Politicians, with few exceptions, paint with a 3ft wide brush and as usual "gloss" over or miss the detail. The above comments highlight some of the detail that probably hasn`t even crossed their blinkered brains or if it has they just choose to ignore it . Saints preserve us from more half baked schemes!

    21:54 on 27 February 2013

  • Thoughtfull: 

    What I have I have worked for, I have payed PAYE, tax on pension. I have no intention of giving my house or savings to half trained, couldn't care less carers or to prop up a system which is designed by politician to enable them to avoid making timely logical decions for fear they might loose their jobs.

    A plague on the lot of you.

    Sorry, not quite my usual thoughtfull.

    22:59 on 27 February 2013

  • Clive B: 

    If you go into a home (and won't be coming back) leaving your house empty, simply sell it. Easiest thing to do.

    23:36 on 27 February 2013

  • Ron Ball: 

    Another bloody daft idea dreamed up by idiots in Whitehall. Many old people taken into care homes suffer dementia and are not in a condition to deal with all the stress and strain of this. Assuming they have family and lawyers looking after their interests who will vet the new social housing tenants and manage the letting? I do not think my neighbours would be over enthusiastic about social tenants with six kids, two dogs and a rusty van moving onto my estate. Should help to force property prices down i suppose. Is that what this government wants? Most of their policies seem to have been directed towards keeping house prices high. Negative interest rates will also help keep prices up and prevent first time buyers searching for 40% deposits — while lowering the value of the pound and increasing inflation. It's all very depressing!!

    00:29 on 28 February 2013

  • Sam De Zoysa: 

    I thought most of the commenters on here were finance professionals. It seems they're more akin to the Daily Mail!

    @Anonymous 1The devil would indeed be in the detail. Some sort of incentive e.g. covering hotel costs whilst in LTC would be a suitable incentive.

    09:30 on 28 February 2013

  • White Stick follower: 

    So we have another bright idea from the 'blue sky thinkers'. The only problem with these people is that their head are so far above the clouds that their feet have lost contact with the real world on the ground. An issue that 'blue sky thinkers' overlook is that one day, if they live long enough, they will be old, and may be caught be their own bright ideas.

    I wonder how many MP's, and the worthies in the House of Lords will be offering up their residences- first & second homes, for the convenience of those needing social housing? Not a lot I suspect.

    As for 'fair valuation'- ask those who have had these in the face of compulsory purchase orders. I doubt that they would agree with government's ideas of fair.

    Apple & walnut trees in gardens- heaven forbid, Health & Safety risk assessments needed here- some fruit might fall on the head of a needy tenant, who would then sue, for damages, using Legal Aid of course. Only solution- cut them down.

    Maintenance by council contractors- God forbid, costs are preposterous, and judging by the standards I have seen in my step-daughters council house I would let them near any property I owned- assuming that in the light of this brainstorm I would still own it.

    The only certainty in any government idea, especially from the Treasury is, if its good for government then its bad for the tax paying electorate.

    11:26 on 28 February 2013

  • Mark Mercer: 

    We had "affordable housing" after the war - prefabs. They lasted many years and, when finally condemned, many people were reluctant to move out because they found them cosy and cheap to run.

    With modern materials and a bit of enterprise . . . . Oh forget it!

    14:25 on 28 February 2013


    Does any one know if you place your house in an 'asset protection trust, whilst a couple are in good health ,will this protect their house should they have to go in care at a later time in their lives? I read the article in the mail on Tuesday and providing it was done whilst you were fit and well it seemed to protect your hard earned assets. My mother in law was in a care home and we had to sell her house to pay the fees. It turned out that of the 44 people in the home oniy 4 families were paying fees!

    16:28 on 28 February 2013

  • Anonymous 4: 

    Arson maybe a crime but paying a team to smash my place to bits with sledgehammers isn't.

    16:45 on 28 February 2013

  • Anonymous 5: 


    I suspect you missed the point:

    If you are considered not able to live on your own,

    there is the insecure - you pay for it 'rest home' with poorly regulated staff,

    or there is the secure paid-for-you place with high staffing levels.

    16:57 on 28 February 2013

  • sinead connolly via mobile

    Jeez. Theyl be evicting owner occupying widows(either gender) for "under occupying" and sequestering the property, not long after, if this goes through.

    It's bloody ironic, isn't it, that this sort of state sponsored "land grab" of people's assets is happening under a Tory govt?

    One that wishes to "shrink the state", that is.

    The "right to buy" didn't help, on two fronts;

    1, It convinced new owner occupyers that they were now "middle class", and should, ergo, vote Tory hencewith.

    2 That councils were banned from using the monies from sold properties to build new ones, as this would have negated Thatcher's true intent of removing all public housing provision, for all save the destitute.

    Just have a think, conjour up in your mind some completely batshit crazy totalitarian way of punishing the proles for the bankster's behaviour, and I guarantee you, it(or similar) will appear as government policyin due course.

    Just putting that out there.

    16:59 on 28 February 2013

  • M via mobile

    Why do so many people assume that if you are in social housing you have too many kids, and you are loud and messy? You get good and bad in every situation.

    17:37 on 28 February 2013

  • tianney via mobile

    I think you have all missed the point of the article it clearly states that it is TENANTS not house owners affected by this "idea" there is current legislation to deal with house owners in much the same way.

    So remember it does NOT affect house owners.

    13:34 on 01 March 2013

  • Ivor Nestegg: 

    "Instead, from 2015, local authorities will offer loans – called a deferred payment scheme (DPS) – using the property as collateral which will be paid back on the death of the homeowner. "


    Sorry Tianey, but if you read the above extract from the article it most certainly does seem to affect home owners.

    I think most of the above commentators see this (rightly in my view) as a ploy for councils to acquire their homes by stealth on the cheap so that they can be turned into council houses, while the weasel words about the scheme being "entirely voluntary" fool no one.

    As I said, in my post how can a so-called Conservative Govt even contemplate such measures?

    13:57 on 01 March 2013

  • A Sick SIPP Owner: 

    And adding the following paragraphs I certainly get the impression that it is privately, rather than council owned homes that are being considered.

    As in y:

    You are not allowed to rent-out council property

    You are not allowed to sell council property

    And the final one is about maintenance of "privately owned property".

    And the condition of the property has to be certified as 'safe' if it is to be rented out, while the condition of your home, if you own it is pretty much up to you.

    " A spokeswoman for the Department of Health, which is overseeing the care reforms, confirmed that it was considering a scheme that would allow elderly people to rent out their property, or even sell it, when they go into care but no details have been set out and any scheme would ‘be entirely voluntary’"

    "The discussions come after the government has confirmed that along with a £75,000 cap on care and an increase in the means-test threshold to £123,000, no older person will be forced to sell their home to pay for care."

    "The source said that there was a stumbling block in the government’s plan over who would pay for the maintenance of any private property with social housing tenants"

    15:12 on 01 March 2013

  • snoekie: 

    anon1 yes, you are right, but then there will be the unscrupulous authorities (and that is most of them who think that the sun shine out of the rear orifices and they are never wrong, when they are wrong most of the time). Sched of condition with photos, and if worse then they MUST make good, not with money, but repaired and made good via a contractor of client's choice, plus 100% of costs of agents, sols, surveyors etc. This is the thin end of the wedge, and as it is rammed home, soon it will be extended to the person or persons living is a place more than their needs (and they will be the sole arbiter i.e. totalitarian State) require.

    Whilst there are some good council tenants, there are a legion who think they are absolutely entitled, including to furniture and fitments in the property - so they can get a bit of spending money. In an ideal world with careful tenants, fine, but this imperfect and there are many the poor deserve everything in councils, the little Hitlers with goon squads to back up their wishes, regardless of the rights of property owners.

    David Phan, but the local authorities are mainly staffed by the hignorant (deliberate word) or left wing surveyors etc. Been there, done that and dealt with them, and they abuse the spending the council spending power in fighting their corner, painted deep red by their ideology. Unless and until the employee's money is also on the line, they will continue to abuse their misuse of power.

    17:02 on 02 March 2013

  • Thoughtfull: 

    There is a little filthy fat oldish thing that passes as a woman who lived opposite us for most of her life. After her parents died she inherited the house. She lived there for a further almost thirty years with no repairs, no gardening, no payment of rates, water, electricity. The house is nearly falling down. Our dear council have given her a lovely bungalow in an area where the 'owners' all take care. She has rented her house to her son, a multi convicted thief with a drug addict girlfriend.She has never worked, is disabled because she has made herself grossly obese.

    I am very puzzled re her fitting into the new system. Her bungalow has 2 bedrooms, her house has four The authorities are fully aware of the situation and smile because it is all within the rules. Against this I have seen dimentia sufferers wandering down the main road because care was not available for them: not that they did not fall in the right category; it was not available when needed.

    Meanwhile the backroom boys continue with their crazy new ideas.

    If I beleived in God and the Devil I would have no hesitation re how to erect a sign post for them.

    17:39 on 02 March 2013

  • Anonymous 6: 

    Same old story, give something to someone who has not earned it, they don't respect it and trash it...... don't worry the Tax Payers will pick up the Tab.... This is England......

    10:27 on 04 March 2013

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