More on the housing waiting list as economy hits wages

WAGE stagnation and higher rental costs are to blame for an increase in housing waiting lists, the Housing Department has said.

Cour du Parc flats

WAGE stagnation and higher rental costs are to blame for an increase in housing waiting lists, the Housing Department has said.

The combined number of people seeking either the department’s and the Guernsey Housing Association’s rental accommodation in 2012 rose to 340, an increase of 34 from 306 in 2011.

However, Housing said figures had been showing a downward trend from when the lists peaked in 2010 at 360.

This was due to the emptying of the Grand Bouet and Cour du Parc, pictured, and having to move displaced tenants into social housing.

Comments for: "More on the housing waiting list as economy hits wages"

islander

Time to bring in housing and work permits on this such small over poppulated island.

Spin & More Spin

Betrayed by Housing, the nipper will be grown up before they get their act together.

bcb

Who`s been betrayed by housing? and what do you mean the nipper will be grown up?.

John

Who gets these houses?

I have worked hard all my life and never expected the States to assist me in anyway.

Is it the very young mothers who hang around outside the States Insurance office in their designer clothes with their designer buggies, smoking and showing off their tattoos? Where do they get the money for all these things and their cigarrettes?

I am all for helping those less fortunate than others but sometimes people also have to help themselves and put in some effort themselves rather than expecting the States ,which means other hard working islanders, to pay for them.

Zab

This Housing department that cannot make significant inroads into it's waiting list, is it the same Housing department that claimed a few days ago not to need £2 million?

A reduction of 20 over three years is less than seven a year,abysmal at that rate the need will be satisfied by 2081.

In fact it would not surprise me if the net reduction was down to people on the waiting list expiring before their needs were met.

Was the £2 million handback gesture politics?

Zab

I have been criticised for this statement before however "No homes available at Housing or GHA today!" or yesterday, or last week, last month, last year, last decade or for that matter decades earlier.

Dave Jones

Zab

You have had the explanation before but I get the impression that you have never really been interested in Housings answers.

But here goes.

On top of dealing with a growing number of people applying for social housing we have had to re-house over 250 tenants in order to knock down and rebuild their estates. That has been a difficult exercise and we have managed it, although it has led to some inevitable log jam in the process. We are not magicians and we cannot conjure up hundreds of homes over night.

However that will slowly clear and we now have 20 homes that can be re-tenanted after they have been refurbished, from those who have relocated to the new Clos Barbier development.

In addition we have had over 200 properties vacated by high earners that have been re-let to those on the waiting list over the last few years.

In addition to that, there are 80 homes on the second phase of the old Bouet estate that will be ready for occupation around April –May of this year and of course another 40 at the old girls grammar school site that are under construction at present and all things going well, will be ready foe occupation by the back end of 2014.

Also we have Cour de Parc that is being completely refurbished to produce another 44 flats for rental.

14 more at the South legion site in St Martins in the pipeline and other development awaiting planning approval. At the same time we are doing the two Extra Care developments for older people. So I don’t accept that we are not making significant inroads into the waiting list issue, these things cannot be done over night and I am satisfied we are making as much progress as we can at this present time.

On your last point about the two million less we will receive from T&R,

I point out to you that we are still going to receive 6 million pounds per annum and we have 50 odd million in the Corporate Housing fund at present, in addition we have the 23 million to pay for the Extra Care projects.

So the 2 million less every year, will have absolutely no effect on our Corporate Housing programme or our ability to provide social Housing in the foreseeable future.

I might also remind you that the vast majority of the funding for new social housing schemes comes from the GHA’s own facility, They have currently put in over 80 million pounds, so the burden to the Guernsey taxpayer has been significantly reduced; the same applies to the ongoing maintenance of all the new developments, that is now the responsibility of the GHA and not the taxpayer.

It was for those reasons and after some considerable discussions with the T&R board, that we decided the extra two million would be better used to help fill the d

MarkB

Dave .. What i don't understand is Where the GHA gets its money from?

Dave Jones

Mark

It borrows the money from the banks.

B Le Maitre

The banks are keen to lend to the GHA because of the link to the States. The Bank's perceive it as low risk, compared to lending to a standard developer.

Zab

Dave,

It is not that I do not believe some good has been done, the GHA homes are far better than the old Bouet for example.

BUT: most of this improved the lot of existing tenants or part ownership people whom already had a stake available. The real needy who have nothing, unable to raise a deposit or a month in advance of rent have been left to rot on your waiting lists, continually leapfrogged by latercomers to the list with more points.

The simple change of for example of an allocation of 10 points rather than the present two for each year spent on the waiting list would dramatically help many in long term need.

Similarly a part of the £2 million returned made available as loans for private sector deposits/month in advance key money would allow those people the option to help themselves.

The Social Security System provides for those with a home already, those too disenfranchised to have a home are left to look to Housing and frankly Housing is not up to the mark!

Wriggle and bleat all you like but its true.

How many years of a childs childhood do you think it is acceptable not to have a proper home?

And how does the performance of your department measure up to that?

Dave Jones

Zab

I think you have to recognise where we have come from.

For 30 years the Housing Authority as it was then, did not do very much in planning for the replacement of the old estates, which incidentally reached the end of their life probably 20 years ago, nor did they appear to have much idea about what they were going to do about increasing the social housing stock as demand grew into the future.

It wasn’t all their fault, as the States as a whole over that period gave very little support to Housing and the department was just expected to get on with it, without any real funding or any indication where the money would come from.

We have changed all that in the last ten years, with a proper development and replacement programme that has seen the replacement of some of the worst estates on the island and a refurbishment of the rest of the States Housing stock. We now have a sustainable funding mechanism through the GHA and a much brighter future for those looking for homes than they ever had before this period of change.

At the same time we have started to solve some of the other issues, such as under occupation of family homes by building smaller units for those people to move in to and the occupation of social housing by those who are clearly not in social need because of their incomes.

At the same time we have replaced the States loan scheme with the Partial Ownership scheme which has helped those high earners on to the property ladder outside States housing and other first time buyers who don’t want to rent beyond a certain period and want the chance to eventually own their own home.

Have we been able to help everybody? Well clearly not but I make no apologise for what we have achieved and I have shown you in my last post how things will improve from here forward for those on the waiting lists as more properties become available at the end of the various development programmes.

We do take into consideration how long people have been waiting but I think everyone will agree that we must deal with the most urgent cases first. The points system indicates who the most urgent cases are and that is as it should be, allocating extra points won’t change that, as those points would only be awarded for length of time waiting, not how urgent your case might be. On the issue of children we do help families and older people so children having decent accommodation is high on our priority and is recognised in the points system.

As for your other points, we are not going to open up a new loans scheme. The banks are there if you wish to borrow money. We will continue to offer PO as a way of helping those onto the property ladder, although we are already discussing what we can do to help with deposits and that is something I and other members of the Housing board are keen to progress.

Finally I will leave it for other to decide how the present Housing board measures up, I am happy that we are doing what we can to help as many people as we can.

Struggled for years

Hi Zab

Having struggled ourselves for years and now having moved into States Housing last year, we will still be paying the debts from high rental, low income, for a number of years. So I can understand whetre you are coming from with your troubles but just out of interest, and I can appreciate if you don't wish to share on here, what are your circumstances, time on list etc.? Read a lot of you posts on here, and was curious as to your situation.

Mum of 3

From the GHA website....

 

How is the Association financed ?

All new social housing we build is funded through a combination of States grants via the Housing Department and private finance borrowed from the Banks, currently The Royal Bank of Scotland International and HSBC Bank plc. The grant is required in order to provide housing which can be rented or offered on a partial ownership sale basis at less than market rates. The majority of our homes are for rent, however we are now building an increasing number for partial ownership sale to local first time buyers.

Who do we house ?

The grant provided by the States is calculated to enable the Association to charge rent for its homes at broadly similar rents to equivalent States properties. We generally require one third grant and two thirds private finance.

This strong support from the States ensures that 75% of new occupants will be nominated by the States Housing Department and will qualify for rebate as if they were States tenants.

The remaining 25% of homes will be offered to people on the Association's waiting list dependent on their current circumstances and the availability of accommodation.

Peter

Dave.

There used to be over 2000 States houses being rented to working class people on low incomes. Those working class who could not afford to take out a mortgage were entitled to a cheap rent which was paid each week to the States offices on the crown pier.

How many of these States house are still available from the States for weekly renting?

Dave Jones

Peter

The States Housing department currently manages 1700 properties itself and the GHA has 500 homes under its management.

All of ours are for rent and the GHA has a mixture of rental and partial ownership, about 80 of the 500 are in this category.

Housing disposed of a number of properties that were incomparable to its core stock such as the bungalows we had around the airport and some old farmhouses that were scattered around the island. The old Baubigny row was sold off to first time buyers, again because the cost of refurbishment would have been to great when their were better financial options available.

All of these properties cost more to maintain than we ever got back in rent and the money we got for the sale of these homes went into the Corperate Housing fund that has allowed us to grant fund the new developments carried out by the GHA.

Peter

Why do the States always have to make money? The States are supposed to be there for the people not to make money. That's why the States had houses to rent. Money, money, money that’s all the States go on about. If they stopped spending it on follies the poor would have a better chance of survival on the Island.

Dave Jones

Peter

I am not sure how your last post refers to Housing, we forgo nearly 10 million pounds a year in rents, which is what we give back to our tenants in rent rebates, if that is not helping the poorest people in our community then I don't know what is.

That money comes from the taxpayers and the rents in social housing are set significantly below market rents in the first place and included in the rents are water rates and refuse rates.

So as far as the Housing department goes we do an awful lot to try and help those on low and fixed incomes.

Dave

When people go on about high rent they are not taking into account the cost of the property. The yields from property are not that high in Guernsey, most apartments have high service charges that can run into thousands let alone the internal upkeep. Compare the rent for the same value property in the UK, the landlord has to purchase the property in the first place.

Guern abroad

But it is not a reason to screw the tenant.

The rent should not be seen as a way to cover everything for that pruchase.

The eye should be on the long term gain of having a property purchase part fincanced by renting.

If it were not for the greed of seeing a buy to let as a way to fully fund a further property purchase rents would not be so daft (high) in Guernsey.

Dave

So you are saying the landlords in UK that are getting higher yields are screwing the tenant. The rents are not high compared to the purchase price. The times of fully funding a purchase with rent have long gone. They are not daft or rents in London are daft (worse) because they charge higher rent compared the purchase price. Maybe you are forgetting that a two bedroom flat costs 300k +.