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(The infamous housing crisis) Public Sector Housing - WHAT IS GOING ON?


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Okay, this is something very close to my heart and something that I absolutely seek clarification on from people much more invested in the scope of knowledge of this sector than myself.

If you do not want to hear my story to set the scene, please feel free to scroll to the bottom of this initial post where I make my actual point of discussion/frustration. I think by me setting the scene you will be able to see the affect our housing market is having on younger people like myself. 

Let me start by setting the scene:

I am 23 years of age, so therefore I am not the most knowledgeable nor mature person. (this often leans towards passive discrimination when I try to raise a very important matter such as this.)

  1. As of beginning my adult life from the age of 16 and beginning my professional career. I quickly excelled in the finance/accounting sector and generated a rather lovely salary for myself alongside bonuses etc (this is not a means to brag but a means to show some maturity - the reason for making this comment will become evident shortly)
  2. I then began to start splashing out on rather expensive luxuries such as cars/coats/shoes well well beyond my own means.
  3. Eventually I decided that I need to be a little more sensible with money after landing myself in considerable trouble, sometimes even - rather naively or stupidly - relying on payday loans to continue to live luxuriously. 
  4. I lived with my parents in a lovely house - which I in no way take for granted as I was able to live rent free with no financial burden in that respect.
  5. Eventually I got my financial affairs back in to order and did not have a barn full of liabilities hanging over my head. Living comfortably payday to payday in a logistics job (made redundant in finance sector and tough job market).

Then comes my sudden rocketship approach into the life of an adult. 

BOOM! - Expecting a first child, whilst just recovering from some awful, awful financial decisions, here I am. Categorically an unexpected and scary situation. 

Growing up well looked after and in a 7 bedroom detached house - my expectations of finding a family home were astronomically optimistic to say the least - as were my aspirations to get straight on the property ladder and obtain a mortgage given the current neutral state of my finances. 

To my dismay, the private housing sector is absolutely riddled with small studio flats/rabbit hutch houses for rental prices well in excess of £800 pcm. in all instances.

After tirelessly searching the market and being turned down by every private landlord left right and centre (Despite eventually beginning to wear full suits and waistcoats to viewings just to try and take any judgments of appearance out of the question) myself, partner and unborn baby could NOT find a home. 

Here we are now, a year later. I am back into my original professional line of work, bringing home in the region of £2600 pcm. 

To bring this amount home I work my full time day job, and I am casual staff for another role in the evenings and on a weekend - putting in 40 hours of work in my full time job per week, and another 12 hours in my casual role elsewhere. 
 

52 hours of work per week.  (alongside fatigue not much time to spend with my little girl or partner)

My rent in our three bedroom house takes half of this amount. 

Food, electric, gas (ridiculous price of gas btw). Takes a considerable amount.

Our family car (£260 pcm) (a necessity to me to purchase a car at £12,000 due to my safety concerns taking precedant) (good size strong car)

One takeaway per weekend.

I run out of money well before the next payday. 

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

This takes a significant toll on my mental and physical health. Absolutely no time for my own luxuries nor spending time with my little family. 

This is where my anger now sets in

Myself & my partner know personally two couples in public housing. Decent sized three bedroomed houses on a council estate in Douglas. Both families of three, they pay £510 per month in rent. Arguably average jobs between the both of them and I estimate their incomes to be, jointly between each couple, approximately £3000 a month.

Around the address of one of these couples, there is atleast SIX council houses of the same size and specification, occupied by a single BED BOUND individual over the age of 60. 

The reason they are still in these houses is apparently something to do with OLD housing contracts with the council.

Now, I am in no way neglecting my sense of empathy towards these people, as I feel so strongly that the elderly members of society should be respected, protected and looked after. But is this the place for them to be? 

Especially when we have such a severe shorting of housing for young families? 

Is there means testing in place? Do the council actually regularly assess their tenants and their situations in order to proactively house people as per their needs?

We also personally know a handful of other couples living in public housing. These couples have range rovers/Ford Focus RS cars parked outside, are spending £1,000's of pounds on knocking through walls and decorating/recarpeting. Have 60-80 inch TV's on the living room walls, are pissing their livers through their arse every weekend out boozing spending £100's????

Are the council proactively means testing these people and whether their NEED to be in public housing exists? 

Or are we going to carry on ignoring young families with young children that are in desperate need of these houses?

Thank you so much (especially if you managed to read this all the way through) and I really look forward to hearing people's thoughts on this matter. I really think this is another matter which the Government needs to review as a matter of urgency, because the housing situation on Island is getting progressively worse month by month, soon it really will be an Island exclusively for the richest of the rich. A nice little COVID haven for the financial sectors powerhouses?

As always I will answer any questions and I accept in advance criticisms towards me and the points I have made.

Thanks. 

 

 

 

Edited by Hugh G Rection
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I don't think it's helpful to look at others and compare your circumstances to them and focus on them. There's a danger we end up with a race to the bottom - "my life's shit, so yours should be too" might be fair, but sum of human misery increases.

However, the problem here is insufficient social housing being built. This means there isn't sufficient acceptable one bed flats for the older people you mention to move to. Or enough social housing for the poorer half of the population. This pushes up rents at the bottom end of the market and consequently impacts your level.

This is exacerbated by the lack of a sliding scale of rents - so the wealthier tenants shouldn't be evicted but should pay closer to market rate. This extra money goes over the costs goes to build new social housing.

Is your wages of £2600 after tax and NI because that would put you in the top half of earnings on the Island. 

Also you're 23, that's very young, your circumstances will improve, hang on in there. 

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Good post and I can empathise with you, whilst one or two on here, will say tough luck. 
 

I can’t see Douglas Council doing anything, means testing etc. I can’t see MHKs, Douglas South, Douglas North in Particular ……………. Council Tenants Votes. 
 

Perhaps if tenants have a large disposable income to purchase luxuries like motorhomes no matter the condition- then perhaps they can pay a higher rent. The trouble is we then enter a dog eat dog, avarice, spite and hate situation. We will start to demonise people. Maybe if we penalise or increase rents as relative to income, there is a potential of tenants, doing the bare minimum or maybe getting cash in hand employment, to create a loophole.
 

Perhaps Government should encourage more types of ownership models - 

First Time Buyers

Shared Ownership

Shared Equity

Rent to Buy

Jersey Social Housing is operated by an Arms Length Company and there are a couple of small Housing Associations. Sadly on the Isle of Man Housing is controlled to suit agendas, politicos and housing wrong types of people - undeserving poor as opposed to the deserving and genuine poor - those genuinely in need.

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Your points 1-4 are some of my biggest bug bears, you aren’t the only one to work in a decent job and waste every penny, it seems to be par for the course. At least you’ve learnt this in your 20s. I know of people in their 30s, 40s and even 50s who still live this way, that wouldn’t be an issue, it’s their choice but unfortunately they blame everyone else for what is ultimately their lifestyle choices and want to be handed everything on a plate (that includes public sector housing)

What I can say is, now you’ve learnt the value of money everything does get easier with time, but you do have to be patient. We stopped going out with friends and near enough isolated ourselves for the best part of 5 years while renting a horrible flat (cheapest on the market at the time) just to scrimp enough deposit together, this was done on below average wages, near enough minimum wage, not everyone has it easy with parents/grandparents stumping up the deposit.

Speaking to my neighbours and their daughters for example won’t accept anything less than a house in Governors hill or Cronk y Berry, they both drive new cars, earn good wages, have lived at home not paying a penny in rent and yet to speak to them you’d think they were really hard done by because they can’t afford to save up a deposit for a house? If they can’t afford to save for a deposit living rent free, how are they expecting to pay their mortgage!? 🤷‍♂️ 

 

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There never seem to have been sufficient houses to provide for the market and keep prices sensible. There again, our government do not seem to have any control, nor seem to wish to exert any, over those buying as an investment. They are badly hung up on the free market, which undoes any work in providing first time buyer schemes as there's nowhere to buy! 

There are a lot of council houses in Douglas, many of them are not occupied and awaiting renovation. There seems to be a misunderstanding on the use of council housing, they are to provide a supply of housing for those working in a particular town. They are not just to provide inexpensive housing to those who can't afford to buy. The rents should be realistic but not be artificially boosted to the levels that the private landlords cream off their tenants, if anything we should introduce a rent control system to bring them into line. 

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I feel for anyone who finds themselves in this position but more so from expections these days from young couples. Everyone wants whats best for there wife/husband/ partner etc and looking around to others and comparing their lot with yours ,although understandable , is not healthy.. in a simplistic world all that should matter while starting off is being with the person you love , a bed and a roof over your heads and a dream and will to make your life better. I was very fortunate in early 80's to purchase a 3 bedroomed house in Ballabrooie although all we used till we could afford it and carry out necessary work was 1 bedroom and one downstairs room with a botched up kitchen made from contiboard . A Mk 1 escort costing £120  , no frills , no mobile phones or nights out. I could go on but bottom line is you dont need a 12k car or other luxuries but you can so strive for it. You dont need a 3 bed house and other rooms but again you can strive to get the rooms all prepared and refurbed but within a sensible budget and timeline. Expectations and what our near neighbours and friends have don't cut it if your scraping the barrel to put food on your table. Believe me , if you ever fall on really bad times , and I of course wouldn't wish it on anyone as its not pleasant, you will be surprised how little you really need to survive . My advice then would be , F*** what others have , cherish your young one and your partner and work it out between you , a realistic aims for bettering your lives and dont get disheartened if you have a few setbacks along the way. Really wish you every luck in your journey.  

Edited by Numbnuts
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I know someone of about your age who has saved a considerable amount of money to go to Uni with, it could go towards a deposit if that was their wish.  They have worked for the past two years earning a starter level salary, not your level, and for the past year has paid their parents rent and also goes out at weekends.  So, it can be done.

But I agree with Declan, there are inbuilt inequities in the current system and whilst means testing is a hot potato, it should form the basis of a sliding scale of rent. 

You sound like you have a mature approach, so if you put your mind to it you will achieve your aim.  Would it be an option to move back with your parents?  Not ideal, but if it is a possibility and you set ground rules, it may just give you the leg up you need. 

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7 minutes ago, Numbnuts said:

My advice then would be , F*** what others have , cherish your young one and your partner and work it out between you , a realistic aims for bettering your lives and dont get disheartened if you have a few setbacks along the way. Really wish you every luck in your journey.  

That’s about the short and tail of it. Comparing your life to others just leads to unhappiness, true happiness is being content with what you have and can reasonable achieve, rather than setting impossible goals.

 

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Just now, Annoymouse said:

That’s about the short and tail of it. Comparing your life to others just leads to unhappiness, true happiness is being content with what you have and can reasonable achieve, rather than setting impossible goals.

 

Indeed, there was a recent study which said happiness can be found in three words "lower your expectations ". 

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You had me on your side until the £12,000 car bit ( citing spurious safety concerns) I am decades older than you and have never spent that much on a car but I have had no safety concerns about any I have bought.

Could your partner not work the 12 hours and you look after your child? I assume the 40 hours you do are 9 to 5. This would cut down on your fatigue and allow you more time with your girl. It would also give your partner a bit of a break.

I am not without empathy,  most of us have been in your situation ( housing has always been a problem) but have come out the other side. You will too

You've been given a lot of good advice on this page., a lot of it about comparing your lot to others. Take it on board and good luck.

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Comparison is the thief of joy, try to remember that.
 

I was under the impression public sector rents were adjusted to take account of income, not market rate I grant you. Have I got that wrong? It was certainly being considered. Social housing is in high demand, especially with market rents being high. There is some excellent advice on this thread, good luck. 

Edited by Whiskey
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Might be pushing the limit of the requirements for this scheme if that pay is post-NI, but some people I know have had great success with this poorly publicized Govt offering:

https://www.gov.im/categories/home-and-neighbourhood/affordable-housing/mid-rent-scheme-properties-currently-available/


Otherwise, best of luck. I'm a reasonable whack older than you and well paid, but the only reason we could afford our house was through inheritance money. Our mortgage is now lower than our rent was in a tiny flat. Go figure.

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I agree about not making comparisons. Even from your post it’s easy to spot your feelings and it’s not a good way for you to be. There will always be those with more, and less, and there will always be people getting a better deal than you (in your opinion). Once you start talking and feeling like a victim, you’ve already lost your perspective  

You’re bring home a huge salary, you’re also working your ass off but, as you’ve noticed, you haven’t go enough to live on. Something has got to give.

You need to sit down and see where your money is going - and I don’t mean your bills and stuff, I mean what you’ve got left over.

If you want more money then you have to either earn more or spend less. I’m guessing it’s the spend less that’s going to work for you.

We’ve all been there mate. Now I’m in my own house but I had to work my ass off for it, from the deposit, through times when the interest rates were through the roof (one day they went to 32%) through to up sticks and move every few years when the market was good and sitting right when it wasn’t.

You've got a LOT to be grateful for. Try and see that instead of being frustrated by what you don’t have. The more grateful you are, the more you get, in my opinion. 

Keep smiling. 

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