Three Generation Households – by Fergus Wilson

by Readers Question

13:46 PM, 7th August 2018
About 4 months ago

Three Generation Households – by Fergus Wilson

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Three Generation Households – by Fergus Wilson

If Councils up and down the Country ask the question Have you got any children under age five years in this property there is a reason for the Question.

The clue is in Cllr Paul Clokie’s statement The council’s cabinet member for housing Cllr Paul Clokie said: “In cases such as this where a young family were without hot running water and the matter was not resolved, it was right that the council stepped in and took this matter further!

Ashford Council has 1500 families on its waiting list.

It does seem to me that Ashford Council has not thought it out terribly well!

Articles like this in the press are unlikely to result in Private Sector Landlords (PSL) rushing to take a young family!

The average landlord owns one BTL property. The average length of tenancy is four years.

Now what does the average PSL think when he reads such a statement?

If Councils wish to get PSL to take young families and be ONSIDE then they need to anticipate far better the reaction of a PSL reading the piece!

I take children from age 0 to 17 years. That way I reduce voids to a minimum. I do have tenants with children who have been with me for over 14 years. I assume they are happy with me as a landlord.

I have tenants with children who have been in three different houses of mine. I assume they are happy with me.

Most recently I have noticed the question from Kent Councils Do you have any three generation families?

This sets me wondering why they ask such a question?

So you think is this due to a concern about overcrowding? Or is it to do with Council Tax?

Now if a tenant moves in grandma I am very much in favour of it (albeit I do not always know). However, I am on guard? Why is that Council asking me? Is the Council trying to trip me up?

One Council found that Grandma had moved in with her son and daughter in law and small child  without my knowledge or agreement?

When I asked why the Council asked the question the answer was Do not worry we are not going to take any action? So why ask the question?

In that circumstance we did not wish to lose the tenant as he was never a penny in arrears with his rent. The house was immaculate! Net result I offered him a three bed house!

So what was behind it? The tenant lost his job and applied for Housing Benefit which he is fully entitled to do.

Apparently the application flagged up a three generation house. Also two households as grandma had to pay her share of the Council Tax. Then it throws up where does Grandma sleep as she is not allowed to sleep in the same room as her granddaughter.

Now I am all for three generation houses! However, if it is a two bed house and grandma moves in after grandpa passes away there is a Statutory Overcrowding situation.

So I am thinking. Is there a situation here where the Council could take action if it chose to?

Would one Council decide to take action and the neighbouring Council not?

We have a policy that the family must fit the house which basically means a three generation family has to live in a three bedroomed house!

Fergus Wilson



Comments

LordOf TheManor

15:21 PM, 7th August 2018
About 4 months ago

Looks like I'm getting a three generation household as of next month - acquired a different way.

Eastern European tenants moved into my three-bed maisonette 4 years ago when their two children - a daughter and a son, were 15 and 10.

I learnt yesterday that the daughter is now 'up the duff' with the baby due next month. Where will they live, I asked? I got a shrugged response that looked like 'stupid question, where do you think?'

So.... I am starting to think. The first floor maisonette is wholly unsuitable for what will be a three generation household very soon. I will wait and see what transpires knowing full well it's highly unlikely that the 19 year old mum-to-be will be offered a home by the local council!

Mark Alexander

9:49 AM, 8th August 2018
About 4 months ago

Some very interesting points raised here Fergus, which I had not considered before.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Chris Daniel

9:59 AM, 8th August 2018
About 4 months ago

Can we start a 38 degree poll on how many landlords would choose to rent to single parents with children under 5, ... IF - Licensing conditions punished them for doing so.
Even the very existence of the poll would make good publicity and show the media its not a ' Fergus bashing issue ' - just common business sense.

Mick Roberts

10:01 AM, 8th August 2018
About 4 months ago

I have the same thing quite often in my houses.
Move Grandma in, new babies, more kids, lived there 20 years etc.
These new bed sizes, was bought in for the London 20 to house etc. But now Licensing here, they gonna' be enforcing this rule in other areas.
Here is some text I have saved & sent the council etc.

Yesterday we got told minimum bedroom size 6.51 sqm for over 10 years old kids. Which the Govt bringing in minimum size for Rogue Landlords overcrowding etc.
And Licensing said yesterday something like if smaller than 6.51 sqm, we or they got 18 months to move or do something about it.

Now here’s what happens in the real world, where I ain’t overcrowding like London 20 immigrants to a house.
Over the last 20 years, I’ve had bedrooms in my houses to fit single bed in & wardrobe in, I’m guessing 6ft 6 x 6ft 6. Which is less than 4 sqm. SHOCK HORRORS I hear u say.

But when woman has moved in, she says WOW, I now have 3 bed house, I have a room to put my baby in, my 5 year old, my 10 year old kid etc. Brilliant Thank you. My last council house was overcrowded, 3 kids sharing 1 bedroom

Now I’ve just read on Google, that this 6.51 sqm is too small when kid gets over 10. So what do we do? Chuck ‘em out? Are Licensing saying they can’t live there any more?
Now here’s more real world stuff for u. These rooms were only mean’t for baby. As the past 20 years have gone by, as many of you will know, housing shortage massive, & what was babies in these rooms years ago are now over 10 years old. And here’s more shock horror for u. I’ve gone in some of these rooms & woman Mum tenant has now got bunk beds in this SMALL room with TWO kids in there. What? Is that my fault? I've said u can't put two kids in there. She says where they gonna' go? The council has nothing for me. I can't afford bigger house. What do u propose I do?

All ‘cause the council can’t house them.

And I also know the other dept of the council is making their rooms even smaller so they can get their tenants out the bedroom tax trap, so the council no longer have to chase up the £15 a week cut that gets placed on tenant in 3 bed & now council can say it’s a 2 bed cause room too small, even though council know tenants will still be using it as a bedroom. You couldn’t make it up, could you.

I also have a family of 5 who lived in 3 bedroom of mine for 12 years. 5 years ago, my 5 bed come up & they moved into this one. The 53 year old brother is SO SO THANKFUL he now has his own bedroom. Which I know is smaller than 6.51 sq m. But he is SO SO GRATEFUL. But is Licensing telling him he now has to move. Where is he gonna’ go?

And Licensing will be making us evict these tenants, who then go from 6 people in a 3 bed house to 6 people in one Travelodge room.
And then the homeless department then ring us up and say Have u got anywhere for this family? And they end up going to somewhere smaller than they had before.

All REAL WORLD STUFF! But Now Licensing will be making these homeless.

Text from one of my tenants who is now overcrowding as per their rules. He did move in on his own, but ex missus lost kids, he now has them:

From a tenant of mine. Or should I say Council old school people, please take note.
I have just read your email regarding the bedroom size rule, scarletts bedroom is much smaller than that and there is no bloody way im moving out of here with all the money and.time i have put into this house, im sure new builds have bedrooms smaller than this? And i know of people who own there house with smaller rooms than this, what a joke

Denise G

19:33 PM, 8th August 2018
About 4 months ago

We found ourselves in a somewhat similar situation several years ago. We'd let our one bed bungalow (hang on to this important detail) to a retired single woman - who (strike 1) chose not to mention she had a dog and a cat, which we discovered at our first meeting at the property on her moving in day.
We (somewhat reluctantly) forgave her that 'omission', added an additional clause to the TA and everything jogged along for about 2 years; she paid her rent on time etc. etc. no issues.
Then she called me one morning to say the boiler wasn't working. I called our plumber, who informed me that he was on a Gas Safety course for the next 2 days and so would go out at the end of the week.
My husband dropped by with a couple of heaters for the tenant to use until the boiler would be fixed (which he handed over on the doorstep so'd not to spoil her 'quiet enjoyment of her home' seeing we were not due to make an any kind of a landlord nspection at that time).
On Day 3, completely out of the blue, I took a phone call from the Council Housing Officer to say that we needed to get the boiler fixed double quick or there would be 'serious consequences' for us, as a 6 week old baby couldn't be left in our property without central heating (huh?????)
On visiting the property it transpired that our single retired lady had moved her daughter - and her partner - in to the property (remember a 1 bedroom bungalow with en-suite) and said daughter had since had a baby!
Long story short it took us about 6 months to get them all out even though we had by now got the backing of the Council Housing Officer, who had initially accused us of condoning/permitting overcrowding! Of course both families by then had bumped themselves up the Waiting List (no doubt the aim of the tenant's call to the Housing Officer in the first place)
In the interim our plumber happened to mention in passing that, while he was fixing the boiler he'd been inconvenienced by the daughter's 2 dogs and their 5 puppies getting in his way!
So now we have 3 adults, a new baby, a cat, 3 adult dogs and 5 puppies all living in our tiny 1 bed bungalow.
As you can imagine by the time we got the property back it was a total wreck and cost us thousands to sort out!

Liam Strid

9:43 AM, 10th August 2018
About 4 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Mick Roberts at 08/08/2018 - 10:01
Oh dear Mick, that really is a joke.
From day to day I can't make up my mind whether to give up this game. I am lucky with my tenants at the moment. No overcrowding but the money that I have had to fork out because of this council. I am not a rogue Landlord. But they keep moving the goalposts. They want our money. See us as an easy target. It's not on!

Mick Roberts

12:29 PM, 10th August 2018
About 4 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Liam Strid at 10/08/2018 - 09:43
Yes the move our goalposts AFTER we've already signed up to help people out.

Liam Strid

15:09 PM, 10th August 2018
About 4 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Mick Roberts at 10/08/2018 - 12:29
Exactly Mick. When I say that I am lucky with my tenants I did have to be rather firm with one young lady. She wanted to move her young man into the property. I have been very good to her in the past. The problem was that he was an EU National with a child of his own. Well that would have got me in even more hot water with the council wouldn't it? I would be forking out god knows how much more. I gave her a piece of my mind. She wasn't happy but decided to stay on. There's so much uncertainty with these EU Nationals with Brexit plus it would have caused overcrowding. I am a good landlord, not Hoogstraaten as the council made me feel. Anyway, the pair of them broke up a month later. What a palava Mick!

Mick Roberts

15:42 PM, 10th August 2018
About 4 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Liam Strid at 10/08/2018 - 15:09
I've got loads of overcrowding for Licensing to investigate when they ready.
And I'm putting it on the forms. Please come check this tenant out, he moved in on his own 5 years ago, ex missus problems, he now has the 3 kids.

He's spent 10k of his own money on the house & some kids are in too small a room & he's gonna' tell u to F-off when u tell him he's got to move out.

Liam Strid

15:55 PM, 10th August 2018
About 4 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Mick Roberts at 10/08/2018 - 15:42
Oh dear Mick. This is a travesty. I bet you are fed up to the back teeth with forms. I was up late last night doing it. My son is worried that I am going to have a heart attack. You sound like a decent landlord like me. You keep your chin up and stand your ground. Don't let them get you down. They make you feel and look like a criminal. It's our money that they want. They are snakes in the grass. Disgraceful.

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