View the article online at http://citywire.co.uk/money/article/a661998
Government wants tenants in old people’s homes
EXCLUSIVE: Empty homes of people in long-term care could be made available to social housing tenants, says the government.
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.
News sponsored by:
The Citywire guide to investment trusts
In association with Aberdeen Asset Management
What can SLI bring to the table for those who want to put their money into investment trusts?
More about this:
More from us
- IHT freeze will not help pay for long-term care reform, say accountants
- Q&A: how long-term care reforms affect you
- Long-term care: are you paying for it twice?
- Forget the cap, here's the truly frightening cost of long-term care
Tools from Citywire Money
From the Forums
Weekly email from The Lolly
Get simple, easy ways to make more from your money. Just enter your email address below
An error occured while subscribing your email. Please try again later.
Thank you for registering for your weekly newsletter from The Lolly.
Keep an eye out for us in your inbox, and please add firstname.lastname@example.org to your safe senders list so we don't get junked.