Housing rights and duties

The constitution should enshrine the right to housing.

Access will be enabled by rent controls and the provision of rental properties by local authorities, and a residency restriction on home ownership.

Dick Wells Apr 5, 2015

I agree plus I suggest a high tax on second homes.

Christopher Lennon Apr 6, 2015

Rent controls would strangle the private rented sector and make housing even more scarce. Why introduce ideas that have failed before?

James Doran Apr 7, 2015

"Failed"? Examples?

Christopher Lennon Apr 7, 2015

Fact: rent control failed. No one would rent property to tenants because once installed they could not get them out. The Rent Acts were repealed and replaced by the present shorthold tenancy regime. If Labour get in and bring in rent control again, you will see the same thing happen all over again.

To get back to your original idea, how could there be a constitutional right to be housed? We need to shrink the State, not expand it by 100% +. You are advocating communism, or chartism, if you prefer.

Too many wild and illiberal ideas from anarchists and suchlike folk aired on these threads. The end result is likely to be a joke, not a draft constitution.

Lee White Apr 7, 2015

In my view, most contributors on these threads are thoughtful, open-minded and considered. Most are genuinely interested in hearing all points of view and finding acceptable compromise.

You've made a good point in your first paragraph with regards Rent Acts and I've not voted on a number of these items, because I have similar concerns and so really do want to hear the counter arguments. So make your point and you'll get support but not by alienating the audience.

As a 'floating voter' I would say that there is nothing wild about this idea in principle. Why would we not want to give people a right to a roof over their heads, as a society we don't want people on the streets. But how to do it? Is there a way of specifying a minimum, acceptable level of housing that all should be entitled to?

Christopher Lennon Apr 7, 2015

Thank you leecwhite and I apologise if I gave too much vent, as a general comment, to the frustration I feel at some of the ideas put forward, not only, or specifically even, the one heading this thread.

A roof over everyone's head sounds great, until you recognise that must include every young person who decided to leave home and demand, as of right, a home of their own, plus all immigrants, a huge group. Many of both groups would be single people; indeed singletons are becoming a much larger sector of the population. So you can perhaps see in reality the suggestion is specious, as it could only be financed by punitive increases in taxation, expropriation of private property, heavy regulation (i.e. no choice) and the like. Crash the economy, anyone?

In terms of building new homes and as we are already struggling to keep up with demand on an overcrowded island, how could the additional housing units required be provided? What standard of housing would it be? High rise? East Germany style?

As a test, is there any other country in the World you can name that operates such a system in a free market economy - even former communist states? I don't think so and even the communists had strict rules about who qualified for housing.

Finally, the constitution should be about governance and the relationship of the individual to the state. Why inscribe and set in stone the potentially ruinous 'Benefits Culture'?

James Doran Apr 11, 2015

You realise that many states have forms of control over private sector rents? The right to housing is unlikely to be interpreted as applying to every young person, regardless of circumstance.

This proposal would merely enshrine the postwar policies of social housing and rent controls through tribunals. Hardly revolutionary.

Malcolm Ramsay Apr 11, 2015

I've posted a first draft phase 2 version of my Right to Land proposal – https://constitutionuk.com/post/84718 – which I think would adequately enshrine the right to housing.