Surrounded by boxes. Filling boxes. Dreaming of boxes. I’m in the middle of moving house; people keep telling me it’s one of the most stressful things I’ll ever do. I’m beginning to think they’ve started taking bets on when I’ll crack, throw all of my belongings in a skip and go live in a camper van.
I will once again be renting a property, after misplacing the sneaky ten grand deposit to get on the property ladder in a cornflakes box somewhere. Happens to the best of us, right?
Lincolnshire is one of 13 counties this year to exceed the rental highs of 2008, according to the Belvoir Rental Index; and that doesn’t account for deposits or application and administration fees. All of which is understandable, business is business; but with the swath of cut backs in the latest budget, how are people able to move in the first place?
‘Affordable homes’ seems to be the new buzzword on the street, but does it do what it says on the tin? Upon closer inspection, charging up to 80% of market rental value is neither here nor there. According provisional data found by Research-Lincs, 2013-14 saw over 2000 social housing properties rented, compared to nearly 12,000 let from the private sector. That’s a big difference, especially when LHA (local housing allowance, the new name for housing benefit) is set at the 30th percentile.
This equates to a two bedroom property entitling you to a maximum of £100 per week; try finding somewhere for that price and I’ll be very impressed. This, teamed with the still sad fact that the majority of families on the poverty line are in fact working, leads to another self-fulfilling prophecy for the next generation.
Property and community are inextricably linked, and if we’re going to help them thrive steps need to be taken. Firstly, the word ‘affordable’ needs to be used in its correct sense, otherwise we need more social housing and we need it now. Secondly, we shouldn’t be ostracising those on benefits; that goes for landlords and neighbours alike. Thirdly, letting agents, housing associations and councils need to work together further and pool resources. Not only for a fuller, credible picture as to what’s happening, but to see what needs to be done to ensure economic and societal stability.
The ramifications of where one calls their home is endless, as I’m well coming to realise of late. Me and mine have been in our suburban bungalow for six years now, and a part of me will be sad to say goodbye. The other part of me would rather like to close my eyes and awaken in our new home with everything unpacked and arranged just so.
I am lucky to have financial stability in a way I couldn’t even fathom when I moved in over half a decade ago, and finding around two thousand pounds isn’t exactly easy this time, either. Now, where did I put those ruby red slippers?