Figures released by the Department for Communities and Local Government show that some 90,000 people live in council houses that they may well not be qualified to occupy.This has come about mainly because of the way that council houses can be effectively 'bequeathed' on the death of the person who qualified to begin with who qualified to live in the property 'for life'.
According to the Telegraph report, this amounts to a value Â£9 billion in social housing that has been transferred to those that may not actually need it in the true sense of the word.
Indeed these figures may well be an underestimate as those that 'inherited' them then sold them on have not been included.
With the average council house tenant paying a monthly rent of Â£280 compared to Â£565 in the private sector this can be of huge benefit to these 'lucky' people at the expense of people who genuinely need this housing. especially when you see that 20% of council house tenants earn above the average wage and there are two million on the waiting lisy for one.
The government has already questioned the 'council house for life' concept with a view to overhauling the system and putting shorter term tenancy agreements in place.
This is what happens when you skew the cost of council housing one way and let residential house prices (and as a consequence private rents) shoot up the other way.
It seems that rents for council house are based on just about everything except the tenants ability to pay.
In ShropshireÂ for example (shropshire.gov.uk/housing.nsf/open/48502967B212BD6A8025756200421A4F) it is based on the rent restructuring plan on the size and location of the property, as well as bedroom numbers, condition and calue coupled with average local earnings compared to national average earnings.
Maybe an additional assessment of ability to pay tied to the rent would encourage people to move out and rent or buy privately when they were financially able.