Leeds Hands Off Our Homes was set up by a group of tenants and home owners in 2006 who were facing a variety of threats to their homes and housing rights – see our previous website for background.
We believe that everyone in Leeds has the right to live in a decent, affordable, secure, warm and sustainable home appropriate to their needs. Sadly, this is not the case. Some 25,000 people are languishing on the council’s housing waiting list, rents in both the social and private rental sectors continue to rise, and housing conditions are appalling in some parts of the city.
The Housing and Planning Bill currently going through parliament will make this situation far worse. Housing stock in both Housing Association and Council sectors is set to be decimated by enforced sell-offs, whilst council rents will be harshly means-tested, and new tenancies will be for fixed terms, meaning they could be evicted if their circumstances change.
Hundreds of thousands of tenants will be unable to pay their rent as a result of the bedroom tax and the overall household benefit cap. In addition, housing benefit for new supported and sheltered housing tenants is to be capped to Local Housing Allowance rates (starting 2018 by affecting tenancies commenced from April 2016), again leaving many unable to pay. Social housing providers will be unable to absorb the loss, and organisations providing accommodation-based support services dependent on housing benefit (eg Women’s Aid) are likely to collapse. Investors have already pulled out of new sheltered and supported housing schemes.
Hands off our Homes aims to bring together tenants, claimants, service-users and service-providers, housing workers, union members, private-sector renters and everyone else concerned about the future of decent affordable social housing.