I was having a perusal through the local rag earlier, seeing who is dead, who is in court etc.
Normally I just flick through, but because I was really really bored, I started reading all the car adverts, the estate agents adverts and the tat folks are trying to sell. Usual run of the mill stuff.
One section in particular caught my eye and started me thinking. The section to endure my beady eye for a half hour or so was the 'TO LET' page, just after the estate agency pages. It made interesting reading.
The following two adverts are fairly typical, both are the same kind of house (three bedroom, garden). One is in a quiet part of town, all privately owned by professional types. The other is an ex council house in a 'less desirable' area of town, surrounded by feral dogs/washing machines in the gardens/woman going to the shop whilst wearing pyjamas at 3pm. You get the jist.
Advert one - Three bedroom house - £500 pcm
Advert two - Three bedroom house - £425 pcm. Deposit and refs req.
Now, hazard a guess as to where each of the above houses are. The first one is the ex council and the second is in the quiet area.
Pretty much all of the to let adverts are the same. The ex council/middle of shitsville houses are more expensive to rent on a like for like basis versus the houses in the nicer areas.
The reason? Housing benefit.
Landlords know that tenants who will live in Shitsville are more likely to be on benefits and price up the rental accordingly safe in the knowledge that the council will cough up.
The council decide what is a 'fair' rent according to various criteria, one of which is the average rental price of other properties in any given area. All the ex council houses have, give or take, the same rent in Shitsville. Thus the council cough up.
I hope the 'efficiency' savings Badger Darling mentioned in his bodge-it budget extend to sorting this blatant abuse of the system.