Finland’s great idea is a way of renting called ‘Right of Ownership’ and it works like this (seriously – it’s great – prop your eyes open and keep reading…) (Honest – it’s as good as Santa and saunas, and the collected works of director Aki Kaurismaki - even Leningrad Cowboys Go America!)
‘Right-of-ownership housing is an alternative to renting or buying your own home. By paying a right-of-ownership fee – about 15% of the total price of the apartment – and a monthly charge (rent), you get the same rights to your home as if you owned it.
You cannot buy a right-to-ownership apartment outright. However, you can sell your right-of-ownership or change it for another apartment.’
What a brilliant idea: the best parts of owning (the certainty, the security) coupled with the freedom of renting. How many of us wouldn’t pay a hefty lump sum for security? The worst thing about renting is that your home is never your home, and many people endure landlords (usually those who used to live in the property themselves) waltzing through the door without knocking. Farewell to all that!
Renting is now seen by landlords as a much begrudged, fleeting right to infest their home at great inconvenience, a barely tolerated incursion. Renting has always been a right to occupy, but the right to a form of ownership is even better. I am presuming this system permits subletting and renovating by subscribers.
So let tenants pay to ‘live’ in the flats they rent (that’s live, not exist, infest, or blight.) It would spell out to owners that the tenant has the biggest possible package of rights, and that they in turn have renounced many of their privileges accompanying their de facto feifdom. Presumably this puts an end to tenants being given notice on a whim – such as because the owner has taken randomly to disliking you, or because they feel like it. Renters have a greater bundle of rights, and what’s more you’ve paid for them, and can stay long term. Hooray!
I’m quite curious about what happens if tenants cause vandalism or don’t pay rent, and about implications in an era of increasing unemployment. With growing casualisation of work, how would it affect benefit claims, since there is no job security anymore: renters are often in lower income groups (and they’d buy if they could.)
The scheme depends on the house price, so that lump sum could be expensive ie in the entire South East of the UK. That in turn might produce varying tiers of renters: some able to afford and enjoy those coveted extra rights. People unable to pay would be cursed with a lesser bundle of rights, stuck, unable to stay, compelled to move on a whim. A bit like now really.
I am certain there must be problems. I am sure there are drawbacks, but I am also convinced that many pay would pay for clarity and certainty, and money talks. Either that or we could start a root and branch reform/reinforcement of renting rights. Either really.