Private Landlords Complain About Social Housing

The French federation of private landlords

Private landlords across Europe are taking governments to task about the amount of subsidies they are providing to social landlords, and are criticising the money as providing an unfair advantage.

Everyone agrees that the need for new, affordable housing is crucial if we are to kick-start the economy; what is not agreed upon is how tax payers’ money is used to pay for it.

Private landlords are complaining that social landlords are responsible for unfair competition because they receive state aids allowing them to provide housing at lower prices.

The French federation of private landlords (UNPI) – like groups in Sweden and the Netherlands –  has made a formal complaint to the European Commission, citing unfair competition due to “overcompensation” received in form of state support for social housing provision.

What these EU landlords are arguing for is a handout of their own. They argue that social housing providers should concentrate on very low-income groups, and private landlords should receive state support to offer housing at a discounted price for other groups in need.

While private landlords in the UK have not joined the calls, they are watching the situation carefully. The UK government’s solution is to propose that social landlords finance their lower rents by providing housing at 80% of the market rent.