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Why We Need a One House Policy.

By Sam Cottle.

A property.

Think of China’s now-infamous one child policy but for residential properties. The idea behind this policy is that private landlords contribute very little of value to society and lead to a shortage of affordable housing. In this proposal, every person would have right to own one house and one house only, the mortgage for properties would be written off for the house that you’re currently living in, if you have a mortgage, if you rent the property you will be given an interim period in which you may stay there before choosing to buy or rent some (now) state-owned property. This policy would reduce the price of property and allow more people to be able to buy it, and this is also the reason why it would be unpopular. The property market is sacrosanct in the eyes of politicians and the voting public, nobody should ever do anything to affect the property market, but there is an argument (more subtle) that suggests the real-terms value of property would stay the same while the value of the currency deflates — this would also make people richer (again, in real terms) and would provide every person over voting age with affordable housing.

I wrote a government petition for this idea and it received a grand total of one like on Facebook and one person who nominated me (I needed five before the petition went live). I can’t see what’s so unpopular about the idea, unless every single person on my Facebook is a private landlord, or knows and likes a private landlord, or just hates me for whatever reason. The aim with all of this is to create a more egalitarian society and one in which every person has not just the right but the ability to purchase and own property. The majority of properties in the country are owned by banks and people have to progressively pay off the mortgages to the banks over the course of their lives — this system essentially enslaves people to the banks, writing off this debt entirely and merely giving people their own house would be a far better option and stop this slavery — people would end up with more money and hence spend more money, therefore the economy would improve and it’d encourage innovation. Also, the idea of having an interim period of government mortgage wouldn’t be such a bad idea for properties, and possibly make said mortgage inexpensive enough such that every person holding one would be able to repay it eventually.

Another thing that’s held sacrosanct in the UK is property rights. We are the nation from which these right originated but now it seems that the right to hold property has produced a situation in which bank and big business hold enormous amounts of property and the majority of people either don’t own their homes outright, or rent property from either the council or private landlords. It might even be easier just to say that all property in the UK ought to become publicly owned, would it make a difference? I’m sure we wouldn’t be kicking people out of their homes onto the streets willy-nilly. But then again, in the truest sense in which the term property rights can be meant, nobody would own their own home, because everyone would own everyone’s home. What would it be like, living in that sort of world? Someone could just demand to walk into your home one day and live there. The big argument against this sort of policy is that this is all just a ploy to prevent people from getting rich, and they’d be half right. It’s more than that though, it’s an idea to encourage people to pursue the attainment of wealth within the confines of what the society as a whole dictates are legitimate and beneficial arenas within which to do so, not through things like the mere purchase and letting of houses. It would encourage people to be more innovative, to set up businesses and social enterprises which really change things, and not to accept their fate and think that they’ll never be able to get rich.

I like this idea because it gives everyone the one thing that really gives you a stake in British society, and that’s the ownership of property. Here, historically, if you didn’t own property there was a time when you couldn’t even vote. Getting a house for relatively small amounts of money and freeing up large numbers of rental properties at the same time seems like a legitimate course for any policy to take — housing shortages would be reduced and it would give people more of a stake in society. I could go one further, which I initially planned to do on Facebook, and say that every single person in the country ought to be given a place to live for free, and perhaps that some sort of lottery system ought to be included to distribute said new properties, but that all seems too silly. Giving people the ability to afford houses through the creation of jobs is one thing, but it’s quite another to really reward people by giving them inexpensive properties in a prosperous nation. Nobody’s saying that you can’t still purchase property abroad if you have extra money, but perhaps it’d be better to reinvest the money in the community. Either way, the message of this is that everyone needs their own home, their castle, and that this is possible in the world at the moment without exploiting those having to pay high rent rates in order to keep their homes.