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Dispossession: The Great Social Housing Swindle (2017)

For some people, a housing crisis means not getting planning permission for a loft conversion. For others it means, quite simply, losing their home. Dispossession: The Great Social Housing ... See full summary »


Paul Sng


Paul Sng




Credited cast:
Rushanara Ali Rushanara Ali ... Interviewee
Gary Barton Gary Barton ... Interviewee
Joe Beaver Joe Beaver ... Interviewee
Siân Berry Siân Berry ... Interviewee
Jason Browning Jason Browning ... Interviewee
Karen Buck Karen Buck ... Interviewee
Jamie Burton Jamie Burton ... Interviewee
Ruth Carson Ruth Carson ... Interviewee
James Cook James Cook ... Interviewee
Liz Crosbie Liz Crosbie ... Interviewee
Ronda Daniel Ronda Daniel ... Interviewee
Alisdair Doherty Alisdair Doherty ... Interviewee
Danny Dorling Danny Dorling ... Interviewee
Pam Douglas Pam Douglas ... Interviewee
Simon Elmer Simon Elmer ... Interviewee


For some people, a housing crisis means not getting planning permission for a loft conversion. For others it means, quite simply, losing their home. Dispossession: The Great Social Housing Swindle is a feature documentary directed by Paul Sng (Sleaford Mods - Invisible Britain) and narrated by Maxine Peake, exploring the catastrophic failures that have led to a chronic shortage of social housing in Britain. The film focuses on the neglect, demolition and regeneration of council estates across the UK and investigates how the state works with the private sector to demolish council estates to build on the land they stand on, making properties that are unaffordable to the majority of people. Dispossession is the story of people fighting for their communities, of people who know the difference between a house and a home, and who believe that housing is a human right, not an expensive luxury.

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Official Sites:

Official website





Release Date:

8 June 2017 (UK) See more »


Box Office


£60,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

Velvet Joy Productions See more »
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Technical Specs



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Did You Know?


This film came out 6 days before the Grenfell Tower fire. This film can be a memorial to those who died. It was shown at The Gate Cinema in Notting Hill soon after for victims of Grenfell Tower. See more »

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User Reviews

Not just "social housing" at stake.
24 November 2018 | by snk2005See all my reviews

I don't have tons to add since I believe 'landrum' captured it perfectly. What I took away from this film though, was how we're seeing similar things happen with your typical market rentals.

Currently in Ontario, the dogged determination to build every condo development in the Downtown core went from interesting to obscene over the last five years. If there's a patch of green somewhere, they're building on it. Tear down historic buildings and throw two 50+ monstrosities opposite each other on the same street.

The developers went as far as to band together and start running ads on TV and YouTube for their YIMBY (Yes, In My Backyard) campaign, as a direct counter to residents saying - NIMBY (Not In My Backyard). The ads themselves were too close in style to some Gov't of Ontario ad campaigns which felt like some sneaky, subliminal attempt to link the two.

The basic selling point is, "It's great to have all these new developments! It'll give people places to live that's closer to the economic hub, it'll stimulate the economy, it'll improve property values, etc. etc." Question is, HOW MANY PEOPLE do they think can afford a 400 sq. ft. shoebox starting at $450K??? No one disagrees that people need housing, but everyone knows they're cramming them into downtown Toronto because they can get the most $$$ for it, period. Location, location, location! No one (including our gov't) seems interested in providing standard apartment rentals for the regular Joe.

It's a safe bet to say 60-70% of the people working downtown, don't make enough to afford those properties. But with regular apartment buildings in limited supply now, there are bidding wars (it happened to a friend) on basic apartments. Property managements are harassing long-standing tenants out of properties because they're missing out on $600+/month increases. There are three seniors on my floor who've lived here for over 20 years and the things theycra receive eviction threats over are mind boggling!!!! Luckily, these seniors are fighters, but not everyone is.

Many of these condos are also "self-contained" with their own mini-malls, gyms etc. They don't integrate into the community (unless it's already high end)--they tolerate it. So now, the Tim Horton's employee working 60hrs a week downtown has to trek to the far reaches of the city and hope to *maybe* find a crappy basement apartment. Because yes, with regular rentals in short supply, these are now worth $1,200+/month with landlords doing the bare minimum....because what choices do renters have? But ya, keep selling us the story about how they're doing a public good and providing housing "for all."

It's a disgusting money grab from developers and government alike. That's why this film resonated with me so much. It's not just about developers and tenants, or gov't housing vs. regular rentals. It's about the haves vs. have nots....it's a scary place to be.

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