percentage rise

17 May 24

Newly re-elected Greater Manchester Labour Mayor Andy Burnham is to spend £600,000 of council tax payers’ cash on a clampdown on landlords.

This includes a Good Landlord Charter, set to be rolled out later this year, to set out “clear, practical, and accessible standards to drive up the quality of renting in Greater Manchester.”

And there will be a Property Check scheme “to help those who feel trapped by their housing situation by giving them the right to request a property check, carried out by local teams and followed up with enforcement action where necessary.”

Burnham says that throughout Greater Manchester, around 23 per cent (56,000) of private rented homes and just under 17 per cent (82,000) of all rented homes do not meet the legal Decent Homes Standard. 

And he claims: “But since many tenants feel unable to raise complaints for fear of eviction, it’s thought the true number of substandard rentals may be as high as 40 per cent.”

He says his council’s recent survey of private tenants in Greater Manchester found that in the past year:

– 43 per cent of private tenants had experienced damp and mould;

– 31 per cent had been without hot water or central heating;

– 20 per cent had experienced broken electrics;

– 20 per cent were living in a property with a leaky roof; and

– 12 per cent were living with a pest infestation.

Greater Manchester’s Labour council is investing £150,000 in a pilot with Salford City Council and central government to explore how these checks can be used effectively and proactively and help identify properties that fall short of the Decent Homes Standard – a legal requirement when the Renters Reform Bill which Burnham believes will come into law later this year.

There will be two further projects:

Tackling illegal evictions: The Renters Reform Bill will introduce a new duty on local authorities to tackle unlawful evictions and harassment of tenants. Greater Manchester is investing £300,000 to set up a new team of housing law experts, providing advocacy and support to renters and strengthening enforcement capacity.

Using the benefits system to improve standards: When the Renters Reform Bill is made law, it will become illegal for landlords to rent out homes that do not meet the Decent Homes Standard. £150,000 is being made available to support a new pilot with Oldham Council exploring how authorities can work together to claim back housing benefit from landlords letting out substandard homes.

Burnham himself says: “Today we drive forward the next phase of Greater Manchester’s mission to tackle the housing crisis and get serious about housing standards.

“Everyone across our city-region deserves a good, safe, and secure home. It should be the starting point for a good life. It should not damage your health or be a source of concern and anxiety.

“Sadly, too many people in Greater Manchester still find themselves in those situations, trapped in poorly maintained properties and in fear of unlawful eviction. But the days of bad landlords renting out unsafe and unfit homes are coming to an end.

“This new right to a property check for all residents, backed up with new measures to protect renters and take action against rogue landlords, will empower people across Greater Manchester and put us on course to become the UK’s only Housing First city-region.”

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