Today, Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, has launched the consultation on the Good Landlord Charter for the city region. The charter is the first of its kind in the UK, bringing together landlords and renters to improve the standards of homes in social housing and the private rented sector.
Plans were first revealed at the Housing 2023 conference, and the Good Landlord Charter aims to recognise and develop best practice, boost tenant confidence in the quality of good rental properties and provide an ambitious new voluntary standard for landlord excellence, no matter what kind of housing they let.
The Good Landlord Charter sets out a vision of better renting, which meets the following characteristics:
- Affordable – a tenant should understand how their rent and other charges are set and should not be ripped-off.
- Inclusive – a tenant should not have a worse renting experience because of who they are.
- Private and secure – a tenant should be reasonably free to enjoy their home and make it their own.
- Responsive – a landlord should respond satisfactorily to requests for repairs, correspondence and complaints.
- Safe and decent – a tenant should be able to live free from physical or psychological discomfort in their home.
- Supportive – a tenant should have essential information about renting their home and be helped to access extra support if they need it.
- Well managed – a landlord should be competent or use a competent managing agent.
The Good Landlord Charter will leverage public funding and other key devolved powers in a similar way to the Greater Manchester Good Employment Charter, launched in 2019. For example, when public bodies are involved in seeking rented homes – such as for use as temporary accommodation – they could require those bidding to sign up to the Charter.
Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “I’m clear that driving up the quality of rented housing is one of my key priorities. We know your home has a huge impact on so many aspects of life, from your physical and mental health, to your safety and security.
“This work has, in part, been driven by the devastating conclusions of the inquest that followed Awaab Ishak’s death. A two-year-old boy died because of the quality of his home, and we recognised this had to be the moment when things changed.
“Today, I’m calling on all renters and landlords in Greater Manchester to get involved in this consultation. I believe this charter will be good for tenants who currently have no way of knowing whether a landlord is decent or not; and good for the many landlords doing the right thing and struggling to differentiate themselves from the disreputable end of the market.
“The truth is, when we get housing right, we also potentially save billions in public money currently spent dealing with the social crises that come from poor housing situations.”
Research commissioned as part of the development of the Good Landlord Charter found that over three quarters of private tenants say accreditation would make a difference to their likelihood of renting from a particular landlord. The survey also revealed that three-quarters of private tenants experienced a maintenance issue in their property within the last year, including two in five that have experienced damp and mould and nearly one in three a broken boiler or heating.
According to the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, residents living in properties where the landlord refuses to engage with local bodies or the Charter will be empowered with the right to request a Greater Manchester Property Check. This will be underpinned by stronger, multi-disciplinary inspection and enforcement capability to carry out the checks and issue notices where standards remain unacceptable, with investment of £3.5million to support local authorities to deliver this.
In 2019, according to Government data, almost 12% of all homes in Greater Manchester had a category one hazard – this means a serious and immediate risk to a person’s health and safety – and over 17% did not meet the current Decent Homes Standard. In the private rented sector, 15% of homes had a serious health and safety hazard and over 26% are non-decent.
The Good Landlord Charter has been drafted and developed with a coordinating group, which includes Greater Manchester Housing Providers, Greater Manchester Tenants Union, Greater Manchester Student Assembly, Manchester Student Homes, National Residential Landlords Association and Shelter. Greater Manchester Housing Providers have already committed to signing up to the Charter, meaning thousands of tenants are set to benefit from improved standards.
The Good Landlord Charter is out for public consultation from 10am on January 8, 2024, until 12pm on February 26, 2024. To respond to the consultation online or download a copy of the consultation document (including in Easy Read format), head here. You can find more information on the development of the Good Landlord Charter and view supporting documents here.