Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, has set out a new deal for renters in Greater Manchester and to make the city-region the first in the country where every rented home must be above the decent homes standard. The mayor’s new rental plans would give councils the power to seize unsafe or poor housing from rogue landlords to protect renters.
Andy Burnham has called on the Government to back the city-region with a set of new or enhanced powers and resources, using the framework of the city-region’s devolution deal, with the aim of shaping a template for national action on the housing crisis. The moves comes following the case of toddler Awaab Ishak, who sadly died after he was exposed to mould in his flat in Rochdale.
The intention would be to bring in the new set of measures in place by Autumn 2024, building on the forthcoming Renter’s Reform Bill and driven by Greater Manchester’s Good Landlord Charter. The mayor’s deal proposes a new set of tools to enforce improvements including a Greater Manchester property check inspection of all rented properties, which would also protect renters from eviction if they report concerns about poor conditions such as mould and damp.
A “property improvement plan” for every rented home, to help connect landlords to funding and skilled contractors, has also been proposed. There would also be the ability to acquire properties from landlords who are unable or unwilling to meet standards. Councils would be given enhanced enforcement teams to further protect tenants, and there would be a mandatory register of landlords – a measure proposed within the Renters Reform Bill.
In a speech at the Housing 2023 conference in Manchester on June 27, the Mayor revealed the new deal for renters, saying: “Our national mission should be to give all people a good, secure home. It is a simple fact that you cannot achieve anything else in life without that foundation beneath you. You cannot level up any part of the UK when half of its housing stock is falling down and damaging the health of the people who live inside.
“And to those who ask whether it is affordable? It is our failure to provide it that leads to the waste of billions of public money dealing with social crises that come from the lack of it. Good housing is true prevention. Personally, I believe we will only get the sea change on housing that we need when we make a good, safe, secure home a human right in UK law.
“That change would require action on many more levels – including much great focus on the state of the existing housing stock and the urgent need to build hundreds of thousands of homes for social rent. Until that time, we are using what powers we have in our Trailblazer Devolution deal to set ourselves a 15-year new mission for Greater Manchester: a healthy home for all by 2038.
“In simple terms, that means a home that doesn’t damage your physical health through damp, mould and other physical hazards and doesn’t harm your mental health because you live in fear of eviction. To achieve this, we are proposing a complete re-wiring of the system to put power in the hands of tenants – but, in doing so, make it work better for everyone: tenants, landlords and local communities.”