New hub to target rogue landlords in Greater Manchester
Reporter: James Illingworth (Local Democracy Reporter)
Date published: 21 March 2019
Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham
The combined authority has received £128k from central government to target landlords and letting agents who neglect their tenants and provide unsafe homes.
The cash will be used to create a ‘hub’ to help officers share information across GM’s 10 districts to ensure illegal practice is brought before the courts.
Andy Burnham, GM mayor, said the scheme – which will initially run for three months – is a ‘starting point’ for a range of initiatives.
He added: “The majority of landlords in GM provide decent homes and abide by the law, but with this funding GMCA will be able to more easily bring negligent landlords to task.”
New legislation that comes into force this month means tenants can take landlords to court if accommodation is deemed not fit for human habitation.
Landlords could either be ordered to pay compensation or required to carry out repairs to remedy health and safety issues.
Part of the new hub’s role will be to promote the new laws so that tenants are aware of their rights, the combined authority said.
Mr Burnham added: “The establishment of this hub is just the starting point for a wave of activity we’re planning to improve GM’s private renting offer – for both tenants and landlords.
“We’re also exploring options for an ethical lettings agency and working up a scheme designed to showcase the region’s good landlords and call out the bad.
“We’re determined to get renting right, improve relations between tenants and landlords, prevent tenants from reaching crisis point or becoming homeless, and oust the minority of private landlords causing tremendous harm to vulnerable people and local communities.
“Private rented eviction is one of the biggest problems and we need to put a stop ‘no-fault’ eviction. With more and more households becoming homeless due to being evicted from a private tenancy, it’s important we support new safeguards to protect tenants.”
The legislation is in addition to the existing enforcement powers available to local authorities such as Rent Repayment Orders and Civil Penalty and Improvement Notices.
City region bosses say work to improve conditions in the private rented sector is part of the GM housing vision policy.
Salford City mayor Paul Dennett, who is the city region’s lead member for housing, homelessness and infrastructure, said: “Everyone has the right to live in a home that is safe and secure, and it is vital we crack down on the small minority of landlords who are causing serious harm and dragging our communities down.
“There is some excellent work going on within individual districts, and through this hub we’ll pool best practice and resources to drive improvements for both tenants and landlords across the whole of GM.”
The funding has been allocated by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.
Speaking in January when the crackdown on rogue landlords was announced, housing minister Heather Wheeler said: “Everyone has the right to live in a home that is safe and secure, and it is vital we crack down on the small minority of landlords who are not giving their tenants this security.
“This extra funding will further boost councils’ ability to root out rogue landlords and ensure that poor-quality homes in the area are improved, making the housing market fairer for everyone.”
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