Plans to introduce landlord licensing schemes throughout the whole of Greater Manchester have been announced by mayoral candidate Andy Burnham.
The Labour candidate has announced his plans for housing in industry magazine Inside Housing.
He has pledged to introduce licensing schemes in all 10 of the boroughs should he win the election – as well as renegotiating the terms of Greater Manchester’s devolved £300m housing pot, which he says is being used to support huge firms and is too focused on luxury city centre property schemes.
He has also set out plans to grant compulsory purchase powers to local authorities to buy up and improve privately rented properties that don’t meet the Decent Homes Standard and to seek powers to regulate rent increases and property standards.
The RLA has serious concerns about some of these proposals which it believes could reduce the size and quality of the PRS – precisely the issues Mr Burnham claims he wants to tackle.
Alan Ward, Chairman of the RLA said: “At the RLA we oppose private landlord licensing schemes of this kind as they are both expensive and unnecessary. Local authorities already have access to landlords’ details via council tax forms. What they need to do is use this information to crack down on the minority of criminal landlords who are not managing their properties responsibly.”
“We also have concerns about any form of rent control. History shows us that when rent controls have been put in place the size and quality of the PRS has been adversely affected. When the UK last had rent controls, the size of the Private Rented Sector fell from more than half of households – 55% – in 1939 to just 8% in the late 1980s. This would be disastrous for Manchester. It will discourage landlords from letting properties – hitting supply. Rent controls also limit the landlord’s ability to adequately finance maintenance work. If Mr Burnham wants to increase the supply and quality of rental homes – as he says he does – this is the wrong way to go about it.”
Mr Ward added: “The RLA believes the supply of PRS homes is vital to tackling the UK housing crisis. Mr Burnham must recognise the contribution the PRS makes to the Manchester economy in providing homes for the young people and families who work in the city and surrounding areas. If he frustrates the housing market that can only have consequences for employers who want to attract people to work there. Any measures that he proposes should be seen to improve standards and tackle criminal landlords.”