The election of Andy Burnham as the Mayor of Greater Manchester earlier this month has already seen growing attention around the housing policies that formed much of the focus of his election campaign.
Mr Burnham is clearly committed to addressing the ‘housing crisis’ in Greater Manchester, but what are his views on the Private Rented Sector, which is often blamed for the increase in homelessness?
Let’s look back at some of the policies around the PRS that have been discussed throughout the election campaign to set the scene for what might be on the horizon for landlords in Greater Manchester.
- Andy Burnham has pledged to introduce licensing schemes in all 10 of the boroughs of Greater Manchester
- He claims that Westminster has helped to create an unregulated private rented sector.
- He pledged last year that he would gain powers over property standards. As it stands he would not be able to enforce a licensing scheme as wide as this without the consent of the Secretary of State for Department of Communities and Local Government. Currently each Local Authority, if done in a blanket fashion would have to apply to the Secretary of State for the designation to be approved if it will apply to over 20% of the Borough.
- His plan would see a £300m pot of devolved housebuilding funds – currently being used as a loan fund to private developers – used to compulsorily buy up housing. This would be a Greater Manchester housing fund that is totally focused on tackling Greater Manchester’s housing crisis.
- Andy Burnham previously told Inside Housing that ‘The majority of the fund should be to provide loans and guarantees to councils and housing associations to build more affordable homes for rent’.
- A small proportion of the new homes will be designated ‘rent-to-own’: available on a long-term lease to people under 35.
- He will pioneer a ‘rent to own’ scheme in the region. New schemes working with the private sector, to help people aged under 35 to get on the housing ladder, where they don’t have to find a full deposit straightaway.
- Has pledged to buy up run-down houses from ‘unscrupulous’ landlords – to try to end homelessness in the region. He believes that there are too many irresponsible landlords, not from the region, ‘raking in money’ from badly maintained privately rented homes. His plan is to work with Councils to identify this stock and bring it back into public use.
- Burnham suggests providing loan finance for councils to buy out private landlords if they believe they are not keeping their homes up to the ‘decent homes standard’.
- He has announced the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework will be re-written and will look again at where homes can be built with consideration for Greenbelt land previously under threat in the previous Spatial Framework.
- It has just been announced that Paul Dennett, Salford City Mayor, has been appointed as the portfolio holder for housing, planning and homelessness. He will lead on refocusing Greater Manchester’s housing policy, tackling the housing crisis, and the radical rewrite of the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework.
- Arguably the talking point of his campaign trail, the Greater Manchester Mayor has set up the Homelessness Fund to end homelessness in the region by 2020. He is putting 15% of his yearly mayoral salary into this fund.
Clearly housing is high up on the ‘To do List’ of the new Greater Manchester Mayor and the RLA have already made contact with his office seeking a meeting. We want to ensure that it is not the small minority of criminal landlords that shape this important agenda. We believe that there are many good, law abiding private landlords in Greater Manchester that can help Andy Burnham achieve his vision for a safe and secure home for all.