A new ‘rogue landlord hub’ to crackdown on criminal landlords and agents and those renting out substandard homes is being set up in Manchester.
The new hub was announced by Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham – and is being funded by a £128,000 grant from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) first announced last year.
The mayor said plans for an ‘ethical lettings agency’ and other schemes are also in the pipeline and used his announcement to add his voice to growing calls to abolish Section 21 repossessions.
Mr Burnham was the keynote speaker at the RLA’s Future Renting North conference in the city last year, where he outlined plans for a ‘good landlord scheme’ for the region.
His statement suggests this too could soon become reality – but does not go into detail.
He said: “The majority of landlords in Greater Manchester provide decent homes and abide the law, but with this funding Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) will be able to more easily bring negligent landlords to task.
“The establishment of this hub is just the starting point for a wave of activity we’re planning to improve Greater Manchester’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 to ‘no-fault’ evictions. 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.”
What will the rogue landlord hub actually do?
According to the Greater Manchester Combined Authority the hub will:
- provide advanced training for frontline officers to help bring more illegal landlords to justice through the courts
- improve information sharing and enable collaboration across Greater Manchester
- develop and share best practice and information to provide a more consistent approach
- deliver communications campaigns targeted at both tenants and landlords
The scheme will initially run for three months across all boroughs of Greater Manchester and the GMCA says the results will be used to ‘shape future initiatives that will continue to crack down on rogue landlords.’
RLA policy director David Smith said: “Mr Burnham recognises that the vast majority of landlords in Greater Manchester are doing a good job – but there is a criminal minority giving the sector a bad name that we agree needs to be rooted out.
“We are keen to hear more detail on his plans for the future of the private rented sector in Greater Manchester.”
“However, we are concerned that this is a short term measure with limited funding and would like to see a longer term commitment to practical enforcement to remove bad landlords from the sector.”
The hub’s first task is promoting the new Fitness for Human Habitation Act, which came into force yesterday – March 20.