Manchester launch Renting Pledge to drive up standards

Private landlords, letting and managing agents and tenants across Manchester are being asked to sign a pledge that makes a commitment to making private renting better in the city.

Manchester's Renting Pledge was launched this week following last year's housing taskforce chaired by Cllr Kevin Peel which made a series of recommendations to improve the private rented sector in the city and strengthen the voice of tenants and residents.

Find the Renting Pledge online and sign it today at www.manchester.gov.uk/rentingpledge

The private rented sector is a fast growing and vital part of the city’s housing offer and the Manchester Renting Pledge aims to raise awareness of the rights and responsibilities of both landlords and tenants.

In turn, this should raise standards and promote self-regulation in the private rented sector - encouraging landlords to show potential tenants they are determined to be a good landlord, and for tenants to commit to be being a good occupant.

The Manchester Rental Pledge was included as part of the city’s new Market Rental Strategy that was approved by the city council’s Executive in January. This follows an 8 month long inquiry into the private rental sector by a taskforce of local councillors, who questioned tenants, owners, landlords, letting and managing agents and third sector organisations to investigate ways to drive up standards and quality in the sector.

Cllr Jeff Smith, Manchester City Council’s executive member for housing and regeneration, said:

"Manchester’s private rental sector is expanding more rapidly than any other UK city - now accounting for 27 per cent of the city’s residents - and will continue to expand as the city’s economy grows.

"It is essential that these properties offer high quality, well-managed accommodation and tenants have confidence in their landlord to act responsibly and provide a desirable home. In turn, landlords should have assurance that those tenants will look after their investment and pay their rent.

"The Manchester Renting Pledge has already received endorsement from the industry and through these commitments, Manchester renters are offered a genuine, long-term housing solution.

"I'd like to pay tribute to the work done by the taskforce of local councillors chaired by Cllr Kevin Peel who helped us to produce this pledge."

City centre councillor and chair of a recent city council housing taskforce Kevin Peel said:

"I'm thrilled that the work of the taskforce strongly influenced the city council's new Market Rental Strategy and that we have been able to deliver our core commitment of a 'Tenants Charter' in the form of the Manchester Renting Pledge.

"I would strongly urge all tenants, landlords and agents to sign up to the pledge. We'll be pointing residents who contact us with problems in the direction of those agents who are signed up to this and making clear those who aren't.

"Ultimately though this is a voluntary scheme. What we really need is a government which will take action to properly regulate the sector and give stronger rights and protections to tenants and owners who are being ripped off. I'm pleased that Labour have committed to this and I hope the other parties follow suit."

Housing report taken to Parliament

Commenting on the report produced by Cllr Kevin Peel and the housing taskforce, Labour's Shadow Housing Minister Emma Reynolds MP said:

"Kevin’s research highlights the raw deal that too many private renters in Manchester currently get. The rising cost of renting and letting agent fees is hitting tenants hard.

"A Labour government will give renters in Manchester and across the country a better deal and the security and stability they need. We will scrap letting agent fees for tenants, make three year tenancies the norm and put a ceiling on rent increases. None of the other political parties have committed to match these policies."

Through the Manchester Renting Pledge, the tenant commits to:

- Looking after the property - and tell the landlord straight away if any repairs are needed and get permission to make improvements or do their own repairs

- Being a good neighbour - keeping noise down and making sure the area around the property is clean and tidy

- Paying rent on time - even if there is an on-going dispute with the landlord

Tenants will also have access to advice and information if they have a problem with their landlord.

The landlord commits to:

- Protecting a tenant’s deposit - through an approved deposit protection scheme

- Supplying a written tenancy agreement - which includes details about rent and other charges, how to pay, the length of the tenancy and how it can be ended. The tenancy agreement will also list the contents of the property, and their condition, and detail about who pays bills and council tax

- Providing a safe, comfortable, well-maintained home - that will have a gas safety certificate, annual gas checks, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and an energy performance certificate

- Giving contact details and notice - including emergency numbers and providing 24 hours notice if planning to visit

- Repairing problems promptly - especially if there is a risk to the tenant or property when the issue should be dealt with straight away

- Dealing with antisocial behaviour and nuisance - dealing with it quickly whether it is the tenant being troubled by other people’s behaviour or complaints against the tenant

- Looking after the outside of a property - both the exterior and outside areas of the building should be kept in a good condition

- Considering joining a professional organisation - such as the National Landlords Association or Residential Landlords Association

- And agents will commit to being a member of a redress scheme*

Find the Renting Pledge online and sign it today at www.manchester.gov.uk/rentingpledge

*Redress schemes provide a free, independent service for resolving disputes between letting agents and their customers. Landlords and tenants can use the schemes.


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