Rental properties in Manchester have doubled in the last decade and with population growth expected to continue in the coming years the city council has set out a strategy to ensure quality within the sector.
Last year, Manchester City Council announced its ambitious Residential Growth Prospectus that set out a strategy to support the projected population growth that suggests the need for 55,000 new homes by 2027.
A major part of this strategy was to develop a quality private rented sector with well-managed, desirable accommodation - a key driver for achieving economic growth.
The rental market is an important sector accounting for nearly 27 per cent of the city’s residents - expanding more rapidly than any other UK city - and is expected to increase further as the city’s growth continues.
The Manchester Market Rental Strategy looks to ensure and raise standards of rental properties as a key component of the city’s housing market - with a focus on those properties and landlords offering the poorest service and causing the greatest problems.
The strategy notes that addressing the deep seated issues - particularly at the bottom of the market - will require a long term approach working with partners and government to bring positive change.
The strategy looks to:
- Promote good practice in the sector through greater self-regulation. This includes the Manchester Rental Pledge (Tenants Charter) as recommended in our recent housing taskforce report - an agreement and commitment that spells out what is expected from landlords and tenants - designed to raise awareness on standards and rights and responsibilities in the market rented sector
- Target and focus intervention to improve the worst properties and neighbourhoods with pro-active enforcement on landlords and agents.
- Enhance the role of professional bodies - such as housing associations and national landlord and letting associations - that will ensure standards are met at all market levels. For example, registered providers have a strong place-based relationship with communities, that the city council no longer has, which puts them in a good position to help improve housing in their area. They also have a vested interest to add value to the neighbourhoods they manage.
- Improve communications in the sector, including a simple re-branding as ‘market rental’ rather than ‘private rented’, harking a new era for the sector. This will also incorporate better use of web based tools and social media to support tenants and landlords.
Cllr Kevin Peel, who chaired the city council's housing taskforce which influenced the development of the new strategy, said:
"I'm pleased that the report we produced has heavily influenced the city council's new market rental strategy, including a pledge for a new 'Tenants Charter' and tougher enforcement of dodgy landlords and agents. We'll be working closely with the council to push up standards here in the city centre."
Cllr Jeff Smith, Manchester City Council's Executive Member for Housing, said:
"The Manchester rental market has boomed in the last few years, particularly in the city centre and now offers some of the best accommodation in the city. For the vast majority of renters this option works well and we will continue to support and encourage this market to create wider choice and competition which will drive up standards even higher.
"But we have a message for those unscrupulous and even criminal landlords that deliberately flout the rules and target vulnerable people who have little or no choice, we will use all our available combined powers to target your activities as you are not welcome in Manchester."