Housing The Mayor

Greater Manchester sets out ambitious plans for Good Landlord Charter to drive up housing standards

GREATER Manchester Leaders have today (Wednesday 18 January) launched the process to develop a Good Landlord Charter for the city-region – a pioneering new initiative to drive up housing standards, recognise good practice, and support tenants.

The Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, and Deputy Mayor Paul Dennett, the Salford City Mayor and Chair of the Greater Manchester Integrated Care Partnership, made the announcement alongside Charlie Norman, Chair of Greater Manchester Housing Providers (GMHP).

The Good Landlord Charter will reaffirm Greater Manchester’s commitment to deliver safe, decent, and affordable housing for all residents, and acknowledge that housing is fundamental to people’s health and wellbeing.

The Charter will cover both social housing and private rented sector housing, and the aim is to define a set of clear, practical, and accessible standards that will drive up the quality of renting in Greater Manchester. It will also act as a vehicle for Greater Manchester to deliver on its broader ambitions for more devolved control over housing – a key component of ongoing trailblazer negotiations with central Government.

GMHP have been working for more than a year on standards and regulation for social housing providers in the city-region, and this work – alongside national standards set by the Regulator of Social Housing – will provide a firm foundation for Greater Manchester’s own scheme. These include working with the GMCA and local authorities to:

  • Ensure that social housing providers uphold the regulatory standards as they are now, including the new tenant satisfaction measures from 2023
  • Work collectively on influencing new national standards, such as those set out in the Social Housing Regulation Bill and the Better Social Housing review
  • Regularly and clearly communicate regulatory standards for social housing residents
  • Learn from and act on the lessons from the Awaab Ishak tragedy and share existing good practice
  • Review how each social housing provider reports, records, and remedies disrepair claims

Developing a Good Landlord Charter was one of the Mayor’s manifesto commitments in the 2021 mayoral election.

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said:

“Bringing forward a Good Landlord Charter was a commitment I made back in 2021, and right now the case for raising standards, tightening regulations, and empowering tenants has never been stronger. Once again, Greater Manchester is leading the way and making a decisive move towards a new approach – one that we hope will join the dots between housing, health, wellbeing, and everything in between.

“From the way he led the Government response to the appalling death of Awaab Ishak in Rochdale, I know that the Secretary of State understands the importance of this, and why we need better housing, stronger enforcement, and greater accountability across the board. So do many partners across our city-region’s social and private rented sector – which is why we want to work with them to create a Charter that is as fair and robust as possible, and establishes a clear set of expectations for landlords and tenants.

“Our devolution journey has already enabled us to make a difference to people’s lives by integrating public services and aligning priorities right across the system. Our ongoing trailblazer talks now present an opportunity for us to work with Government and go even further, with greater powers and responsibility at local level, and housing is a key priority for us in this process.”

Following the model set by the Good Employment Charter, the Charter will be co-produced with stakeholders across the housing sector, and input will be sought from partners including registered housing providers, private landlords, local authorities, and tenants’ groups. Currently, social housing providers are subject to a national set of regulatory standards, covering economic and consumer responsibilities, while a different set of standards applies to the private rented sector. Our ambition is that a Greater Manchester Good Landlord Charter will give both sectors a clear route map to raising standards in all rented homes.

As with the Good Employment Charter, landlords and housing providers will receive recognition for upholding the standards and principles set out in the Good Landlord Charter.

Development of the Charter will be informed by research commissioned to gauge the views of tenants and landlords about the issues that matter to them. That development process is set to conclude later this year, following a public consultation on a draft Charter, with the aim to have the Charter in place by the end of 2023.

Deputy Mayor Paul Dennett said:

“Today represents a major step towards introducing a Good Landlord Charter for Greater Manchester, making us the first place in the country to bring forward a commitment of this kind. It will provide a firm, clear, and practical set of standards that will recognise good practice and enable us to work with partners across the sector to drive up housing standards.

“It’s clear that some landlords or housing providers out there are not upholding existing standards, and the consequences of this can be devastating to tenants’ health and wellbeing. We want to set the benchmark for what good housing ought to mean right across Greater Manchester, close the gaps that exist between different organisations in the sector, and ensure that tenants have clarity and confidence in housing standards in our city-region.”

Charlie Norman, Chair of Greater Manchester Housing Providers, said:

“At the heart of Greater Manchester Housing Providers’ ethos is the belief that everyone in Greater Manchester has the right to a decent, healthy, safe and affordable place to live. Across our 24 members we own or manage over 250,000 homes in the city region, and we have a shared commitment to continuous improvement of standards and quality.

“We welcome the opportunity to work with the Mayor, our partners, and most importantly tenants and residents across Greater Manchester, to help develop the Good Landlord Charter and ensure everyone in both the private and social rented sector lives in a place they can be proud to call home.”   

Kurt Mueller, Director of Corporate Affairs at Grainger plc, the UK’s largest listed residential landlord with over 1,600 rental homes in Greater Manchester, said:

“As one of the country’s leading responsible landlords, we’re pleased to be involved in helping shape Manchester’s Good Landlord Charter, an opportunity to help raise the bar for renting across the city. Renting can and should be a positive experience and we’re committed to doing what we can to make this a reality.”

Tackling bad housing and boosting enforcement

In December applications opened for a new trainee programme funded through the Greater Manchester Good Landlord Scheme, which is creating 10 new roles to increase capacity in housing enforcement across the city-region.

Over the course of a three-year placement, trainees will develop a range of skills in housing enforcement, deploying the unique powers that officers have to advise landlords of their responsibilities and act where they find bad practices and poor-quality housing. They will work to support tenants struggling with homes that may be damp, cold, insecure, or structurally unsound, gathering evidence and taking legal action against the worst offending landlords.

Applications will close on Friday 20 January, and more information can be found on the greater.jobs website.

Article Published: 18/01/2023 18:12 PM