New trainee scheme launches to tackle bad housing and support tenants across Greater Manchester

APPLICATIONS are now open for a new scheme to train housing enforcement officers across Greater Manchester, strengthening councils’ ability to tackle bad housing and take action against landlords not maintaining their properties.

Greater Manchester’s Good Landlord Scheme, funded through £1.5m from the Housing Investment Loans Fund, is creating 10 new trainee roles across the city-region to increase capacity in housing enforcement. The trainee programme is part of a three-year package of measures that also includes on-the-job training for existing officers and support for tenants and landlords.

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.

No previous experience is required, and successful applicants will work towards two nationally recognised professional enforcement qualifications, including an apprenticeship.

Visit the greater.jobs website now for more information and to submit an application.

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said: “Hundreds of thousands of people living in the private rented sector in Greater Manchester rely on their landlords to uphold a decent standard and look after their homes. When those things are done properly, tenants can get on with their lives – but when they’re not, it can take a huge toll on their physical and mental wellbeing. In the very worst cases, it can pose a serious threat to their safety.

“That’s when housing enforcement officers have a vital role to play in supporting tenants and taking enforcement action against unscrupulous landlords. The Good Landlord Scheme is one way that we’re responding to this growing issue, by boosting the capacity of our local councils to carry out inspections and intervene. We’re also going to be bringing forward a Good Landlord Charter next year, which will help us drive up standards in the sector and deliver on our ambitions for greater control over housing in our city-region.”

The Good Landlord Scheme is a three-year initiative to improve housing standards in the private rented sector, boost local enforcement capacity, and improve access to advice and support for local residents, including both tenants and landlords. It’s part of Greater Manchester’s ongoing response to the pressures on housing enforcement capacity following nationwide budget constraints and the significant increase in people living in the private rented sector.

As well as the trainee programme, the Good Landlord Scheme is delivering on-the-job training for current enforcement officers to boost their skills and knowledge. It will also provide funding support for local authorities to introduce new enforcement tools like selective licensing, where private landlords are required to be licensed by the council and meet certain standards, and develop new information and guidance for tenants and landlords.

“It’s the ability to help people and change their lives” – Sam’s story

Sam works in the housing enforcement team in Stockport. She said:

“I decided to start working in environmental health after talking with a friend of the family. Back then I didn’t know I would end up in housing enforcement, but when I got a job working with the housing team then I felt like I’d found my calling. It’s the ability to help people and make a change to their lives that I think’s most attractive about the job.

“The problems that we see can be so varied. It could be someone without any heating and hot water, leaks, damp, dangerous electrics, no smoke detectors. They could be a young family or people who are vulnerable, and it could be affecting their health and mental health. Some of the situations take a lot of sensitivity. When you engage with the landlord and get a good outcome for them, you get a lot of satisfaction from that.

“I was a bit shy when I started and I guess I was worried about doing the enforcement because of the shyness. It can be confrontational, the enforcement element, if landlords don’t properly engage. But when I worked with experienced colleagues, they helped me build up my confidence and build those skills.

“We’re a small team, but hugely supportive, and we’ve got a mixture of knowledge and experience with everyone pulling together to solve the problems people are experiencing. It’s great to work alongside people who want to deliver the same improvement for others.”

For more information about the trainee scheme, visit the greater.jobs website.

Article Published: 20/12/2022 12:13 PM