While we are glad to see Manchester City Council moving towards addressing the problems faced by the thousands of renters right across the city, we do not feel we can support the strategy in its current form.
The council have been consulting with stakeholders right across the sector, and we appreciate that they have included Generation Rent and the voices of renters in their deliberations. We also believe that they sincerely want to work towards tackling the problems of insecure, substandard and unsafe housing which blights so much of the sector.
However, we do not feel the current strategy goes far enough in taking the practical steps urgently needed to give these admirable sentiments the real and tangible support which will have an impact on people’s lives.
We think the current proposals for a voluntary landlords’ standard overlook the phenomenally low levels of uptake such schemes tend to have (5% is the usual upper limit). Generation Rent wants Manchester City Council to push forward and adopt the mandatory landlord registration scheme being proposed by Labour at a national level, and which we believe will be effective, in combination with a raft of other measures as laid out in our Renters Manifesto and Buying Out of the Bubble policy documents.
It is impossible not to acknowledge that there are funding problems for councils right across the country, and that Manchester is no exception. Finding the funds to run a proper landlord standard will be a squeeze, but we feel it is an area which needs funding. Council tax payers in the city deserve the best service from their council. Many are stuck in the deregulated rental market which is having a negative effect on their health, their wellbeing and their prospects. It is hard to quantify how much these conditions are costing the area, and its people, financially, but we believe it would be a better investment for the council in the long term to give these renters a stable and safe platform on which to build their lives.
We ask Manchester City Council to continue working with us and the renters of the city towards making Manchester a city which can say it looks after all its residents as well as its investors.