An interesting addition to the on-going issue of what to do about the UK’s rogue landlords has come from Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham. He has proposed an amnesty to drive rogue landlords out of the region’s private rented sector.
The Mayor spoke at the Residential Landlord Association’s ‘Future Renting North’ conference on Tuesday, stating his plans to buy properties not up to standard from landlords who are unwilling to make the necessary changes. He has said that they have no place in Greater Manchester.
Burnham’s assertiveness may well pave the way for a spring clean of the rental property industry.
He made use of the conference in order to flesh out his plan to introduce a Good Landlords Scheme in the region. This scheme will provide landlords with a set of principles that they can subscribe to in order to prove that they are committed to providing a set standard of service and accommodation.
Although the plans are at an early stage of development, the Mayor has said that he believes they have the capacity to transform renting in the region.
He told the landlord audience that by attending the conference they have proven their commitment to making changes and striving to provide a good service for their tenants.
No punches were pulled by Mr Burnham, as he said that there are still too many bad landlords out there and that things need to change to tackle what he described as the “epidemic of insecurity”.
He stated: “Safe, decent housing should be a human right as healthcare and education are.
“The fact that you are at the conference today shows that you want to be reputable and do things properly. Truth of the matter is this doesn’t apply to the whole of the private rented sector.
“We need to isolate those that are giving the sector a bad name.
“We will work with you to establish what’s reasonable, what’s fair and what landlords should be expected to provide.”
He followed this by announcing his plans for the amnesty for private landlords who don’t give adequate care to or invest in their properties.
Speaking out after this speech, the Mayor said that he could not yet give details of what the buy-out package would be.
When questioned about whether he might be deemed to be rewarding bad landlords by offering them market prices for their properties, he replied: “Who said anything about market values?
“However if people want to exit the market we will facilitate that.”
The Mayor said he plans to reveal a new housing policy in June, with a rough timescale of 12-18 months for the Good Landlord Scheme to be implemented.