A cap on rents and more stringent regulations are among the proposals put forward by the mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, in a bid to help improve the private rented sector, especially the ‘below standard’ student rental market in Greater Manchester.
Manchester City Council does not currently operate any landlord accreditation scheme, while Manchester Student Homes, an organisation co-owned by the University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University, runs an independent landlord accreditation scheme, but the mayor is unsatisfied with its existing standards.
Burnham wants to introduce a ‘Good Landlords’ scheme in Greater Manchester to protect students from rogue landlords.
The scheme will “set basic standards for what is good practice in terms of being fair to tenants, in terms of rent prices, but also in terms of the safety of the accommodation, and also its energy efficiency”.
Speaking to The Mancunion, Burnham disclosed frustration with private landlords and the government for not taking care of student tenants.
“We’ve got a private renting sector in the UK that isn’t regulated in any meaningful way, so what we’ve got to try and do at the [Greater Manchester] level is to introduce a scheme that puts pressure on them,” he said.
The mayor expressed concern that a lot of the student housing in the city is “way below the standard it should be” from a simple living point of view, but also from an environmental point of view.
Burnham hopes that accrediting quality landlords in the scheme will help students determine which landlords to avoid, and encourage landlords to make major improvements to the properties they let to students.
He continued: “One specific that I think the university could help with is challenging private landlords who provide accommodation to the university students.”
“If all four universities within Greater Manchester were to work with us on the Good Landlords scheme, I think it would deliver significant benefits to the students.”