Greater Manchester mayor launches consultation to stop 'untouchable' landlords

The consultation for the Good Landlord charter was launched on 8 January 2024. Credit: ITV Granada Reports

The mayor of Greater Manchester has launched a consultation to improve the standards of renting across the city.

The Good Landlord Charter is a voluntary scheme that would give landlords the ability to opt in and separate themselves from landlords who are not maintaining their properties.

At the launch on Monday 8 August, Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, said: "I want 2024 to go down as the year when Greater Manchester got serious about housing and housing standards we know people in GM are living in homes that are harmful to their health, physical health and mental health."

"Your home is essential for everything that you want in life, you can't have a good life without a good home behind you and that's why Greater Manchester is getting more serious about housing."

The charter is the first of its kind in the UK, bringing together landlords and renters to improve the standards of homes in social housing and the private rented sector. 

It aims to recognise and develop best practice, boost tenant confidence in the quality of properties and provide a voluntary standard for landlord.

"It is a voluntary charter, it is the Good Landlord charter and I want to recognise that there are Good Landlords out there in Greater Manchester," said Mr Burnham.

"The problem is, how do we know? How can we differentiate a good landlord from one who is less scrupulous? The Good Landlord charter is the first way we can do that.

"We recognise this would be a good vehicle for those who are trying to do a good thing."

The charter would introduce a property check if their landlord is not registered as part of the scheme.

"We are giving all of our residents the right to request a property check so if they're in a home that they feel unsafe, and is making them feel worried, they will be able to ask for a property check to be done because there are legal requirements in regard to properties and sometimes, tenants can find themselves in a situation where those legal requirements are not being met," added Mr Burnham.

"We have two routes here: a supportive route through the Greater Manchester Good Landlord charter and a together approach in regard to property checks and improvement notices if landlords are putting their residents and tenants at risk."

The Good Landlord Charter sets out the following characteristics: 

  • Affordable – a tenant should understand how their rent and other charges are set and should not be ripped-off. 

  • Inclusive – a tenant should not have a worse renting experience because of who they are. 

  • Private and secure – a tenant should be reasonably free to enjoy their home and make it their own. 

  • Responsive – a landlord should respond satisfactorily to requests for repairs, correspondence and complaints. 

  • Safe and decent – a tenant should be able to live free from physical or psychological discomfort in their home. 

  • Supportive – a tenant should have essential information about renting their home and be helped to access extra support if they need it. 

  • Well managed – a landlord should be competent or use a competent managing agent. 

Mr Burnham said: "I have long felt it wrong that there are some absent landlords who recieve funds via the benefit system in respect of housing benefit, but don't reinvest any of that in the upkeep of their properites and that can be bad for the tenant and drag whole streets and communities down.

"We're calling time on that. Landlords aren't going to be untouchable in that way. We are going to give our residents a right to request a property check in those circumstances, and then we will take action to ensure that they're maintaining their homes to the right standard."