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Andy Burnham to ramp up battle with rogue landlords in Manchester

Newly re-elected Mayor of Manchester Andy Burnham has committed to spending £600,000 of council tax money on a range of measures designed to crack down on bad landlords.

Burnham’s measures include a Property Check scheme which gives tenants the right to request a property check, followed up by enforcement action – to ensure the properties reach the Decent Homes Standard.

The Property Check scheme will be piloted in Salford, while the Mayor will ask Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service to aid in delivering these checks.

Burnham said: “This new right to a Property Check for all residents, backed up with new measures to protect renters and take action against rogue landlords, will empower people across Greater Manchester and put us on course to become the UK’s only Housing First city-region.”

Burnham said around 23% (56,000) of privately rented homes, as well as just under 17% (82,000) of rented homes fall short of meeting the Decent Homes Standard.

But he added: “Since many tenants feel unable to raise complaints for fear of eviction, it’s thought the true number of substandard rentals may be as high as 40%.”

Another measure being brought in will be a new team of housing law experts, who will advise tenants and identify chances to intervene when people are at risk of harassment and illegal eviction.

Meanwhile a pilot will be launched with Oldham Council to find out central government and local councils can claim back housing benefit from landlords in cases when their homes are substandard.

The Good Landlord Charter, set to be rolled out this year, will work with landlords willing to cooperate with the council in a bid to drive up standards of accommodation.

A survey of private tenants in Greater Manchester found that in the past year:
• 43% of private tenants have experienced damp and mould.
• 31% have been without hot water or central heating.
• 20% have experienced broken electrics.
• 20% are living in a property with a leaky roof.
• 12% are living with a pest infestation.