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  • Property-a-holics

    Video: Mayor of Manchester RLA speech

    The RLA "Future Renting" event in Manchester yesterday featured some really great speakers and was like a toolkit for landlords to prepare for, and face, the future.

    Key note speaker, Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, encountered some challenges from landlords in the audience with his claims that 4 out of 10 properties in Manchester's PRS are sub-standard, and his announcement of a "Good Landlord" voluntary scheme. There was some heated and emotive exchanges between Mr. Burnham and landlords who felt let down by his housing policies and plans for the future.

    He also announced some early-stage plans to rid the Manchester PRS of rogue landlords who do not maintain their properties and "degrade local communities".

    With the kind permission of the RLA, we are able to bring you this exclusive recording of Andy Burnham's speech at the Conference:

    Here is the press release, issued by the RLA:


    Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has proposed an amnesty to drive rogue landlords out of the region’s private rented sector.

    Speaking at the Residential Landlord Association’s ‘Future Renting North’ conference today the Mayor said he wants to buy up properties from landlords unwilling to bring them up to standard, saying they have no place in Greater Manchester.

    He used the conference to put flesh on the bones of his plan to introduce a Good Landlord Scheme in the region which will include a set of principles for landlords to subscribe to proving that they are committed to providing a certain standard of service and accommodation.

    The Mayor said that although the plans are in their early stages he believes they have the capacity to transform renting in the region.

    He told the landlord audience that their attendance at the conference proved their commitment to getting it right and to providing a good service for their tenants.

    Mr Burnham pulled no punches and said 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 said: “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 then announced plans for the amnesty for private landlords who don’t look after or invest in their properties.

    Speaking after his speech he said that he could not yet give details of what the buy-out package would be.

    When asked if he could be accused of rewarding bad landlords by offering them market price for their home, he simply 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.


    From the Manchester Evening News:

    The squalor, danger and death behind the closed doors of the B&Bs used by hundreds of Manchester’s homeless people is never seen by the public, rarely seen by the council and goes unrecorded by the government, which does not count their residents in its official figures.

    But new research by the Openshaw-based homeless charity Justlife reveals the scale of the crisis hidden away in the city’s grim private guesthouses.

    It estimates that if all the people living in this type of ‘unsupported temporary accommodation’ - provision for homeless people who do not tick the right boxes for official help - were actually counted in national figures, government statistics would be ten times higher nationally than ministers currently admit.

    In Manchester alone, Justlife believes it has identified 500 such people. As they are not owed a homelessness ‘duty’ by the local authority - because they are not in ‘priority’ need under national legislation, due to not being considered vulnerable enough - they have ended up languishing in B&Bs, unrecorded, ‘cycling in and out of rough sleeping’.

    Full/source article


    The article goes on to say that there are fears that, if the Council shut down these sub-standard B & B's and HMOs, the residents would end up on the streets as there is nowhere else for them to go.

    We heard recently from local authorities on how they are struggling to fulfil their housing obligations:

    Please share your views of Andy Burnham speech here and if you think Andy Burnham is providing solutions for the PRS in Greater Manchester.

    Related topics:

    What causes homelessness in the UK? 

    Homelessness - you ain't seen nothing yet! 

    Tenant Tax (Clause 24) causing homelessness? 

    Private landlords blamed for increasing homelessness 

    EXCLUSIVE - "Tax changes for landlords could lead to homelessness" says Fergus Wilson


    Paul Cummings hit the nail on the head with comments on the sister thread to this which I cant seen to respond on now

    It sticks in the throat when people who are responsible for the council stock try to patronise me and tell me that they are going to work with me to ensure my properties are of the right standard . Look at your own standards first before you comment on mine

    I own many leaseholds where they are the freeholder and look after the exterior body of the flat like roofs gutters windows gardens etc

    They are my Landlord

    Their record is abysmal

    1) A tree left for 30 years to grow within 2 feet of my footings damaging fencing , guttering etc

    2) Bodged guttering and roofing repairs -  3 times on one roof - I got a whole new roof out of them

    3) Flats riddled with damp because of poor quality build. and no maintenance in 50 years

    4) Roofs built at wrong pitch & wrong tiles . Water comes through and soaks the roof insulation creates damp/ spores

    5) Cockroach infestations which took a press campaign before they admitted liability

    6)  Recently - man on roof  falls through ceiling injuring tenant who was pregnant - 50K lawsuit ongoing

    They do not police themselves effectively but have the audacity to stand on a stage and criticise us

    The hypocrisy is phenomenal

    Improve standards across the board by all means - Totally agree

    But give the job  to and INDEPENDENT assessor and include all homes

    The PRS  yes but also RSL`s Council stock  commercial and private ressies

    Some ressies are shocking and the kids suffer in silence - include them

    My boiler was last checked about 5 years ago . Why not every year by law as well like the PRS

    Some commercials workplaces I`m sure have  poorly maintained wash / shower / loo facilities

    Why do PRS tenants somehow need protecting more than his own kids in his own home

    Rogue Councils - Start with them . Set a gold standard . Dont preach Mr Burnham until GM have passed

    If you want a Good Landlords Scheme  get a  Good Council Scheme in place first

    I will give Mr Burnham an amnesty for now - but sort it please in 28 days . I want to work with you

    But if you don`t I may  have to serve an improvement notice on you


    Jonathan Clarke. http://www.buytoletmk.com

    Vanessa Warwick to paul_cummings 18 hours ago

    The ironic/ridiculous thing is that the council cannot take themselves to court for sub-standard housing Paul!  One landlord informed me of a council house in GM where the roof had been leaking for years, the the council has not bothered to fix it!


    And herein lies the problem.   Do as I say not as I do.

    Spot on JC.   If you are going to preach about standards then surely job 1 on the list is to set the bloody standard first.   If I was to bring my portfolio in line to the Councils Burnham is overseeing, my checklist would look like this.

    1.   Take half the portfolio and remove nice kitchens and replace with shabby cheap kitchens falling to bits kitchens.  Replace modern white/grey bathrooms with avacado.

    2.  Replace quality new boilers and replace with antique leaky boilers that work, occasionally.

    3.  Inform all my tradesmen to stop answering tenants calls and fixing all problems that or next day where possible, and to instead not answer any of my tenants calls until at least the 14th time of asking having kept them on hold for 2 hours.  Then Promise to fix the problem in the next 28 days, failing to turn up at least 4 times before doing a substandard job and charging me 3 times the going rate.

    4.  Evict some of my nice, good hard working well vetted tenants with  some scumbags to piss off all the neighbours and bring down the neighbourhood in general.  Delete all neighbour phone numbers from my phone as why should I care.

    5.  Employ my roofer to remove tiles from half the properties to create leaks, and wait until property is damaged and stinks of damp before giving tenant a job number to be completed in next 28 days. Then revert back to point 3.

    6.  Purchase 1/2 ton of dog shit and spread around the front gardens of my tenants, so as my property is in keeping with yours.   Strip paint from fencing so it rots quicker to match councils.

    This is what I'd have to do Burnham to get my standard to yours.   I'd kindly suggest you get your own house in order then set standards accordingly.   When you reach my standards, then come back and we'll talk about moving to the next level together.  Until then, take your politician Rhetoric and put it somewhere not very sunny.


    Quite Paul!

    Mr. Burnham described Section 21 as "kicking people out at the drop of a letter".  He clearly has no understanding of the costs, legal process, and huge timeframe it takes to get possession of a property!


    Quite. Why would any landlord issue a section 21 unless it is either to spare the tenants the stigma of a section 8 and keep relations as good as possible in difficult circumstances, or because they are being pushed into raising rents or exiting the sector by punitive financial, legislative and social pressures.

    In this increasingly fractured and embittered society, landlords are being sent mixed messages about what government and pressure groups are aiming to do. Either they want landlords to give up; which means selling their houses and evicting the tenants, or they want us to offer longer tenancies; in which case we need greater protection, support and security. They cannot have it both ways.


    I welcome the fact that some politicians are making the effort to listen to different points of view and they don't all think that we are profiteering parasites who don't care about our tenants. It's a small step in the right direction towards lifting up a sector that  is suffering from institutional depression.

    I've interviewed prospective tenants who have reported viewing properties in terrible condition and my estate agent has said the same so clearly there is a problem to be addressed in Manchester. I also agree with those who say the issue is not confined to the private rental sector.  Council housing has a bad reputation as being accommodation of last resort, and that creates a regrettable form of snobbery.  Struggling councils and failing landlords have much to learn from the best landlords in both sectors, and punitive measures should only be introduced when other measures such as education and support have failed. If the final outcome is that the property ends up in the auction room with the council getting first refusal, that may well be no bad thing, but it needs thinking through very carefully.

    The reasons for property being in bad condition in all sectors needs to be examined objectively. There is too much rumour, speculation and assumption at the moment  Whilst tenants are right to expect value for money and landlords are right to expect the tenant to look after the property, the reasons for this breaking down are complex and unclear. I hope Andy Burnham will take on board the different points of view an come up with a balanced judgement. Otherwise good landlords, fed up with constant criticism and increasing financial and legislative risk, will continue to exit the market and homelessness within the rented sector will be exacerbated,

    Politicians like Andy Burnham need to work with private landlords and the social sector towards a fair and workable future.


    I have more time for Andy Burnham than most Labour politicians - the Blair-Brown governments in retrospect look like paragons of competency and intelligence compared to the current mob under Corbyn - and I welcome the fact that he at least appeared to be genuine in his desire for a "conversation" with private landlords about how to improve standards.

    However he appeared under-briefed about the many problems faced by landlords, including their dealings with supposedly-friendly councils, who are so often hostile to private landlords and view their role as being about control, punishment and raise revenue via licensing and other measures.

    He shouldn't just have appealed to RLA members' good natures, but offered them some carrots: good practice needs to be encouraged and rewarded and built upon, not just insisted on in a punitive manner.

    I would also have welcomed more willingness to criticise Manchester councils, to ask in his role as mayor *why* they are not using their extensive existing powers to shut down the rogue landlords that we all know exist. If 40% of private housing in Manchester is really sub-standard - a figure I find hard to believe, to the point I'd question who is defining the standards and how much social housing and owner-occupied is failing too - then since standards are usually accompanied by measures to enforce them, why aren't Manchester councils using the many powers available to them to tackle the problems?

    Of course good landlords regret the actions of bad ones and would like to see them exit the market, but there's not much we can do about them, whereas the people with the power are councils, who need to be told to do their job properly and resourced accordingly; a good first step on this score would be for all landlords fines and confiscations, and 50% of any benefits saved, to be paid to councils when a conviction is secured, not the Treasury.

    I would also have welcomed a recognition that landlords operate in a dynamic with tenants and councils, and that many landlords' problems are caused by the actions of tenants - not paying rent, vacating without giving notice, damaging the property, antagonising the neighbours, etc. If tenants are suffering from a perception that they have no security of tenure, perhaps this is because their image is being damaged by Rogue Tenants who give them a bad name?

    If a Good Landlord scheme is worthwhile, how about a Good Tenant scheme too, in which tenants can demonstrate to prospective landlords that they are capable of being stable, regular-paying, non-crazy tenants?

    And if councils are so anxious to punish landlords, why are there so few penalties for tenants when they misbehave? As the phrase goes, it takes two to tango.


    That Andy Burnham speech made me so angry .... GRRRR!

    "Work with us otherwise we'll do it anyway and f**k you over, so best tow the line" was the upshot of it.


    It didn't come across like that to me... he actually said regarding the new scheme they want to do it with landlords not do it to landlords.  I don't have much time for politicians but I think both sides need to set aside their ingrained suspicions and try to work together.  Otherwise all landlords will always be tarred with the brush of the rogue ones and govt will continue to make life harder for us.

    If you disagree with what is proposed, get involved and tell Andy Burnham why.  Demonstrate the other side of the story.


    I think I have tracked down the report that Andy Burnham got the 40% from - from a telephone poll commisioned by Shelter. I could not find the original but I suspect little was done to avoid the biases inherent in such polling.


    Evictions are not the only figures which tells the full story.

    There must be some tenants who do the decent thing and do comply with their AST contract.

    That is they do comply with S21 or S8 and vacate on the last day of the notice.

    Those tenants don't appear anywhere.

    As for a poll conducted by Shelter. ........................!!!!!!!??

    So no agenda there then!!!!

    Evictions only occur after a tenant has refused to comply with valid S21 or S8.

    They become homeless not because of S21 or S8.

    It is because  they refuse to pay increased rents for whatever reason.

    The LL needs to sell because of S24

    The LL is fed up and just wants to leave the PRS.

    The LL needs to sell to reduce leverage on other properties owned because of S24

    The tenants aren't complying with the AST terms.

    Burnham didn't mention these causes of eviction.

    Why NOT! ?

    Eviction is just the method that LL are forced to use if the tenant refuses  to comply with valid S21 and S8.

    He is being disingenuous at the least.