Housing groups across Greater Manchester have urged MPs and local policymakers to step in and protect tenants from eviction, warning that the system is now in crisis.
While rents are increasing, the boroughs' local authority housing services are at breaking point with some of the highest numbers of people assessed as homeless in the UK. Government cuts to legal aid, alongside the reduced scope and eligibility requirements, mean that fewer people are eligible for free legal help.
In a letter signed by groups including Shelter, Greater Manchester Tenants Union and Citizen's Advice, they call for a range of actions to protect tenants and make it less likely they will be evicted. 'There is no doubt that tenants who might have a defence to their claim are being kicked out onto the streets because of the lack of advice available to them,'� it explains.
It wants the government to restore Local Housing Allowance rates to account for rent increases, to bring forward the Renters Reform Bill to protect tenants from Section 21 evictions, introduce rent controls and an eviction ban. 'There is no longer any time to delay changes, or defer responsibility,'� it adds. 'We are at crisis point.'�
Meanwhile, Trafford Council has signed up to the Greater Manchester Good Landlord Scheme to take action against landlords who fail to maintain their properties. It aims to improve housing standards in the private rented sector, boost local enforcement, and improve access to advice and support for local residents, tenants and landlords.
Councillor James Wright, executive member for housing and neighbourhoods, says: 'Landlords sometimes fail to carry out the necessary work and improvements and this can lead to huge problems for the tenants. That's when housing enforcement officers can step in and take control by taking enforcement action.'�