The Manchester Renting Pledge, an initiative by Manchester City Council as an alternative strategy to licensing, has got off to a really good start.
The Renting Pledge is a central plank in Manchester City Council’s strategy, to ensure that landlords, agents, and tenants all understand their rights and responsibilities in a bid to improve private renting across Manchester.
Launched Wednesday 25th March the scheme is free and aims to develop a quality Private Rented Sector (PRS) with well-managed and desirable accommodation. The Council believes that a strong PRS is crucial driver for economic growth and that working with landlords instead of against them; the scheme is a preferable approach to compulsory landlord licensing, which they tried for 5 years without much success.
The Manchester Rental Pledge is a set of voluntary commitments Cllr Jeff Smith, Manchester City Council’s executive member for housing and regeneration, told the Residential Landlords Association (RLA):
“Manchester’s private rented sector is expanding more rapidly than any other UK city, now accounting for 27 per cent of the city’s residents, and will continue to expand as the city’s economy grows.
“It is essential that these properties offer high-quality, well-managed accommodation and tenants have confidence in their landlord to act responsibly and provide a desirable home. In turn, landlords should have assurance that those tenants will look after their investment and pay their rent.”
John Stewart, Policy & Communications Manager for the RLA, who attended the launch said:
“The RLA is pleased to support the Manchester Rental Standard. We welcome the pragmatic approach of Manchester City Council in seeking to raise the standard of private rented housing.
“Too many councils impose expensive licensing regimes that only deliver a list of compliant landlords. Instead, the Renting Pledge is a simple to understand set of standards that landlords can sign up to, allowing tenants to identify responsible landlords providing good homes. It also helps tenants understand their rights and responsibilities when taking on a lease.
“Scarce council resources can now be targeted at the worst housing, often let by criminal operators. Kicking the crooks out if private renting benefits everyone.”
Agencies with over 6000 properties under management have already signed up to the scheme as well as the professional associations including the RLA, NLA, ARLA, ARMA, NALS and Manchester Student Homes.
The pledge has nine main commitments:
- I will protect the tenant’s deposit: through an approved deposit protection schemes
- I will supply a written tenancy agreement: it will include the rent and other charges, how to pay, the length of the tenancy and how it can be ended, a list of the contents and their condition, and who pays bills and council tax.
- I will provide a safe, comfortable, well-maintained home: it will have a gas safety certificate, annual gas checks, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and an energy performance certificate.
- I will give contact details and notice: including emergency numbers and 24 hours’ notice if I’m visiting.
- I will do repairs promptly: if there’s a risk to the tenant or the property, I will deal with it straight away, and will carry out urgent repairs within a few working days.
- I will deal with antisocial behaviour and nuisance: if my tenant is troubled by other people’s behaviour, of if other people complain about my tenant, I will deal with it quickly.
- I will look after the outside: I will keep the exterior and outside areas of the building in good condition.
- I will be a member of a redress scheme.
- I will consider joining a professional organisation: such as the National Landlords Association, Residential Landlords Association, Association of Residential Lettings Agents, Association of Residential Managing Agents, Manchester Student Homes.
Tenants will also be asked to make certain commitments, including:
- I will pay my rent on time: even if I have a dispute with my landlord.
- I will look after my home: I will tell the landlord straight away if I need a repair; and get their permission if I want to make improvements or do my own repairs.
- I will be a good neighbour: I will keep noise down, and keep the area around my home clean and tidy.
— LandlordZONE (@LandlordZONE) April 1, 2015