The city council has published an updated strategy for the delivery and management of properties at the lower end of the private rented sector aimed at improving housing, tackling rogue landlords and providing those on lower incomes with greater choice.
A report to Manchester City Council’s neighbourhoods committee in March said that economic issues linked to the rental market – including housing supply, affordability, welfare reform, homelessness and so-called ‘no-fault’ evictions, when private landlords can repossess their properties from tenants without having to establish fault on the part of the tenant – had sparked concerns and prompted the council to review its PRS strategy.
In the updated strategy now published and covering the years from 2020 to 2025, the council said that the private rented sector would provide a “high quality, low carbon, affordable and sustainable offer” giving residents a “good choice of quality homes in clean safe and vibrant neighbourhoods”.
The strategy is broken down into three main objectives:
- Improving property and management standards by focussing intervention and proactive enforcement on the lowest quality properties, landlords and agents
- Increasing opportunities within the sector for low-income households by “narrowing the quality gap” between the lower end and that of the middle and higher end of the market
- Improving communication across the sector by highlighting landlord, agent and tenant responsibilities and sharing good practice.
The PRS sector is the largest accommodation sector in Manchester, overtaking owner-occupiers, and a total of 38% of all residents fall into this category. In the UK overall, the PRS provides 4.7m million households, three times as many as a decade ago.
However, this report only concerns the traditional private rented market, rather than the more recent PRS sector that has expanded in recent years to encompass institutionally funded, large-scale, often high-rise build-to-rent schemes such as those being delivered in Manchester by Capital & Centric, Renaker and others.
Such schemes are typically seeking to offer solutions to some of the social and economic problems linked to the wider rental market.