Private Rented Sector Strategy 2020-2025
- Meeting of Neighbourhoods and Environment Scrutiny Committee, Wednesday, 2nd September, 2020 2.00 pm (Item 34.)
Report of the Strategic Director (Growth and Development)
This report provides an overview of the new Private Rented Sector Strategy 2020-25 and action plan.
The Committee is invited to comment on the report prior to its submission to the Executive on 9 September 2020.
The Committee considered a report of the Strategic Director (Growth and Development) that provided an overview of the new Private Rented Sector Strategy 2020-25. The report was accompanied by the delivery plan.
The Committee had been invited to comment on this report prior to its submission to the Executive on the 9 September 2020.
The Executive Member for Housing and Regeneration referred to the main points and themes within the report which included: -
· Providing a rationale for the strategy and setting out how the Council along with its partners would support the improvement of housing standards within the sector over the next 5 years (2020-25);
· Describing how the strategy had been developed; and
· Describing strategy themes and objectives.
Some of the key points that arose from the Committee’s discussions were: -
· Consideration needed to be given to other methods and opportunities of providing information to tenants on their rights, suggestion that information should be sent out in the annual Council Tax mailing;
· Had there been any indication if the Local Housing Allowance in Manchester would be increased;
· Supporting the ambitious strategy and requesting that the Committee receive regular progress reports;
· Requesting an update on the numbers and location of temporary accommodation across the city;
· More information was sought on the retrofitting of homes;
· Noting the difficulty tenants had obtaining relevant information relating to their property; and
· What was the approach to short term lets.
The Executive Member for Housing and Regeneration stated that she thanked Members for their contributions and suggestions in bringing forward this strategy. She said that the priority of the strategy was to tackle low quality housing in Manchester and to protect the most vulnerable residents who were increasingly reliant on the private rented sector to meet their housing needs, noting that it was anticipated that the impact of COVID-19 would see an increase in those on welfare benefits and the impact this had on their housing options.
The Executive Member for Housing and Regeneration stated that currently there was still no clarification as to what the government intended to do in relation to Section 21 notices (notice to quit), similarly with the Local Housing Allowance following the temporary uplift. She described that lobbying of government would continue on these important issues and despite the budget pressures she remained committed to progressing and delivering this ambitious plan. She called upon the government to adequately fund local authorities and pending further announcements she stated it was the correct decision to focus all available resources on those residents most in need within the city. She said the delivery plan would enable progress to be analysed and mapped and agreed to submit progress reports and updates to the Committee.
The Executive Member for Housing and Regeneration welcomed the suggestion regarding including information on tenant rights in the annual council tax mail out, adding she would take this away to progress. She described that it was important that information was available in languages other than English and she said the local Neighbourhood Teams provided advice and signposting for residents. She described local resident forums and similar community engagement events were opportunities at a local level to signpost residents and provide advice on a range of issues, including tenant rights. The Chair stated that it was important to be able to deliver advice in local community settings to residents in addition to online sources.
The Neighbourhood Manager informed the Members that forums had been established to engage with and create a dialogue with landlords and understand issues and concerns that they were experiencing within the sector.
In response to the issues raised regarding short term lets, the Executive Member for Housing and Regeneration stated that she would encourage residents to report issues and the appropriate action would be taken. She further informed the Committee that the intention was to launch a Short Term Letting Charter in Manchester to address the issues experienced within this sector and set out expectations and management standards of both hosts and guests in this sector.
Members supported the establishment of a Short Term Letting Charter and commented that all stakeholders and interested parties, including local resident and community groups should be included in this process.
The Head of Compliance, Enforcement and Community Safety described that proactive work was undertaken with short let providers and platforms, such as Airbnb and booking.com, and where appropriate enforcement action would be taken to address issues. She stated that all available powers would be used, including anti-social behaviour legislation, noise abatement notices, fixed penalty notices and consideration was currently being given to using public health powers to close premises. She further made reference to the recent media reports where action had been taken to address problematic premises.
In response to the question requesting further information on the provision of temporary accommodation, the Head of Housing Services stated that this information would be requested from the relevant team and circulated to Members for information following the meeting.
The Head of Housing Services advised that funding bids to deliver retrofitting had been submitted, both at a local and Greater Manchester level and the outcomes of these bids were still awaited. The Executive Member for Housing and Regeneration advised that a report on this important area of work could be provided to the Committee at the appropriate time. She stated that despite budgetary pressures the Council remained committed to meeting its emissions targets.
The Head of Housing Services further informed the Committee that the Building Safety Bill and Fire Safety Bill made provision to access to information relating to a building that tenants had access to.
1. Note the report and endorse the recommendations that the Executive approve the Private Rented Sector Strategy 2020-25 and delivery plan.
2. Recommend that the Executive Member for Housing and Regeneration provide advice and information on tenant rights to be included in the annual Council Tax mail out to residents.
3. Recommend that a briefing note on the progress of the Private Rented Sector Strategy 2020-2025 be provided to Members in six months’ time and a formal update report be submitted for consideration by the Committee in September 2021.
4. Recommend that the Executive Member for Housing and Regeneration consult with all stakeholders and interested parties, including local resident and community groups when developing the proposed Short Term Letting Charter.
- PRS Strategy 2020-25, item 34. PDF 291 KB
- Appendix 1 Private Rented Sector Strategy (2020-2025) - Final, item 34. PDF 275 KB
- Appendix 2 PRS Draft Delivery Plan Final, item 34. PDF 353 KB