Burnham at CIH, p.PNW

Burnham slammed the state of some rental properties in GM. Credit: Place North West

Burnham wages war on bad landlords 

Using devolution and compulsory purchase powers, the Greater Manchester Mayor plans to banish “unscrupulous” property owners and end the city region’s housing crisis by 2038. 

Speaking at the Chartered Institute for Housing’s annual conference in Manchester, Andy Burnham slammed the state of the city region’s rented housing stock, more than a quarter of which is of poor quality, according to research. 

“It is hard to believe that this is happening in the North of England in the 2020s,” Burnham said. 

“It suggests that not much has changed since George Orwell chronicled the grim reality of housing in the north 85 years ago in The Road to Wigan Pier.” 

Greater enforcement powers

The Mayor outlined the combined authority’s approach – underpinned and funded by the trailblazer devolution deal – to improving housing conditions in Greater Manchester that he said would amount to a ‘complete rewiring of the system’. 

From 2024, beefed-up enforcement powers could see the local councils repossess poor-quality properties as part of Burnham’s plans to ensure everyone has a decent home in 15 years’ time. 

“A home is the essential foundation that needs to be beneath everybody if they are to have a good life,” he said. 

“You cannot level up any parts of the UK when half of its housing stock is falling down.” 

Speaking to Place North West, Burnham warned bad landlords that their time is up. 

“My message to those landlords is that you cannot carry on as you are. Whether you like it or not, change is coming. 

“We won’t accept people renting out properties that are not fit for human habitation. That is not on anymore.” 

A catalyst for change

The Mayor cited the death of toddler Awaab Ishak – who died in Rochdale as a result of poor-quality housing – as a catalyst for change but insisted that a strategy to tackle unfit housing in Greater Manchester was already in the works prior to the coroner’s verdict in that case. 

“A two-year-old boy was killed by his home and that can only be a moral outrage,” he said. 

“It’s an entirely manmade problem, an indictment of national housing policy under successive governments.” 

Speaking on Tuesday, Burnham reiterated plans to launch a Good Landlord Charter, first announced earlier this year, that is aimed at improving housing standards in the social and private rented sectors and smoking out bad landlords.

The charter would give tenants “visibility through the accreditation of the many good landlords in our city region who are trying to do the right thing and differentiate them from those who are not,” Burnham said. 

The Mayor hopes the charter will make clear what is expected of landlords and ensure that tenants and landlords know what each should be getting from the other. 

All landlords will be given the chance to sign up to the charter and Burnham has a plan for those who don’t. 

Empowering tenants

The GM Property Check system will “empower tenants” to report bad quality housing and comprises a “multi-agency approach” to enforcement involving councils, the DWP, and Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue, Burnham said. 

Landlords who are found to not be maintaining their properties will then be given a chance to embark on an “improvement plan” with the GMCA. 

Those who do not could risk having their properties repossessed. 

In order for this element of the plan to work, Burnham recognises the need for a “streamlined” compulsory purchase process, as well as backing from Whitehall. 

“We’ll be seeking the help of Parliament and the courts to make it easier and less costly for councils to take properties out of the hands of those unscrupulous landlords and into the hands of those who will manage them properly,” Burnham said.

Your Comments

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The fact this isn’t already law shows a great deal where government priorities lie.

By Bernard Fender

Worth noting again the property in question was owned by a housing association one of those that gets plenty of grant subsidy.

By oscar

As a landlord who has had several properties around the country including Liverpool. I believe that this is an important issue to address, but not for political reasons. The landlord scheme in Liverpool was ill concieved and targeted the genuine landlords who signed up. The real problem landlords ignored it as they would and seemed to be overlooked by LCC.
The monies collected by LCC appeared to used for other purposes and a lot of chest thumping at the meetings I attended at LCC.
Most landlords keep their properties in good condition, it’s their investment for the future, but we were left with the impression from LCC that we were criminals.
We suspected a lot of envy and left wing propoganda from them.
LCC had their housing stock taken off them because of the poor state of repairs, I know I was a Tenant. Also the Housing Associations are not beyond reproach they often treat their tenants with indifference.
Then there is the subject of bad tenants, too big to address here.

By Considerate landlord

Is Burnham going to banish housing associations? if it’s such a priority maybe the council should start building more social housing.

By Anonymous

This is why GMCA and all GM towns should be supporting the delivery of BTR product which is professionally managed, and provides residents with top quality service. The concept of resident service should also be rolled out in the social housing sector.

By Ian

He has no control of the housing crises. Most of that is down to various policies from central government.

By Anonymous

I’d be interested to see the underlying numbers of poor housing between private and public. I would not be at all surprised if the public landlords and hosing associations were at the heart of poor quality. It’s so easy to blame landlords with clear numbers. I let property and try and maintain high standards for sustainable income and longer term investment value.


TJ, I’ve worked in both the public and private rented housing sector and generally from my experience the public sector standards are far higher.

By Anonymous

Might have a few more houses built if he hadnt done such a bad job of dealing with the GMSF or whatever they have renamed it. Cant build new homes if the planners wont give you permission!

By Anonymous

Oscar, Housing Associations get some grant subsidy for new build projects not to maintain their existing housing stock.

By Anonymous

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