Demanding A New Normal
For the last 6 months, renters across Greater Manchester have been coming together to discuss what the most pressing issues are for us today in the lead up to the Mayoral elections.
We recognise that the Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated already existing problems within a broken housing system, such as unaffordable rents made worse through furlough, disrepair made more acute through stay at home restrictions and landlords risking their tenants health by arriving in our homes unannounced during a global health crisis.
We identified four different areas within which to create our demands: Rent, Disrepair, Landlordism and Knowing Our Rights, but also recognise that a huge part of fixing the private rented sector lies with commitments to building and properly managing more council housing.
We hope that the manifesto will be used to pressure local council candidates to fight harder for private renters, and recognise that fighting on a case by case basis does nothing to solve such a rotten system in which we're forced to exist. We need real change.
- Prioritise housing need; Build the 30,000+ social rent homes, end conversions to so called 'affordable housing', demolitions of homes & right to buy, which are constantly reducing the number of homes available for social rent.
- An end to policies which allow discrimination based on migrant status, disability, receipt of benefits, or low income such as 'No DSS' and adopt policies to address inequality, support and protect disadvantaged and marginalised groups.
- The implementation of rent controls that both bring rents in line with 30% of median household income in the city and prevents future rises that are out of step with levels of income growth.
- Issue a forgiveness of rent arrears that have accumulated during the pandemic with landlords who may struggle to meet the costs of such measures being encouraged to seek means-tested support.
- A cap of 5 properties for tenancy landlords, and an increase of income tax for landlords who own 3 properties or more. This is vital in deterring landlords from buying up multiple properties in Greater Manchester, and letting them in dangerous and unsafe ways.
- We need an independent “Rented Property MOT” with a body of inspectors to ensure agreed healthy living standards and legislation in place to swiftly enforce landlords to adhere to them.
- The GMCA work with democratic tenants unions across GM to distribute up to date, tenant-led versions of the How To Rent booklet mandatory with every private tenancy.