Manchester’s private rented sector set to undergo significant transformation

The private rented sector in Greater Manchester is set to undergo significant transformation. A new project, Transforming the Private Rented Sector in Greater Manchester, will find system-wide solutions to improve renting for vulnerable tenants in Greater Manchester.

The project will innovate and improve upon services and interventions. Ideas for solutions will be explored through a test and learn grants programme, to find out what works and what could be applied elsewhere.

Central to the new approach being taken by Transforming the Private Rented Sector in Greater Manchester is the focus on collaborative working. The project will bring together a wide range of stakeholders to find ways to make the private rented sector deliver decent and affordable housing.

Until now, tenants’ voices have been conspicuously absent from debates about improving the private rented sector. Transforming the Private Rented Sector in Greater Manchester will work to address the imbalance of power so that tenants can have a substantial voice in changes to housing policy and practice.

A partnership board will steer the project and will include representatives from landlords, the new mayoral combined authority, housing providers, local authorities, charities, relevant agencies and, most importantly – because their voices are not usually heard – existing private tenants and those with lived experience of the private rented sector.

The Nationwide Foundation is providing £1 million to fund Transforming the Private Rented Sector in Greater Manchester for three years. The project manager will be hosted by Shelter Greater Manchester.

Leigh Pearce, Chief Executive of the Nationwide Foundation says: “The private rented sector needs to undergo significant changes to make it a place where people can truly feel happy and settled in their homes. Landlords and tenants are at the heart of the private rented sector, but tenants’ experiences have often been overlooked, which is unacceptable. Until now there has been little opportunity for tenants to speak up and make suggestions about what they want and how they think changes could be made. Transforming the Private Rented Sector in Greater Manchester will create a culture that listens to tenants, and at the same time considers the needs of all the stakeholders.

“We believe the learning from this project will dramatically improve policy and practice in Greater Manchester. We have chosen Greater Manchester as the mayoral authority to work in, as we see enormous appetite for change here and we hope that this will eventually trail-blaze changes in the private rented sector across the UK.”

Fay Selvan, Chair of the Transforming the Private Rented Sector for Greater Manchester partnership board says: “I’m delighted to be chairing the partnership board. Poor quality private rented housing has blighted the lives of people with the least financial resources for too long, and I’m excited to get stuck into tackling this really important challenge. I’m very pleased that the Nationwide Foundation is investing in this area.”