Ross Fisher
Ross Fisher

By Ross Fisher

Campaigning to fix renting in Greater Manchester

On 4th May, residents will elect the first Mayor of Greater Manchester. The Mayor will represent the 10 boroughs of Greater Manchester, and will have a range of new powers, including over housing.

Building on our Fix Renting campaign during the London Mayoral Election last year, we’ve been considering how we campaign at a more regional level. Sadly, we simply don’t have the resource to do something in every area, or campaign on every local issue. But the Greater Manchester Mayoral Election has given us a great opportunity to work more closely on campaigning with our Hub in the region.

Our Hub staff see the problems that some residents in Greater Manchester face every day. This valuable insight gives us a unique position to campaign in the region as we can combine our national expertise with detailed local knowledge. We know the housing issues that local people face, and the solutions the new Mayor can work towards.

Unaffordable, unstable and unsafe

Through the campaign, we’ll be focusing on how unaffordable, unstable and unsafe renting is for many people in the area. The number of households and families renting in Greater Manchester has almost doubled in the last 10-15 years, and 1 in 6 households in Greater Manchester rent. That’s a lot of renters.

But many renters are struggling to live safely while putting up with bad conditions. Half of renters in the North West have had a problem with repairs or conditions in the last 5 years.

While many are struggling to afford rents that just keep rising. So much that over half of renters in the North West struggle to pay the rent from time to time. And many are struggling to put down roots in a stable home, while worrying about losing it.

At the sharp end of the housing crisis, the end of an assured shorthold tenancy is the leading cause of homelessness. And rough sleeping is on the rise.

Wherever renters choose to live in Greater Manchester, they cannot guarantee they will have a safe, stable and affordable place to call home.

A chance for the new Mayor to lead

The new Mayor will be in a position to provide leadership across Greater Manchester in taking action on poor private rental conditions.

Once in office, we want the new Mayor to encourage Local Authorities’ to use their new powers to make improvements to conditions in the private rented sector. This is something they can directly influence at a local level.

We’ll also be calling on them to work with other regional Mayors to become a champion at a national level for more affordable renting and longer rental contracts. The new Mayor will have a high profile, and they should use this to stand up and call on the Government to build more genuinely affordable homes to rent (and to buy for those that want to) and to champion longer contracts for renters.

Together, we can fix this

We have wide ranging knowledge when it comes to housing issues, and we hope we can help the new Mayor through our expertise.

But the people the Mayoral candidates will really be listening to are the residents of Greater Manchester. It’s your voices that will be heard.

Throughout the campaign we’ll be asking our supporters in the region to speak up, to share their stories, and to make sure the candidates know what life as a renter in Greater Manchester can be like.

Together, we have the solutions. It’s time for renters to stand up, speak out and ask the new Mayor to fix renting.

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