SURPLUS cash from Greater Manchester’s Housing Investment Fund should be used to deliver more “truly affordable” homes across the city region, according to Salford mayor, Paul Dennett.
The fund, which was part of Greater Manchester’s devolution deal, could also be used to create another pot of money; one to buy out rogue landlords operating poor or unfit rental properties, he suggests.
Dennett, who serves as housing lead for the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), will put his proposals to his fellow combined authority leaders during their final meeting of the year in Bolton next week.
“We need to take action now to ensure there are more quality homes in Greater Manchester that are affordable for everyone,” Dennett said. “[The city region] has 13,203 fewer social rented homes than in 2012/13, 14,933 homes now let at up to 80% of market rent and we’ve lost 92,612 homes to Right to Buy since 1980. Each one of these issues has contributed towards over 85,639 households now being on Greater Manchester’s housing registers.
“It is right that we now take the surplus funds that are coming back to us from successful loans made by the Greater Manchester Housing Investment Fund and put them towards helping those who are in desperate need of a decent, affordable home.”
The combined authority will be publishing is new housing strategy in the New Year. The emerging strategy is said to focus on several affordable housing themes, and it is claimed these could be supported with surpluses from the Housing Investment Fund.
As Dennett pointed out, the number of truly affordable social homes in Greater Manchester has declined while homelessness and rough sleeping has sharply increased over recent years. The impact of Right to Buy, affordable rent conversions, regeneration activities and market sales of social housing have contributed to a decline of the housing sector.
Since 2012/13, there are 13,203 fewer social rented homes across the city-region, a loss of more than 5%. In addition, a third of the private rented sector in Greater Manchester is estimated to be non-decent.
Meanwhile, official figures have shown that just 0.7% of all homes built last year were Government-funded homes for social rent, representing 1,400 homes of a total of 195,000. This marks a staggering collapse in new supply compared to the 37,000 built in 2010/11.
Dennett added: “If approved by leaders, we will also work up firm plans to create a fund that will buy out rogue landlords who are renting out substandard properties. This will send a clear message that Greater Manchester is a place where rogue landlords are not welcome. I hope leaders will agree with me that this is an important step as we move closer to unveiling the bold new Greater Manchester Housing Strategy.”