Lucy Powell, MP for Manchester Central has today raised in Parliament the shocking problems Manchester residents face with their landlords and managing agents, in a debate on Private Landlords called by the Labour Party.
Lucy’s constituency of Manchester Central contains a large number of private renters and people living in and owning flats in managed blocks. Issues around high charges and poor service in managed blocks as well as issues relating to letting agents charging huge fees and deposits, which don't get returned, are a major source of casework and issues raised by residents in Manchester Central.
During her by-election campaign, Lucy undertook a housing survey and held public meetings to listen to the problems people faced with landlords, letting companies and management agents and was shocked by the situation described by many.
She is particularly worried that the body residents can turn to, the Leasehold and Valuation Tribunal (LVT) lacks the teeth to hold dodgy agents to account with cases where companies hire expensive lawyers to fight Right to Manage rulings on technicalities or seem to simply ignore rulings stopping them forcing unwanted, expensive anti terrorism insurance on residents.
Lucy calls on the Government to bring in tighter regulation of Managing Agents by giving greater powers to owners and occupiers to manage their own affairs; and calls for a register of responsible letting agents.
Speaking in Parliament Manchester Central MP Lucy Powell said:
""I’ve held public meetings, conducted residents surveys and have already received a considerable caseload on these issues. The many different cases and examples of bad practice by letting agents and managing agents operating in Manchester Central are shocking. In raising these examples in the House today I want to shine a very bright light on some of their practices which can only be described as unscrupulous and murky, and have left many residents significantly out of pocket and with little protection.
"In order to redress the balance between tenants and owners with letting agents and rogue landlords; and between owners and residents in managed blocks and their managing agents, we need urgent consideration of the following measures:
• " Regulation of letting agents and managing agents, as there is currently no regulation of these agencies;
• "A national register of landlords with Manchester City Council being given powers to improve standards;
• "The barriers to residents getting the Right To Manage their own blocks being reduced;
• "And organisations such as the Leasehold and Valuations Tribunal (LVT) being given real teeth so that their decisions can’t simply be ignored."