Fair Housing Futures

Funding at a glance

Programme: Transforming the Private Rented Sector
Amount: £1,193,797
Approved: 2016
Timescale: Up to five years
Status: Funding in progress

A place-based collaborative programme to innovate and improve upon services and interventions in Greater Manchester’s private rented sector, finding system-wide solutions to transform renting for vulnerable tenants.


Why are we funding this project

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. Working collaboratively with many stakeholders, Fair Housing Futures is finding system-wide solutions to transform private renting for vulnerable tenants in Greater Manchester.

Strategic purpose

  • Tenants will have a stronger voice in debates on the private rented sector and housing.
  • To build more robust evidence of the solutions to address the issues of cost, quality, security and access in the private rented sector and ensuring it is available and used to inform policy and practice.

Project description

Central to the approach being taken by Fair Housing Futures is the focus on collaborative working. The project is bringing together a wide range of stakeholders to find ways to make the private rented sector deliver decent and affordable housing. The project will also maximise the opportunities presented by the metro mayoral political system for influencing local and, in time, national changes to policy and practice.

Until now, tenants’ voices have been conspicuously absent from debates about improving the private rented sector. Fair Housing Futures is working to redress the balance of power so that tenants are routinely included in debates about changes to the private rented sector.

The project will innovate and improve upon services and interventions. Ideas for solutions have been explored through a £600,000 test and learn grants programme to find out what works in Greater Manchester and what could be applied elsewhere. The projects funded through this test and learn programme were announced in February 2020 and are:

  • The Bond Board’s private rented sector navigators
    The Bond Board’s private rented sector navigators will do outreach work with letting agents to prevent homelessness by dealing with welfare benefit queries and reducing rent arrears. Training will also be given to letting agents about Universal Credit, to help remove the barriers often experienced when vulnerable people need toto rent properties.
  • Salford City Council’s private rented sector Tenancy Support Officer
    A partnership model between social housing providers and private rented sector landlords will enable the private rented sector to benefit from the expertise of those providing social homes.
  • Wigan Council’s Tenant Champion
    A new tenants’ champion will work to tackle concerns about poor property management standards, whilst building relationships between landlords and tenants, to create an engaged and supportive community.
  • Justlife’s Outreach/Landlord Liaison Officer
    This project will improve the experiences of those living in the 50 unsupported temporary accommodation properties identified across Greater Manchester. Justlife will provide information and support to both landlords and tenants.
  • Acorn’s Renters Voice Manchester
    This builds on Acorn’s work as a community union, to help it grow and build capacity. Acorn will be listening to and representing vulnerable tenants across Greater Manchester.

To deliver Fair Housing Futures, a project manager reports to the partnership board, which includes representatives from the mayoral combined authority, housing providers, local authorities, charities, landlords, relevant agencies and, most importantly, existing private sector tenants and those with lived experience of the private rented sector. The project manager is hosted by Shelter Greater Manchester.

This work was initiated by the Nationwide Foundation and is the first place-based funding approach for us.

The work began in autumn 2017 and is expected to continue for up to five years.

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