Manchester is considering a city-wide ban on To Let boards if a voluntary scheme does not work out, its local authority has revealed.
City Council chiefs say To Let boards in Manchester are an ‘eyesore’ and accuse many agents of putting up signs ‘all year round’ and making some areas of the city less desirable.
Councillors are to prepare plans to introduce a voluntary pilot scheme that will ask letting agents to ‘remove signs’ although the council has not clarified whether this means not using signs at all, or sticking to existing bye-laws about the removal of boards after a property has been let.
But either way, if this does not work, the council says it will request a Regulation 7 direction as set out in the Town and Country Planning Regulations, from the Secretary of State to ban To Let boards across Manchester.
The pilot scheme will target the mainly students areas of the city including Fallowfield and Withington, as well as areas with the highest proportion of private rented properties.
“The high concentration of these signs in some areas of the city creates an unsightly blot on the landscape and can be a real eyesore for local residents,” councillor Rosa Battle told the Manchester Evening News.
“In addition, the signs may help identify properties rented by students, seen by criminals as easy targets.
“Many of the signs remain in place all-year-round despite properties being tenanted and only serve as advertising for rental companies.”
The council also believes that To Let boards are not necessary now that most people find properties to rent online.
David Cox of ARLA Propertymark disagrees, telling the paper that To Let boards “are still, even in an internet age, vital for advertising rental properties,” he said.
“The ‘traditional way’ of finding a property through a ‘To Let’ sign is still very popular among tenants.”