Cash boost to fight crim­i­nal land­lords

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Front Page - By ADAM UREN adam.uren@pe­ter­bor­oughto­ @Etadamu

PETER­BOR­OUGH is the only area out­side of London to be given ex­tra cash to solve the prob­lem of “ruth­less land­lords” putting up im­mi­grants in shoddy ac­co­mo­da­tion at ex­tor­tion­ate prices.

Hous­ing min­is­ter Grant Shapps an­nounced yes­ter­day a £1.8 mil­lion fund to tackle “beds in sheds”, giv­ing nine lo­cal au­thor­i­ties ad­di­tional fund­ing to crack down on crim­i­nal land­lords who take ad­van­tage of mi­grants work­ers - some of whom are in the coun­try il­le­gally.

Peter­bor­ough City Coun­cil will re­ceive £70,000. It has said it does re­ceive com­plaints about sev­eral prop­er­ties which are over­crowded with peo­ple liv­ing in abysmal con­di­tions, in­clud­ing sheds, par­tic­u­larly in the Cen­tral and East Wards in the city.

Sean Evans, hous­ing needs man­ager for the city, said: “We are re­ceiv­ing com­plaints about prop­er­ties which are be­ing rented to nu­mer­ous in­di­vid­ual house­holds, of­ten in­clud­ing chil­dren, which are se­verely over­crowded.

“Ev­i­dence has also been found of prop­er­ties with ex­ces­sive num­bers of in­di­vid­u­als in oc­cu­pa­tion where out­build­ings are be­ing used for sleep­ing in.

“Ac­tion will be taken to deal with is­sues aris­ing from any prop­er­ties be­ing used in this man­ner.”

The other ar­eas to re­ceive the cash are all in or around London, in­clud­ing Houn­slow and South­wark.

Mr Shapps said the prob­lem is of­ten caused when im­mi­grants il­le­gally en­ter the UK and then burn their pass­port to avoid re­moval.

They then ac­cept accommodation with cramped con­di­tions, dodgy wiring and poor san­i­ta­tion as an al­ter­na­tive to the streets.

The cash fund has come as a re- sult of the cre­ation of a na­tional task­force de­signed to act against crim­i­nal land­lords and re­move il­le­gal im­mi­grants.

Coun­cils are be­ing urged to use their pow­ers to ob­tain war­rants to en­ter sus­pect prop­er­ties with­out no­tice to tackle shoddy prop­er­ties.

City cab­i­net mem­ber for hous­ing Peter Hiller said the ex­tra cash will help the coun­cil’s en­force­ment teams crack down on the prob­lem.

City MP Ste­wart Jack­son also wel­comed the cash in­jec­tion, say­ing: “Both my­self and Cllr Charles Swift have been cam­paign­ing for a while for this sort of help.

“It’s about clob­ber­ing these land­lords and mak­ing sure they are chased by the au­thor­i­ties and I think peo­ple in Mill­field and New Eng­land will be pleased by this.”

North Ward coun­cil­lor Charles Swift, who has sev­eral times expressed con­cern about the liv­ing con­di­tions for those liv­ing in Houses of Mul­ti­ple Oc­cu­pa­tion, said: “Just spit­ting dis­tance from my home there’s a house where there are be­tween 20 or 30 peo­ple liv­ing in a prop­erty.

“I also know a cou­ple who spent money dec­o­rat­ing a house they were rent­ing and im­prov­ing it, only to be given a day’s no­tice for evic­tion by their land­lord.”

wel­come move: City MP Ste­wart Jack­son.

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