Wednesday, 01 April 2015

Shapps launches beds in sheds crack down

The government is calling on councils to clamp down on rogue landlords that rent squalid outhouses to vulnerable people.

Housing minister Grant Shapps and immigration minister Damian Green have launched guidance for local authorities outlining the actions they should be taking to deal with the so called ‘beds in sheds’.

These include identifying properties, prosecuting landlords, ensuring appropriate sentences are handed out, and publicising successful cases to discourage other rogue landlords.

In March this year communities secretary Eric Pickles said some councils are not doing enough to tackle the problem. This was followed in May by the announcement of £1.8 million to help councils in the worst hit areas, and the government has also set up a taskforce to address the issue.

The Communities and Local Government department said ‘thousands’ of sheds and outbuildings are being rented out to vulnerable migrants.

Mr Shapps said: ‘It’s simply unacceptable that people are living in squalid, unsafe accommodation provided by landlords more interested in a quick profit rather then their basic responsibilities.

‘The actions of these rogue landlords are helping fuel illegal working and benefit fraud and creates a shadow housing market that carries dangers to people’s health as well as community relations.

‘I want to see all agencies from councils to the police and the UK Border Agency using the full range of powers at their disposal to work together on a national clampdown towards ridding our communities of this problem once and for all.’

Mr Shapps and Mr Green accompanied officials from the UKBA and Ealing Council on a raid of suspected illegal properties this morning. In six properties they found 39 tenants, 22 of whom were illegal immigrants.

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