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Ministers launch fresh crackdown on rogue lettings

Ministers have launched a new clampdown on rogue landlords after a dawn raid on ‘beds in sheds’ properties.

Housing minister Grant Shapps and immigration minister Damian Green attended a swoop on suspected rogue landlords’ properties, and witnessed the squalid conditions the ‘tenants’ paid hundreds of pounds a week to live in.

At the six properties, officials from Ealing Council and the UK Border Agency encountered 39 individual tenants, 22 of whom were illegal immigrants. Of that number 19 were detained, and the other three – a couple with a young child – were required to report to a reporting centre.

Of the 19 detainees, 16 were Indians and three were Parkistanis. A total of nine had entered the country without leave, eight were overstayers, one was a failed asylum seeker and one was working in breach of his visa conditions.

The ministers’ new guidance highlights the range of actions councils can take, including prosecutions.

Shapps said: “It’s simply unacceptable that people are living in squalid, unsafe accommodation provided by landlords more interested in a quick profit rather than 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.”

Green said: “Operations like this show our determination to do whatever is necessary, working alongside local authorities and police, to enforce our laws against those who are in the UK illegally.”

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