Taskforce set to tackle beds in sheds scandalMake Text Bigger
Beds in sheds landlords face a crackdown by a special government taskforce aimed at closing down criminal landlords and tracking down illegal immigrants.
Housing minister Grant Shapps and immigration minister Damian Green have held the first in a series of cross-Whitehall summits with police, the UK Border Agency and local councils to set up the task force.
The meetings will devise an action plan to close down thousands of sheds and outbuildings rented illegally by migrants, including many with no right to be in the UK.
Ruthless landlords are exploiting these illegal immigrants for cash by charging them extortionate rents to live in cramped conditions, says the government.
Many make their homes in converted sheds and garages without planning permission in gardens.
These modern shanty towns are hidden away and are often only visible on websites such as Google Earth.
The sheds are often plagued with rats and cockroaches and are potential death traps with bad wiring and poor sanitation.
Housing Minister Grant Shapps said: “It is a scandal that these back garden slums exist to exploit people, many of whom are prepared to return voluntarily to their home country but instead find themselves trapped into paying extortionate rents to live in these cramped conditions.”
Some immigrants have told councils they want to go back home but can’t leave the country because landlords have destroyed their passports.
The ministers will discuss:
- Ensuring councils have powers to close down the sheds
- Gathering and sharing intelligence from across government agencies
- Working with foreign governments to repatriate tenants in the sheds
- Stopping more beds in sheds springing up
Immigration Minister Damian Green said: “Those with no right to be in the UK must leave the country. If they volunteer to leave, we will help. If they refuse, we will enforce their removal.This work is well under way – many individuals have already been removed from the UK and further enforcement visits will follow.”
Please Log-In OR Become a member to reply to comments or subscribe to new comment notifications.