Rogue landlords are being pursued

Boston Borough Council

Boston Borough Council

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Eight gangmasters have been or are under investigation following the council’s Rogue Landlord Project, it was revealed at a meeting recently.

Boston Borough Council housing officer Kevin Martin was speaking at a meeting of the National Landlords Association, at the New England Hotel, this month.

He showed the landlords statistics which showed that since the project was started last February 259 properties had been inspected - including 43 properties visited with police, and 28 landlords being subjected to formal enforcement action.

Mr Martin said that when the project started, it had specifically targetted buildings which could likely be used as Houses in Multiple Occupancy, however since then, it has become intelligence led.

He said: “We moved on to portfolio landlords with more than 10 properties. If you find one in a reasonable state of disrepair you’ve got a basis to look in the others.”

He added: “We’ve been able to report information to HM Revenue and Customs, Health and Safety Executive, Trading Standards and the benefits fraud team.

“In fact, most of the stuff you read in the local papers where so and so’s been prosecuted for benefit fraud, it likely started within the confines of what we have been doing.”

According to the statistics, four sheds which were being used to house people have been prohibited from use, while three buildings have also had action taken to stop them being used.

Mr Martin mentioned they had even found evidence of people living in polytunnels in Horncastle Road.

Mr Martin praised the work done by the teams which included getting anti-slavery commissioner Kevin Highland to visit due to concerns over organised crime moving into the rented sector.

Mr Martin also pointed to new regulations coming in which could help even further.