Crackdown lifts lid on ‘unacceptable’ living conditions


A tough crackdown on rogue landlords in Boston has flushed out ‘unacceptable’ living conditions - including some people living in sheds.

A £109,000 Government grant funded the project - with the spotlight on 200 homes in 16 town centre streets.

At a meeting of Boston Borough Council’s corporate and scrutiny committee on Wednesday members were told 78 properties have been looked at so far in nine streets.

Andy Fisher, council head of housing, said 34 notices have been issued, with four ‘raids’ carried out and four prosecutions or caution actions begun.

Two sheds, which people were living in, were demolished and two properties which were occupied but paying no council tax were discovered. Several homes being used as ‘houses in multiple occupation’ were found.

The council is not revealing the locations of the streets or houses involved to stop them being stigmatised.

Mr Fisher said a lot of landlords ‘claimed ignorance’ and said some had been genuinely misled by tenants acting of their own accord.

He said: “There are some really unacceptable premises, some really poor quality homes that people are living in for a host of issues we need to address.”

He added: “There’s a lot of subletting going on – with or without the knowledge of the landlords.”

Councillors were shown the state of some of the worst properties - including extreme damp, water running down walls when it rained and dangerously built fire escapes.

Coun Paul Kenny said: “We have a responsibility to the people of Boston. If anybody is living in these kinds of conditions we should do what we can to protect them.”

The council has heard of some people being warned not to answer the door to their officials.

It now plans to hire new staff and introduce a hotline to help the public report housing issues.

The scheme is in the spotlight after the council ditched controversial plans to force all landlords to licence private rented homes in Boston.

The Government grant will run out next March but, at the meeting, councillors unanimously recommended to cabinet that the additional £49,000 neeeded to continue beyond that date should be found to carry on the project.