UK targets landlords who construct illegal extensions to their houses
LONDON May 16: Britain has allocated £1.8 million as part of steps to crackdown on landlords - many of them of Indian-origin - who construct illegal extensions to their houses and rent them out to illegal immigrants at extortionate rates in parts of London and elsewhere.
Considered hazardous with slum-like conditions, the extensions - called 'beds in sheds' - have often been in the news for the large number of illegal immigrants who live in them in cramped conditions, particularly in areas such as Ealing , Hounslow and Slough.
After forming a taskforce to deal with the situation earlier this month, housing minister Grant Shapps has allocated £1.8 million to councils in which such 'renting' takes place. The taskforce include officials of the UK Border Agency. Reports on the 'beds in sheds' have mostly identified the 'tenants' as Indian citizens who are in the country illegally, and turn to landlords of Indian origin with settled status to provide them shelter.
In the process, such 'tenants' face exploitation and are unable to approach authorities due to their own illegal immigration status.
Shapps promised "criminal landlords trapping vulnerable people in suburban shanty-towns will get the justice they deserve" , and said the fund will help "tackle the problem head-on and end this growing practice by ruthless landlords".