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Pressure to increase on criminal landlords

Housing minister Mark Prisk has pledged the government will be increasing the pressure on criminal landlords across the country over the coming months as part of efforts to crackdown on illegal immigration and exploitation of the benefits system.

As part of these efforts, the minister has announced an £800,000 funding boost for four London boroughs - Ealing, Hillingdon, Newham and Redbridge - to tackle the blight of what has become an epidemic of 'beds in sheds'.

These properties are quite literally garden sheds in some cases, with the specification of these buildings often not good enough in which to store tools, but in which many illegal immigrants are being housed, often in terrible conditions.

It is a form of exploitation by these landlords and the government is therefore committed to tackling the issue once and for all.

Mr Prisk commented: "I've seen for myself the squalid, unsafe and often illegal accommodation that vulnerable people are being forced to pay extortionate rates to live in. I'm determined that we up the pressure on those renting out beds in sheds and help their tenants out of these appalling living conditions."

Working alongside the UK Border Agency, the councils will be given support and backing to clampdown on these unscrupulous landlords, while anyone who is found to be living illegally in the UK will also be dealt with.

Earlier this week, the prime minister David Cameron made a speech in which he pledged to get tough on rogue landlords and issues over immigration.

His sentiment was backed by communities secretary Eric Pickles, who stated: "Confusion around equality rules and European laws have led some to believe that councils cannot prioritise local people when allocating their taxpayer-funded social homes.

"This is wrong, and I want to restore a sense of fair play to social housing." 

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