Some £2m of government money has been channeled into a brand new country cil Taskforce aimed at identifying and clamping down on landlords undertaking a range of criminal activities.
Liverpool council says the operation in the city - to be known as the Private Sector Housing Intelligence and Enforcement Task Force - will involve sharing intelligence between different agencies including the police and children's services.
A dedicated team will look at what the council calls the ‘most complex types of cases’ where often tenants are afraid to report crimes for fear of reprisals. The team would also work with neighbouring local authorities, as the landlords concerned often have properties across more than one area.
The taskforce is separate to the council's controversial landlord licensing scheme, which covers about 70 per cent of the privately-rented housing sector in the city.
Sarah Doyle, Liverpool council’s cabinet member for housing, says: “[Criminal landlords] could be using a property to store drugs, to keep people there that they are trafficking or using a property where there's illegal work happening. We know from the police that these things are happening but it hasn't been linking back with council services. So where the police are doing a raid, we want to know if it's a landlord."
She continues: “Tenants might be too scared to speak up and needed support to blow the whistle. People can feel scared to go out of their homes.Streets where once kids used to go out and play, businesses might want to move out because they feel the area is being run down. One property can change the dynamic of a place."
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