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Thanet handed £557,000 cash boost to protect migrant families from rogue landlords

PUBLISHED: 12:12 20 July 2017 | UPDATED: 12:12 20 July 2017

The cash will help Thanet protect some of its most vulnerable residents

The cash will help Thanet protect some of its most vulnerable residents

FabioBalbi

The council is the first in the south east to have such a bid approved by the government

A cash boost of more than half a million pounds has been handed to Thanet District Council to help protect migrant families and vulnerable residents from rogue landlords.

The town hall’s housing team is the first in the south east to have had a bid approved by the Department for Communities and Local Government after growing fears that locals are being exploited by private-sector property moguls.

The £557,000 funding over two years will enhance the Margate Task Force with a Rogue Landlord and Community Cohesion Team - which will proactively focus on specific activities to help improve housing conditions for Thanet’s most vulnerable.

In particular, the team will focus on those in the migrant community who often find themselves exposed to rogue landlords and poor housing conditions and who, bosses say, at times, lack the knowledge about how to improve their situation.

The team is expected to significantly improve the private rented sector in Thanet whilst also helping migrant families integrate within established communities.

Lin Fairbrass, deputy leader and cabinet member for community services at Thanet District Council, said: “Those born outside of the UK are almost three times more likely to be in the private rental sector than UK-born, leaving them exposed to rogue landlords and poor housing conditions.

“What’s more, they often lack the knowledge or basic language skills to improve their situation.

“We are delighted to have received funding to set up a Rogue Landlord and Community Cohesion Team to improve housing conditions, carry out more enforcement action and inspect all Houses with Multiple Occupation and flats above shops.

“We will also provide additional English language support to help migrants engage effectively with the local community.”

The funding will also create six additional jobs based at the council, with support and secondment from other departments.

This includes four housing improvement officers, one housing improvement assistant and one litigation solicitor.

Communities secretary, Sajid Javid said: “This new funding will help councils rise to the challenge of reducing the impact of migration on local communities in a variety of ways – whether that’s tackling the small minority of rogue landlords who damage neighbourhoods with overcrowded properties, providing English language classes to ensure effective integration rather than reliance on translation services, or boosting the number of teaching assistants in schools to ensure all children get excellent teaching.”

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