Ian Shires

Liberal Democrat Councillor for Willenhall North Ward, Liberal Democrat Group Leader, Walsall MBC Learn more

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Low-income workers are living in unsafe and unsanitary buildings

by Ian Shires on 11 February, 2019

Published on LGA Daily News Headline 11 February 2019

Private companies are housing low-income workers around the country in dangerous and dilapidated buildings which lack running water, smoke detectors, and working fire escapes, an investigation has revealed. 

“Property guardians” sign up to live in empty buildings, such as abandoned schools and office blocks, with the promise of lower-than-market rents but are classed as licence-holders, rather than tenants, which means they sign away many of the housing rights which apply to renters.

Colchester Council is taking a property guardian company to court for housing 30 people in an unsafe former care home in a case believed to be the first of its kind. If successful, the case could result in many property guardianships being classed as “Houses in Multiple Occupation” (HMOs), which would force companies to licence them and adhere to stricter regulations.
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