More policing of rented sector to protect migrant workers, says report
19 January 2009 – Local authorities need to commit more resources to policing the private rented sector in order to protect migrant workers, according to a report by the Keystone Development and promoted by Trust Chartered Institute for Environmental Health.
It says migrant workers tend to live in overcrowded conditions in the private rented sector and more are likely to arrive in the next decade to meet labour shortages. Overcrowding is common because the majority of migrant workers cannot afford to rent their own homes.
Few migrants complain about substandard housing because they are frightened to come forward in case they are evicted or because their housing is tied to their employment.
Tenancy arrangements are often unclear and undocumented. Migrant workers, it notes, frequently have limited security of tenure and without a tenancy agreement they have little redress against landlords who attempt to evict them.
Agencies often exploit tenants by block renting properties from landlords and letting them out to individual workers to maximise their profits.
The report says it is unclear how much progress has been made licensing housing in multiple occupation where many migrants live. The Audit Commission has noted there is little evidence of an increase in enforcement activity to match the increase in the number of HMOs.