Grant to tackle rogue landlords in Wisbech

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An operation to stamp out the exploitation of migrant workers by rogue landlords has been granted £44,500.

Fenland Disrict Council has received extra money from the Department of Communities and Local Government to help with its work in Operation Pheasant.

Formed in 2012, Operation Pheasant sees the council working with police, the Gangmasters Licensing Authority, the Home Office (Immigration Enforcement), Cambridgeshire Fire & Rescue and HM Revenues and Customs to tackle the abuse.

The extra money, which comes from the Government’s Rogue Landlord Fund and announced today (Friday, January 22), will allow the council and its partners to increase the number of property inspections, take on extra case work and make greater use of enforcement powers.

Cllr Will Sutton, the cabinet member who oversees the council’s role in Operation Pheasant, said: “To have secured this extra funding is further proof of how important this work is and how successful the partnership has been. It shows that the DCLG recognises that there are still serious issues with rogue landlords. This grant will help us step up our efforts to tackle them.”

Two years ago the council was awarded £178,600 to support the operation, which has since attracted national and international attention because of its achievements.

News of the new grant coincides with yesterday’s decision by the council’s Cabinet to go ahead with a public consultation on a proposal to introduce a “selective licensing” scheme in seven wards in Wisbech.

If approved, the scheme would require all private sector landlords in the designated area to show that they can manage their properties properly and comply with normal standards.