Housing officers carried out a morning visit to a suspected illegal House of Multiple Occupation (HMOs) and suspected modern day slavery.
Officers from Equans, in partnership with North East Lincolnshire Council, accompanied by officers from Humberside Police and Humberside Fire and Rescue visited the property in Cleethorpes and carried out safety inspections, as well as interviewing the tenants.
The property was found to have six occupants and was not licensed as a HMO, therefore breached several housing offences. The property lacked fire safety measures, no heating, no kitchen and poor electrics. Several of the occupants were referred to the Police regarding Modern day slavery concerns.
There is now a prohibition order on the property, preventing it from being used as a HMO, whilst the case is assessed and a decision is made on what further action can or should be taken.
A spokesperson at North East Lincolnshire Council, said: “There are a number of properties in our borough which are illegally used as Houses of Multiple Occupation. Laws are in place to protect the occupants, ensuring they have a safe living environment. When houses of multiple occupation are not licensed, not only do they fall short of their legal obligations, but we also have welfare concerns for the occupants.
“We know that properties that are overcrowded often house some of the most vulnerable people in the community, so it is always important for us to undertake these investigations to ensure occupants are suitably protected by the legal safety requirements.
“We also know that occupants in overcrowded properties are most likely to be subject of modern slavery, including trafficking, forced labour and child exploitation. Modern slavery is on the rise nationally, so these investigations on a local level help to put a stop to this concerning trend.
“This action is the result of weeks of collaborative multi-agency working. Partnership operations such as this are crucial to ensuring residents in North East Lincolnshire have access to acceptable standards of living. We hope activity such as this gives a clear message that exploitation will not be tolerated in our borough.”
If you own or rent a HMO and are unsure whether it meets the required standards, visit www.nelincs.gov.uk and search for HMO.