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Daily demands crackdown on ‘badly run’ hostels after three-month probe

Jane HaynesA regional daily has called for a crackdown on “badly run and unregulated” hostels after a three-month investigation into the issue.

The Birmingham Mail and its Birmingham Live sister website have launched the campaign after uncovering a “dossier of misery” about housing in the city.

The investigation by people and politics editor Jane Haynes, pictured, found lax regulations, no checks and little enforcement “mean criminals and gold-digger landlords are free to exploit the state-funded ‘exempt’ sector”.

Her exclusive revealed mentally ill tenants are blockading themselves in their rooms because they are terrified of their criminal housemates, as well as claims of drug deals and sex work being carried out in premises funded by the public purse.

Victims of abuse have also been found living alongside perpetrators because of lax vetting, while drug dealers, pimps and serious crime gangs are targeting premises to find new victims.

The Mail and Birmingham Live have been praised for the exposé in a join statement by Labour MPs Liam Byrne, Jack Dromey, Preet Gill, Shabana Mahmood, Steve McCabe, Khalid Mahmood, Jess Phillips and Tahir Ali.

They said: “Right now, bad landlords are playing the system, making a fortune – and putting vulnerable people and children at risk.

“Too often, we see bad landlords providing substandard accommodation – and substandard care, crowding people in need together in some of the poorest parts of the city.

“Birmingham Live has shone a light on this, just as we have all been doing at a local, regional and national level.

“There are signs of change but the tenants of these properties and the communities they live in deserve answers and action now.”

Conservatives and Liberal Democrats in Birmingham have also backed the campaign for change.

Posting on Twitter, Birmingham Live editor Graeme Brown wrote: Enough is enough – Birmingham :ive is uniting with members of the community against nuisance hostels which aren’t fair on anyone.

“You’re going to hear more from us about this.”